BOSTON (CBS) – Boston police officer Domenic Columbo was in court on Friday on the wrong side of the law, facing a felony drunk driving charge in a New Year’s Day crash that injured two people.
WBZ-TV obtained surveillance video that shows a pickup truck slamming into a vehicle at the intersection of Columbia Road and Ceylon Street in Dorchester early New Year’s morning.
Authorities said Columbo, 39, of West Roxbury, was off duty and behind the wheel of a 2012 Ford F150 truck driving drunk when he struck a Honda Accord, injuring two 20-year-old occupants, Jay Santos, and a passenger, Jose Teixeira, who suffered life-threatening injuries.
Columbo, a six-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who is now off the job on paid administrative leave, was arraigned Friday. He stood before a judge, accused of causing serious bodily injury while driving under the influence.
Judge James Stanton released Columbo on his own recognizance and ordered him to stay away from the victims and their families.
According to Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s office, the driver of the Honda did not show signs of impairment. Columbo’s blood was drawn at the hospital, prosecutors said.
Based on the blood draw, video evidence, and further investigation by collision reconstruction experts, investigators believe Columbo was both too intoxicated to drive legally and driving at a speed higher than the 25 mile per hour limit, according to Conley’s office.
Meanwhile, Lennard Beharry, a friend of the victims, says no one knew if Teixeira, who remains hospitalized with a brain injury, would make it.
“He just didn’t know what happened to him. We didn’t know if he would come back or leave us, it looked very serious,” Beharry said.
Beharry says Teixeira was asleep in the passenger seat of the Accord at the time of the impact and never saw it coming.
The passenger side of the Accord bore the brunt of the crash.
“They were two kids coming home on New Year’s morning. Neither one of them was drinking, one was trying to bring the other one home and get home himself,” said Beharry.
Police say Teixeira suffered a life-threatening brain injury, serious fractures and internal injuries and is still in the hospital.
Santos, the driver of the Accord, along with Columbo suffered minor injuries. Friends say a police officer should be held to a high standard.
“He’s the one that’s supposed to set the example,” said Beharry.
“He should know the law very well. It’s his mistake, he’s wrong,” said Teixeira’s neighbor Sherif Elmewafy.
Columbo was represented by attorney Jack Diamond.
A pre-trial hearing for Columbo has been scheduled for March 23.