Barnstable police detective charged with driving drunk

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BARNSTABLE — A veteran Barnstable police detective was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol after police found him passed out in his still-running pick-up truck early Saturday morning.

The detective, Colin Kelley, will be arraigned at Orleans District Court on a yet-to-be-determined date, according to court employees. Kelley was originally scheduled to be arraigned at Barnstable District Court on Jan. 19, but the date was canceled when his case was transferred to Orleans District Court.

Kelley and another Barnstable detective, Peter Ginnetty, are now on paid administrative leave, according to Barnstable police Lt. Mark Mellyn, who said Ginnetty’s leave was related to the incident involving Kelley but wouldn’t elaborate further, citing an ongoing investigation.

What led to the charges against Colin Kelley?

On Dec. 18 at roughly 1:40 a.m., Barnstable police Patrolman Sean Cleary was driving south on Phinney’s Lane in his marked police cruiser when he saw what turned out to be Kelley’s black Dodge Ram truck idling about 15 feet from the entrance to the Barnstable Police Station, according to Cleary’s report on the incident.

Cleary, who was traveling in the opposite direction of the stationary pick-up truck, noted that the vehicle’s headlights and brake lights were on.

“As I passed the vehicle I observed the operator appear (sic) to be hunched over looking into his own lap,” Cleary wrote.

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Cleary wrote that he was concerned for the driver’s safety and pulled up behind the truck.

Cleary informed ​​​​​​the station that he was checking on the vehicle and approached the truck’s driver-side window.

Inside, the driver was hunched over with his eyes closed, Cleary wrote. He knocked on the window, but the driver did not respond. When Barnstable Patrolman Lorne Fellows arrived on scene, Cleary again knocked on the window in an attempt to rouse the driver, to no avail.

“I started hitting the glass harder and attempted to open the door, which was locked,” Cleary wrote.

After more knocking, the driver’s eyes opened and he looked up at Cleary, who then recognized him as Kelley.

As Kelley came to, the car began to slowly roll forward, according to Cleary, who walked with the rolling truck as he instructed Kelley to stop the vehicle. While the vehicle was rolling forward, Fellows radioed for a supervisor.

“I continued to attempt to open the door as the vehicle continued to roll, eventually stopping after striking a telephone pole at a slow speed,” Cleary wrote. Mellyn said the pole was not damaged.

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The vehicle was still in “drive” when Kelley rolled down his window halfway, allowing Cleary to reach in and manually unlock the door. Cleary then opened the door, put the emergency brake on and took the keys out of the ignition.

Cleary then asked Kelley if he was OK or if he needed medical assistance.

“His speech was slurred and I was unable to understand what he said,” Cleary wrote.

At that point, Sgt. Nathan St. Onge arrived on the scene to take over the investigation.

St. Onge wrote in his report that upon approaching Kelley’s vehicle, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol.

Kelley’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, according to St. Onge, who wrote that Kelley seemed to look right through him as he offered medical assistance.

St. Onge, too, wrote that Kelley’s speech was slurred and that he was difficult to understand, so much so that St. Onge wondered if Kelley had suffered a head injury.

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After Hyannis Rescue arrived, Cleary and St. Onge helped Kelley out of the vehicle to the waiting ambulance.

“Once outside the vehicle, Colin was very unsteady on his feet and would have fallen down had we not been holding him up,” St. Onge wrote. “I would have asked Colin to participate in field sobriety tests, however, I was unable to do so for his own safety.”

Kelley was then transported to Cape Cod Hospital. Mellyn said his vehicle was not impounded.

At the hospital, St. Onge wrote, Kelley still smelled of alcohol and had trouble answering questions.

“When he spoke to me he did so with his eyes half-closed and was speaking with such thick speech it was hard to understand,” St. Onge wrote. “He would continually try to get up and leave and would almost fall down.”

St. Onge then told Kelley he was under arrest and would be charged with operating under the influence of liquor.

As St. Onge began the booking process by reading Kelley his rights, Kelley repeatedly told St. Onge to “shut it down,” according to St. Onge’s report.

Kelley, who has worked for the Barnstable Police Department since 2000, then refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

What's next for the investigation?

Neither Cleary’s nor St. Onge’s report referenced Ginnetty’s role in the incident, which is now under internal investigation by Barnstable police.

“Evidence gathering has started to take place,” Mellyn said.

Mellyn wouldn’t speculate when the internal investigation would conclude, but said the criminal case against Kelley would likely affect the timeline.

Contact Jeannette Hinkle at

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Barnstable police detective charged with driving drunk

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