Former Pelham Police chief arraigned on OUI charge days before sentencing

  • Edward Fleury listens during his sentencing Thursday, Oct. 12, in Hampden Superior Court. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Thursday, October 19, 2017

BELCHERTOWN — Three days before former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury was sentenced in a Springfield courtroom on illegal gun storage charges, he was arraigned in district court in Belchertown on a charge of driving drunk.

Fleury, 60, pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Oct. 2 to charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. His next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Pelham Police were notified around 8 p.m. on Aug. 17 about a hit-and-run crash in Hadley that allegedly involved a blue Volkswagen Passat registered to Fleury’s home address in Pelham, according to a report by Jared Tivnan, a Pelham officer.

Tivnan went to Fleury’s home and found the Passat parked close to the home’s front door. He found Fleury slumped forward with his head resting against the steering wheel of the vehicle, according to his report.

The hood of the car was “very warm to the touch” and Fleury had car keys in his right hand, although the car was not running, according to Tivnan’s report.

After tapping on the window and calling out multiple times with no response, Tivnan wrote that he opened the car’s unlocked door, which roused Fleury. Tivnan told Fleury he was investigating a crash and that his vehicle was identified as being involved. In response, the report said, Fleury replied, “Impossible.”

When the officer asked Fleury if he had consumed any alcohol, Fleury said he drank one small Rolling Rock beer. The officer wrote that he could smell alcohol inside the car.

When Tivnan asked Fleury for identification, the officer noticed a police identification card inside his wallet. When asked what police agency he was associated with, the report stated Fleury replied: “I am the former Chief of Police in this town!”

Fleury told the officer he needed to go into his home to take insulin and that he had drunk the beer in his driveway to “get things moving in the right direction,” Tivnan wrote. Fleury refused to take field sobriety tests and requested to go to the hospital, saying he did not feel well.

At one point during the interaction, after being told to keep his hands out of his pockets, Fleury put his hands back in his pockets and pulled out a “sharp pair of pliers,” according to the report.

“It was at this time that I depressed the lock of my firearm with my right thumb and placed my right hand on my firearm, as I was beginning to fear for my safety,” Tivnan wrote.

Fleury’s wife yelled from the front door to do what the officer said. Fleury put the pliers back in his pocket and stated that if he was going to the hospital the tool would need to be removed, according to the report.

After Fleury left, Tivnan wrote that he was told by a Massachusetts State Trooper that Fleury said there was an accident, but it was two cars in front of his and that he was not involved. Police at the scene did not see visible damage to Fleury’s vehicle.

The same day of his Oct. 2 arraignment, Fleury’s attorney, Thomas Robinson, filed a motion to dismiss and remand for a show cause hearing. In the motion, Robinson argues that Fleury was not on a public way when he was approached by police and that there was no observable damage to his vehicle.

On Oct. 6, prosecutors filed a motion for a court order for medical records for Fleury regarding the results of a blood test done at Cooley Dickinson Hospital following the incident.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.