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July 14, 2013

State panel upholds cop suspensions

Civil Service: Retired trooper lied, tarnished state police reputation

HAVERHILL — The state Civil Service Commission has upheld Mayor James Fiorentini’s decision to suspend two city police officers for giving preferential treatment to a retired high-ranking state trooper who crashed his automobile in West Newbury and then fled to Haverhill.

And in an unusual move, the chairman of the commission accused former state police Lt. Colonel Charles Noyes, 63, of lying to police at the scene of the March 2012 accident as well as to the commission at a disciplinary hearing for the two Haverhill officers earlier this year.

Noyes, who lives in Haverhill, was deputy superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police when he retired in 2006.

Christopher Bowman, Gov. Deval Patrick’s appointed chairman of the commission, said Noyes’ testimony to the commission was “wildly unbelievable and tarnishes the image of the Massachusetts State Police.”

Police Chief Alan DeNaro initially suspended Lt. William Leeman and patrolman Christopher Pagliuca for five days each for their handling of an incident in which Noyes crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a utility pole on Route 113 in West Newbury, snapping it in half and cutting power to the surrounding area for almost 11 hours.

Noyes then kept driving with his air bags deployed until police found him in the travel lane in the area of 12 River Road, just over the line into Haverhill near the Rocks Village Bridge.

An internal Haverhill police investigation concluded that Noyes was given special treatment by West Newbury and Haverhill police officers due to his previous state police position.

The probe found that officers declined to arrest Noyes or charge him with drunken driving, even though they had enough evidence to do so, and that reports by officers were so poorly written that prosecutors could not later charge Noyes with drunken driving.

Noyes eventually was sentenced in Newburyport District Court to six months of unsupervised probation after admitting there were sufficient facts to find him guilty of negligent driving and leaving the scene of an accident that caused property damage.

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