Mattapoisett Police Chief Mary R. Lyons pleaded not guilty to the charge of Operating Under the Influence during an arraignment held on Monday, July 19, in Falmouth District Court.
The charge stems from a weekend incident in which Lyons was driving northbound on Route 28 in Bourne and was pulled over by Massachusetts State Police. It was determined on the scene that Lyons was operating her vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
In response to the incident, Mattapoisett Town Administrator Mike Lorenco released a statement on Monday afternoon: “The Town is continuing to investigate the incident involving our Chief of Police, Mary Lyons. At this time, the Chief has been placed on paid administrative leave effective immediately. The Police Department will be under the direction of Captain [Jason] King until further notice. The Town at this time cannot comment more on the matter as we must protect the integrity of the investigation and the ongoing legal proceedings.”
Lorenco had told The Wanderer earlier on Monday that after the arraignment he planned to meet personally with Lyons and the Select Board, Jordan Collyer and Jodi Lynn Bauer, and then determine an immediate course of action. He released a statement in the morning, saying, “The Town is taking the matter very seriously and is thoroughly examining the details of the case. Citizens can expect appropriate and swift action following our investigation.”
At Tuesday night’s Mattapoisett Select Board meeting, Vice Chair Jordan Collyer reiterated Lorenco’s comments and asked for the public’s patience while town officials continue their investigation into the matter.
Also facing a marked lanes violation, Lyons, 61, was released on her own personal recognizance with the promise to appear back in court on August 31 for a pre-trial hearing. A message seeking comment from Lyons’ attorney, Robert Nolan, was not returned in time for this edition.
State Trooper Patrick Bosworth reported an arrest at 10:52 pm on July 17, having observed Lyons’ 2014 Lexus GX460 SUV moving part way into the left lane and back into the right lane on Route 28 northbound in Falmouth and Bourne. The arrest report alleges an odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot and glassy eyes, and swayed body movement on the part of Lyons. It also says that she failed a visual-acuity test at the scene.
The report states that Lyons denied having anything to drink that night and told the officer that her hips and knees would prevent her from being able to complete the physical tests that the officer had told her were needed to determine whether she was OK to drive. The report further states that Lyons pretended to blow into the Preliminary Breath Test equipment, and it was determined on the scene that she was intoxicated.
When the police cruiser arrived at the State Police Bourne Barracks, Lyons had already freed herself of the handcuffs that had been placed on her at the scene. The report said the handcuffs were placed in front of rather than behind Lyons to assist her mobility.
Lyons, who had told the arresting officer that she was coming from a golf course, was the sole occupant in the vehicle, which contained golf clubs, according to the report.
Lyons has served as Mattapoisett chief of police since January 1, 2001. She joined the town’s Police Department as an officer on June 25, 1985.
By Mick Colageo