AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) - A 22News I-Team investigation revealed that the District Attorney alleged an Agawam police officer, who has since been fired for an unrelated incident, was given preferential treatment.
In response to that I-Team investigation, Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen has released the town's internal investigation into that incident. Former officer Danielle Petrangelo was not cited after being pulled over for suspicion of OUI and driving the wrong way down Route 5. According to these documents, an Agawam Sergeant claimed that she appeared to be "annihilated", in reference to the amount of alcohol that she drank. Mayor Cohen told 22News, the report is complete.
"There is nothing here that has been left out. This is not going to happen again", says Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen.
Former officer Petrangelo was fired in November. Lt. Richard Light told 22News her termination was because she broke department rules and regulations, not due to this off-duty driving incident.
Below are some bullet points of the internal report prepared by Lt. Eric Gillis.
At 9:10pm on June 29th, Officer Petrangelo's car was stopped on Route 5 north in the vicinity of Bondi's Island by police officers.
The car was stopped in the middle left travel lane of Route 5 north, actually facing South toward on-coming traffic.
An unidentified West Springfield officer recognized her. Agawam police were called. First Sgt. Grasso was contacted. He called Lt. McGovern. Lt. McGovern made his way down to Route 5.
Lt. Edward McGovern was the commanding officer during the time of the incident.
Petrangelo told the police officer she had gotten into a fight with Officer Brandon Donovan and that was why she went out. According to the report, Petrangelo and Donovan had been dating.
Officer Petrangelo when asked how she got there, she said she "didn't know." She was leaning on the guardrail which separates the north and south travel lanes of Route 5. The West Springfield officer said that Petrangelo "seemed to have no grasp of where she had been, or how she had ended up where she was."
Office Wheeler moved all the cars off the side of the road to an alcove that leads to a private gated access road to Bondi's Island sewage treatment facility for safety.
The police moved Officer Petrangelo to Officer Pierson's cruiser. Officer Petrangelo had to be physically placed in the front seat. Room was made for her in the front seat. She attempted to go into the backseat several times.
Officer Petrangelo continued to ask if she was going to be arrested. Officer Pierson told her that a supervisor was en-route, but he noticed the odor of alcohol getting stronger.
Officer Petrangelo attempted to get out of the cruiser several times, which required Officer Pierson to order her back into the cruiser.
Lt. McGovern arrived. West Springfield police noticed damage to the right side of the officer's car. Officer Wheeler, a certified traffic crash investigator, believed the damage was from hitting a guardrail and it was fresh damage.
Sgt. Grasso arrived and West Springfield Police left.
Sgt. Grasso reports that Officer Petrangelo jumped out of the cruiser and hugged him. She was crying and "carrying on" and appeared to be "annihilated", according to Sgt. Grasso.
Petrangelo told Sgt. Grasso, "I can't believe I did this. I'm so embarrassed that I've done this to you again. I've never done anything like this before."
Lt. McGovern told the officers to drive Petrangelo home. He also told the police to bring her car to police headquarters.
Officer Pierson drove Officer Petrangelo home. He says she stated several times on her ride home that she was "f*** up."
When Officer Petrangelo got home she stated that she "could have killed someone" referring to the wrong way driving incident.
Sgt. Grasso visited Petrangelo the day after the incident and talked to her about her reckless operation of departmental vehicles while on duty. He stated in the months leading up to the accidental shooting, Petrangelo had become more "cavalier" in her dealings with people while on duty. Sgt. Grasso believed that Petrangelo was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the shooting and he believes she has an alcohol problem.
Sgt. Grasso said that Petrangelo was driving the wrong way down Route 5 because she was "drunk."
Sgt. Grasso said he only saw two incidents during his career involving wrong way drivers on limited access divided highways. One of those incidents resulted in the deaths of two persons. Sgt. Grasso said, "her operation of her motor vehicle on Route 5, the wrong way not only jeopardized her own safety, but that of the entire motoring public as well."
"That her actions did not result in a devastating tragedy, is simply miraculous."
"Whatever the reasons were that led to Officer Petrangelo's actions on this night, they do not mitigate the significant danger that she placed herself and complete strangers in as a result."
The next morning, Petrangelo came to
Petrangelo said she "Felt abandoned by the police department after the shooting"
Petrangelo retrieved her car on her own.
Petrangelo got a doctor's not indicating that she was physically and psychologically unable to submit to an interview in the investigation. Acting Chief Light asked Lt. Gillis to wrap up his investigation without interviewing Petrangelo.