A West Tisbury police officer has been placed on paid leave after being cited for a drunken driving in a Thursday night car crash.
Russell R. Ventura, 39, of Oak Bluffs, was issued a citation for drunken driving, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation after his vehicle hit a tree on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, according to Edgartown Police.
Officer Ventura is a police officer with the West Tisbury police department. According to a police report by Edgartown police officer William Bishop, Officer Ventura initially declined medical attention after the accident but later agreed to go to the hospital to be checked out.
The accident took place just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday near Metcalf Drive and Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, according to the police.
The report said the 2006 Honda CR-V that Officer Ventura was driving crossed the center divide line into the opposite lane of travel and then left the roadway and struck a tree.
According to the police report, Officer Ventura told police that he swerved while he was driving outbound on the road and “the car just dug in.”
“It appeared Russell attempted to correct his operation while being off the roadway by turning his wheel,” Officer Bishop wrote. “This caused the vehicle to roll over at least one time, but possibly more.”
All airbags deployed, the report said, and the car was likely totalled.
Edgartown-West Tisbury Road was closed and traffic diverted for a period after the accident. It was a foggy night and visibility was poor.
Officer Bishop wrote that he could detect an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from Officer Ventura’s mouth and that his speech was slurred and his eyes appeared to be bloodshot. Officer Bishop said he was not able to conduct field sobriety tests because Officer Ventura was transported to the hospital.
Officer Bishop, along with state police officers, responded to the hospital. Officer Ventura allegedly declined a blood test, and a citation was left with him at the hospital.
A clerk magistrate hearing will be held to determine if there is cause to arraign Officer Ventura on the charges.
West Tisbury police chief Daniel Rossi told the Gazette Saturday that Officer Ventura, who has been with the department for four years, has been placed on paid administrative leave until the Edgartown police department investigation is completed and the final disposition of the court case.