A city police officer, apparently returning home from an off-duty fundraiser, was arrested Sunday in Colonie on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, police said.
Officer Michael R. Brown, 27, a five-year veteran, was immediately suspended for 30 days without pay, Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires said. Chaires said the suspension took effect immediately after Colonie police released Brown on an appearance ticket.
Brown, of Pattersonville, is accused of rear-ending a vehicle at 10:15 p.m. Sunday on Route 9 at Menands Road, said Police Lt. John Van Alstyne. Brown also allegedly drove away from the accident. Colonie police found his vehicle two-tenths of mile away on Route 78 and police said he appeared to have been drinking.
Brown, who was not on duty at the time, refused a Breathalyzer test, Van Alstyne said. Refusal results in immediate revocation of the person’s driving license. Van Alstyne said police do not know Brown’s blood alcohol content.
Brown, however, smelled of alcohol as he spoke with a Colonie police officer at the scene, according to papers filed in court.
According to papers:
The accident had initially been called in as a hit-and-run, with one of the vehicles leaving the scene. But as the responding officer arrived, Brown’s truck was found stopped a short distance away.
Brown got out of his truck and was bleeding from his head. Blood ran down the front of his face and onto his clothes.
Brown admitted to driving the truck. He was also “very concerned” about the driver of the other vehicle. Upon asking Brown for identification, the officer spotted Brown’s Schenectady police badge in his wallet.
Brown told the officer he played in a band and had been coming from a fundraiser in Charlton to benefit a restaurant that had burned recently.
That was an apparent reference to an event for the Charlton Tavern, which was destroyed by fire Jan. 10. The fundraiser began at 8 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Clifton Park, according to a published notice.
Brown also allegedly admitted to having a few drinks. There were several beers in the car, some full and some empty. He later told a doctor, in the presence of the officer, that his last drink was at 5 p.m.
As he was being loaded into an ambulance, Brown allegedly declined to take a breath screening test.
Brown’s injuries required a total of nine stitches to close.
The other driver’s injuries were minor, but she sought medical attention, police said. Van Alstyne did not have the woman’s name, nor the extent of damage to each vehicle.
Brown’s vehicle struck the other vehicle, which was stopped at a red light, according to police. The impact sent it the woman’s car into a third vehicle, Van Alstyne said. Brown was heading south toward Albany when the accident occurred. A witness called in the accident.
Chaires said Schenectady police have launched an administration investigation. “There will be some type of sanction. We have zero tolerance for driving while intoxicated,” Chaires said.
Brown came to the police force in 2004 after graduating from the police academy, Chaires said. Brown’s father, also named Michael Brown, is a longtime detective with the police force.