TAUNTON — An off-duty Taunton police sergeant was allegedly driving drunk when he was involved in a crash over the weekend that left a motorcyclist from Rehoboth seriously injured, police say.
Sgt. Shawn Smith, 49, a 20-year veteran of the department, pleaded innocent Monday in Taunton District Court to driving under the influence of alcohol in an accident causing serious injuries and driving to endanger.
The crash occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday on Harvey Street in the area of South Crane Avenue, near the Norton border, according to police.
The motorcyclist was identified in a police report as George Haskell, 52, of Rehoboth.
He was taken to Tufts Medical Center in Boston with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh said in a statement.
Smith, of Raynham, was placed on administrative leave as a result of his arrest, Walsh said.
A Norton police officer, Janna Perez, was on the scene when Taunton police officers arrived. She had handcuffed and placed Smith in her cruiser because she smelled alcohol on him, according to a police report.
She later agreed to administer a field sobriety test on Smith at Walsh’s request to ensure an objective observation and believed Smith was intoxicated, according to the report.
Walsh and other superior officers were called to the scene because the crash involved a Taunton police officer.
Witnesses, including a man driving behind Smith’s pickup truck, told police Smith swerved over the center line several times before the crash, and the man in the truck taped it on his cellphone, according to a police report.
Smith’s lawyer, Kenneth Anderson of Boston, declined to comment on the allegations.
“All I can say is that he’s a very highly regarded officer within the department,” Anderson said.
Smith is free on $2,000 cash bail with conditions that he submit to alcohol testing and refrain from drinking alcohol. He was ordered not to drive a motor vehicle and not contact the civilian witnesses.
His case was continued to next month for a pretrial conference.
The crash remains under investigation by state police accident reconstruction experts and detectives assigned to the Bristol County district attorney’s office.