WEST NEWBURY — Town and police officials remain tight-lipped regarding the independent investigation into the conduct of the police department following the March 30 car crash involving retired high-ranking state trooper Charles Noyes.
According to a Board of Selectmen spokesperson, the town hired former Methuen police Chief Bruce MacDougall to conduct the investigation. Yesterday, West Newbury police Chief Lisa Holmes wouldn’t comment on the hiring or when the investigation would be completed.
MacDougall, who is employed by Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith, N.H., recently completed an independent investigation into the conduct of former Salisbury police Chief David L’Esperance and found no evidence that L’Esperance made off with money, drugs or other evidence during his tenure.
This spring, MacDougall conducted an investigation into the shooting of Beverly police officer Jason Lantych by Hamilton police Sgt. Kenneth Nagy. Nagy killed himself in his car hours after shooting Lantych twice outside a Beverly Starbucks.
MacDougall was Methuen’s police chief from 1995 until his retirement in 2002. From 2006 through 2008, he served as director of the Massachusetts Police Leadership Institute in Lowell. He is past president of the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association and past vice president of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, according to his biography on the Municipal Resources Inc. website.
In early June, Holmes announced it was time for her department to tell its side of the story days after an internal investigation by Haverhill police concluded that Noyes was given special treatment by West Newbury and Haverhill police officers due to his previous position with the state police.
“I think it’s the right thing to do for ourselves and the community we serve,” Holmes said in June.
Noyes, 62, retired in 2006 as deputy superintendent, the second-highest rank in the state police force. He receives a pension of $117,379 per year.
According to West Newbury police, on the night of March 30, Noyes was heading west on Route 113 in town around 10:30 p.m. when his Cadillac Escalade struck a utility pole, snapping it in half and cutting power to the surrounding area. Noyes then continued on Route 113 heading toward Haverhill.
With air bags in the vehicle deployed, Noyes drove into Haverhill. West Newbury police Sgt. Daniel Cena said he eventually caught up with Noyes just over the Rocks Village Bridge in Haverhill, where Noyes’ vehicle was in the breakdown lane near the intersection of East Broadway and Amesbury Line Road. Haverhill police then responded to the scene.
Despite evidence that Noyes was intoxicated when he struck the pole, according to the results of Haverhill’s internal investigation, he was not charged with drunken driving by either West Newbury or Haverhill police. Instead, West Newbury police charged Noyes with reckless operation of a motor vehicle as to endanger and leaving the scene of an automobile accident after property damage.
In May, a Newburyport District Court judge sentenced the retired trooper to six months of unsupervised probation for negligent driving and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Noyes didn’t plead guilty but, rather, admitted there were sufficient facts to find him guilty.
After six months, the criminal charges are to be dropped if Noyes stays out of trouble. Noyes was also ordered to reimburse the utility company for the cost of the pole that was destroyed in the accident.
The deal followed a closed-door hearing at which West Newbury police presented its case against Noyes to a court magistrate.
In the weeks following the crash, Haverhill police conducted an internal investigation into the incident and concluded that Haverhill and West Newbury officers declined to charge the retired state police deputy superintendent with driving while intoxicated, even though they had enough evidence to do so at the scene.
Three Haverhill officers involved in the incident were each suspended for a week. Holmes said none of her officers have been suspended.
Eagle-Tribune report Shawn Regan contributed to this report.