Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for February 2019

February is the shortest month of the year, but it was still long enough to result in 163 calls to the Lowell Police Department. Among other things, officers responded to the following cases:

  • 9 traffic crashes
  • 3 instances of operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • 24 assists to other agencies
  • 12 assists for fire and medical
  • 1 ordinance violation

And here’s a closer look at some of what kept the Lowell Police Department busy last month.

Water in the Basement

Two officers responded to a call of a burst pipe in a resident’s home. The person’s basement was filling with water, and they weren’t sure what to do. The police were able to find the shut-off valve and stop the flow of water before any substantial damage was done.

Airbnb Violation Leads to Impounded Car

A City of Lowell ordinance requires Airbnb owners to contact the police and notify them when they have guests at their property. Among the information requested is a description of the visitor’s vehicle. There’s a reason the police need this information on file, as one Airbnb guest and host discovered.

During the snowy weather, a vehicle was parked over two spaces. Police placed a 48-hour tag on the vehicle indicating it should be moved so plows could clear the lot. When it wasn’t moved, it was impounded.

Chief Steve Bukala says if the vehicle had belonged to a local resident, an officer would have paid a personal visit to the registered address to let the owner know the car had to be moved. However, since it was registered out of the area, they could not do that. Furthermore, the Airbnb host had not registered the guest’s information with the city so there was no way for the police to know the vehicle belonged to a visitor on the property.

Ultimately, the car was impounded, and the owner argued the impound fee should be waived since the vehicle was in a city lot. That request was denied, and the car was scheduled for auction by the towing company. It’s not known whether the owner paid the fee and claimed the vehicle prior to the auction date.

Marijuana at Work

An employee at a local rehabilitation center brought marijuana to work. The substance is not allowed in the facility, and 1.73 grams was turned over to the police for disposal.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The Lowell Police Department joined the fire department in responding to a medical concern at a local business. The fire department tested for carbon monoxide and found elevated levels. Two employees were transported off the premises for treatment.

Bukala notes all residences and businesses should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. During the winter months, snow can block exhaust pipes and allow the deadly gas to build up inside. Carbon monoxide has no smell so a detector is the only way to know if harmful levels of the gas are present. Left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

Medical Emergency Treated with Narcan

Police responded to the call of an individual who was unconscious and gasping for air in the basement of his parents’ house. Narcan was administered, and the person was transported to the hospital for further treatment. While there was no sign of drugs or drug paraphernalia, the person’s father thought it was an overdose. He noted his son had battled an opioid problem several years prior.

Operating Under the Influence with a High BAC

An officer on patrol pulled over a vehicle that had stopped suddenly. The officer recognized the driver as someone he’d had contact with a few days earlier. At that time, it was discovered the person was driving on a suspended license.

This time, the driver appeared to have urinated on himself and was belligerent to the officer. He was asked to complete a field sobriety test, and his roadside blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.18. He was transported to the county jail where his BAC was 0.21. Anything over 0.08 is considered operating while impaired. The driver was charged with a misdemeanor of operating while impaired, high BAC.

Warrant Arrest Leads to What Looks like Heroin

As officer was looking for a subject with an outstanding warrant. The person was observed pulling into Meijer. When she left the store, the officer pulled her over in a traffic stop. Inside her vehicle were needles, rubbing alcohol and a small bag of what appeared to be heroin. The person was arrested for the warrant, and the substance was turned over to the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team for further action.

Hit and Run Driver Can’t Hide from the Law

The police responded to a report of a hit and run accident. The suspect fled the scene but left debris from their vehicle behind. Officer Scot Van Solkema collected the debris, researched it and determined it came from a Dodge Ram. Information about the vehicle was posted to the department’s Facebook page, and Van Solkema was able to locate a vehicle matching the description.

When the driver of the vehicle was interviewed, he denied being involved. However, Van Solkema had with him a part of the vehicle left behind at the crash scene. It was a perfect fit with the damage to the front of the driver’s truck. The driver, who is a juvenile, was charged for leaving the scene of a property damage accident and not stopping at a stop sign. He has hired an attorney.

3rd Offense OWI

A repeat drunk driver was arrested when his vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation. The officer noted a strong smell of intoxicants coming from the vehicle. He was arrested for his third operating while impaired offense and had a BAC of 0.15. He was held on a $5,000 bond.

Operating Under Influence of Drugs

Police were called to a traffic crash in which the vehicle’s airbag had deployed. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the weather was partly sunny. Traffic was moderate, but road conditions were good.

The driver was found to be under the influence of marijuana. Once she was cleared by medical responders, the police conducted a field sobriety test. The driver was arrested for operated under the influence of drugs, and a search warrant was authorized for a blood sample to be taken at the jail. The case is currently awaiting toxicology results.

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