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Added Questions Surround Officer's Death

Police Chief Wants Law Changed

POSTED: 6:50 am EST November 7, 2005
UPDATED: 12:54 pm EST November 7, 2005

SWANSEA, Mass. -- There are additional concerns about the circumstances surrounding the death of Swansea police Lt. Robert Cabral early Saturday morning.

Cabral was killed in a car crash on routine patrol. Police said the other driver was intoxicated.

Police said despite a new drunken driving law, their hands are still tied when it comes to evidence in DUI cases.

"He refused blood and he refused to give blood," said Chief George Arruda of the Swansea police department.

A clearly emotional police chief was upset when talking about the man who was allegedly driving drunk when he crashed into Sgt. Robert Cabral's car and killed him.

The suspect, Wayne Smith was taken to the hospital for injuries he sustained in the crash, yet under the law, police will not have access to his blood to determine his alcohol level. Arruda wants the law changed.

"We should have the ability to go before a magistrate and show probable cause to take blood from someone who has taken a life," Arruda said, "Melanie's Bill is now Melanie's Law."

Massachusetts's lawmakers recently signed into law a drunken driving bill that increases penalties for offenders. "It's one of the toughest things we've ever done," said state Rep. Patricia Haddad.

But it's not tough enough said Haddad. Police suspecting a driver of being under the influence can order a field sobriety test but not a Breathalyzer or blood test; tests that the constitution say may incriminate you.

"You can be asked questions and told to sit up and sit down," she said. "You're being asked to perform an act, you're not being asked to give physical evidence."

Rhode Island has also been revisiting this controversial topic for years.

In March, the senate judiciary committee passed a bill giving police authorization to perform a blood test. The bill never passed.

"But once again, the attorney general is proposing legislation that would give police this tool, limited to cases involving bodily harm or death."

If Massachusetts had it on the books, it would have applied to Lt. Cabral's case.

Funeral arrangements have been announced for the Swansea officer.

His wake will be Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Birchcrest Waring Sullivan, funeral home at 189 Gardners Neck Road, Swansea.

His funeral will be held at 9 a.m. on on Thursday at St. Dominic's Church, 1277 GAR Highway, Swansea. Interment will be at the Mt. Hope Cemetery.

The Swansea police department said memorial contributions can be made to: The Lt. Robert Cabral Memorial Fund, c/o St. Dominic's Federal Credit Union, 1723 GAR Highway, Swansea, MA 02777.

Driver Charged In Massachusetts Officer's Death

Story by turnto10.com

A volunteer firefighter charged with drunken driving in the crash that killed a Swansea police officer was arraigned Monday in his hospital bed.

A judge set bail at $10,000 for Wayne Smith. The Swansea man faces several charges, including drunken driving, resulting in motor vehicle homicide.

Prosecutors say Smith, 49, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that slammed head-on into Sgt. Robert Cabral's police SUV early Saturday morning on Route 6.

Smith is recovering from his injuries at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. His condition would not allow him to travel to court.

A judge allowed a pool television camera to record only the audio portion of the arraignment.

"This defendant displayed obvious signs of intoxication. He's admitted that he had been drinking earlier that evening where he had been at a fundraiser apparently for firefighters in Swansea," prosecutor John Moses said.

Police say Smith he refused to give a blood sample.

"Witnesses seem to indicate that there were maybe three or four beers drunk in three or four hours, which I would submit to the court is not enough to cause any level beyond the legal level of .08," defense attorney Jeff Entin said.

NBC 10 News reported that Smith had a prior conviction for leaving the scene of an accident six years ago.

The popular Cabral was known in town as "Officer Bob." He was 52. The department promoted Cabral to lieutenant hours after his death.

Visiting hours for Cabral will be held Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Waring-Sullivan Home of Memorial Tribute at Birchcrest, 189 Gardner's Neck Road, Swansea.

A funeral Mass will be held Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Dominic's Church, 1277 GAR Highway, Swansea. Interment will be at the Mount Hope Cemetery.

The funeral service will be carried on turnto10.com.
 

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Suspect In Fatal Crash Faces Additional Charge

Smith Faces Drug Possession Charge

POSTED: 12:17 pm EST November 22, 2005
UPDATED: 12:42 pm EST November 22, 2005

BOSTON -- A man charged with hitting and killing a Swansea, Mass., police officer while driving drunk appeared in court Tuesday to face an additional charge.

NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that officials said Lt. Robert Cabral, 52, was struck and killed Nov. 7 by Wayne Smith, 49. Smith pleaded not guilty to drunken driving resulting in motor vehicle homicide after allegedly hitting Cabral.

He was charged with possession of marijuana that was allegedly found in his car, police said.

"I am upset that my brother is not here. I am really just trying to deal with the loss of my brother and keep my family together, and keep everything positive," Cabral's brother, Tom Cabral, said

Smith remained out on $10,000 bail. He refused to talk about the case.

"I hate to say this, but it should have been reversed. I know that's a bad thing to say, but that is how I feel in my heart, that Bobby should be the one on crutches and walking around with a broken leg. I don't wish ill death on anybody. But, that's just how I feel. I am still in shock," Cabral's friend Paul Levesque said.

Contributions in memory of Cabral can be sent to:

The Lt. Robert Cabral Memorial Fund
c/o St. Dominic's Federal Credit Union
1723 G.A.R. Highway
Swansea, MA 02777

Copyright 2005 by TheBostonChannel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 
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