, Newburyport, MA

June 27, 2012

Danvers fire chief arrested in Groveland on domestic assault, witness intimidation charges

By Bill Kirk

GROVELAND — Police arrested the Danvers fire chief early this morning on charges of domestic assault and battery and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly abused his estranged wife then took her cell phone.

Kevin Farrell, 49, of 43 Garrison St., Groveland, was arrested around 2 a.m. at his apartment and charged with assault and battery on a household member and intimidation of a witness, according to Groveland Police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz.

The incident was called in by Farrell's daughter at 1:41 a.m. from 250 Center St., where Farrell's estranged wife lives.

Kirmelewicz would not characterize the nature of the abuse, but he said there were no injuries to Farrell's wife and that no weapon was used.

According to the police report, Farrell's daughter notified Groveland police dispatch of the incident. She said her father left the scene in a red Dodge Durango with blue, municipal fire department plates, Kirmelewicz said. But the daughter wasn't sure where her father lived, he said.

Police began searching for Farrell and attempted to find him by "pinging" to determine the location of his cell phone, Kirmelewicz said. When that didn't work, they pinged Farrell's wife's cell phone and traced Farrell to the apartment in Groveland.

Officers Heather Riley and David Shanahan found the red Durango at the Garrison Street address and arrested Farrell without incident.

Farrell told police he'd had a couple of beers at a local bar, Kirmelewicz said. A field sobriety test was not conducted.

After being arrested, the Danvers fire chief was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for an unspecified medical problem. He was listed in fair condition in the emergency room, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

He remained at Anna Jaques this morning but was expected to be arraigned later today either in Haverhill District Court or in the hospital, where he is being watched over by police.

Kirmelewicz said Farrell and his wife live at different addresses in Groveland. A story in the Salem News in March 2011, when he was appointed chief, stated that the couple are separated.

Kirmelewicz said the intimidation of a witness charge was filed because Farrell took his estranged wife's cell phone so she couldn't call police.

"If you don't allow someone to have access to a phone that's considered intimidation of a witness," Kirmelewicz said, adding, "we take these domestic violence situations very seriously."

Kirmelewicz said that because he was taken directly to the hospital, Farrell hadn't been booked yet by police.

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