By SUE SUCHYTA
Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray has been placed on administrative leave following an Aug. 29 arrest in Dearborn Heights for operating while impaired.
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said his administration was notified Aug. 29 of the incident.
“We are taking the matter seriously,” he said. “As facts become known, we will take the appropriate course of action.”
A Dearborn Heights police report of the incident indicates that Murray was driving north on Telegraph Road near Annapolis Street at 2:44 a.m. Aug. 29 when he passed a Dearborn Heights patrol vehicle while driving approximately 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. They also noticed Murray was drifting between lanes and activating his turn signal belatedly. A traffic stop was initiated near Carlysle Street and Telegraph Road.
Murray, whose eyes were reportedly red and watery, smelled of intoxicants and his speech was slurred. He admitted to having had five to six beers earlier.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests were administered, which Murray did not pass.
He declined a preliminary breath test prior to speaking to an attorney. He was then arrested for operating while impaired and taken into custody, while his vehicle was impounded and towed.
Murray declined to consent to a blood draw until he spoke to an attorney, so a search warrant for one was obtained, and he was taken to a local hospital for a blood draw. He was then held at the Dearborn Heights police station until he was sober.
Dearborn Heights Police Chief Jerrod Hart released police body cam footage of Murray’s traffic stop, SFSTs and arrest, as well as his trip to a local hospital for a blood draw, something that is normally not done for drunken driving arrests. A local paper even captured and printed a screen shot of Murray being walked, in handcuffs, to get his blood draw, which some contend is a violation of Murray’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rights.
Speculation on social media is that Hart did so to make an example out of a local official or as a political swipe at neighboring Dearborn, which has considerably more resources than Dearborn Heights, and is rumored to be a source of contention.