Today’s installment is an exclusive, otherwise-unreported story covering the drunk driving arrest of a Lower Township, New Jersey police lieutenant on April 27, 2018.
On that date at approximately 6:28 pm, Lower Township police communications received a call from a concerned citizen regarding a black Chevrolet truck driving erratically on Breakwater Road toward Route 9. The citizen described the vehicle as being operated at a high rate of speed and in a manner unsafe to other vehicles on the road — reporting that the driver had already ran a light and nearly crashed multiple times. Two officers were assigned to the call and responded, quickly locating the vehicle and noting that “the driver was not able to maintain the[ir] lane of travel,” and that “the vehicle cross[ed] over the center line as well as the fog line numerous times” while it was under their observation.
In the area of Route 9 and Honeysuckle road, the lead officer attempted to stop the truck, but its driver turned onto Honeysuckle and continued for another quarter mile before coming to a stop. At that point the driver of the vehicle was identified as Lower Township Police Lieutenant John A. Chew. The responding officers contacted their command staff per department protocol, and after some attempts at field sobriety tests, Chew was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.
Back at the station the on-duty administrator – also a lieutenant – observed Chew’s breath alcohol testing. His report memorialized the following events: “I then read the defendant his Miranda warnings from a card in the processing area. As I completed each sentence of the form I asked if he understood. After each question, he raised his right hand and extended the middle finger in my direction. Upon asking the last question if he wished to answer questions he again extended his middle finger in my direction. I advised I would consider that a NO.”
Chew’s attorney hired expert witness Kevin Flanagan to review the entire arrest. Flanagan, now retired from law enforcement, spent 16 years working in and eventually leading the Alcohol Testing Unit of the New Jersey State Police. Flanagan authored a highly detailed 12 page report covering every possible deficiency in the case against Chew. Nevertheless, on September 13, 2018 John Chew pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. His driver’s license was revoked for seven months followed by six months with an ignition interlock, and he was required to spend a minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or IDRC. IDRCs provide a 12-hour education class conveying information about New Jersey’s alcohol and drug laws and the effect of alcohol and drugs on the body and driving ability. They also conduct screenings for referrals to assessments and/or self-help groups for treatment of substance abuse issues. Chew was also assessed $689 in fines. That battery of punishments is standard for a first DUI in New Jersey.
John Chew is no longer employed by Lower Township Police Department. As of the time of this story’s publication Lower Township Police had not responded to questions and a request for comment.
The complete 79-page case record, including the entire report by Kevin Flanagan, will be available to Patreon supporters shortly. (Thank you.)
EDIT: This is an important incident and it seems to be getting a fair amount of attention. Accordingly, I have decided to make all of the supporting documentation available. The complete case file can be found at http://tiny.cc/DUI.
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