HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY – On the night he was charged with drunken driving, Hamilton Township Deputy Mayor Charles Cain pleaded for “professional courtesy” from the arresting officer, saying he was the “designated driver,” according to a police report obtained by The Press of Atlantic City through an Open Public Records Act request.
“Come on, you and I both know I’m gonna blow over the limit, how about a little professional courtesy,” Cain reportedly told the arresting officer after being taken to the police station for a breath test and processing. “Come on, it’s not like I was hurting anyone. I was the designated driver. I was just trying to drive them home.”
Cain also said, “I can’t believe you’re going to do this to me. I can’t believe you’re going to hang me out there like this,” according to a report of the motor vehicle stop.
Cain was arrested early Jan. 22 on Clarksville Road, just a few blocks from his Mays Landing house. The arrest came five days after Hamilton Township Committee began the process of laying off 20 percent of the municipal government, including, at the time, 11 police officers.
The Press of Atlantic City also requested a copy of Cain’s arrest video, but Cain’s lawyer, Louis Barbone, has filed a motion in state Superior Court to block the release. A hearing on that matter is scheduled for Friday. Cain said he could not comment on the report when reached by a reporter, but said “we will have our opportunity to put on our defense.”
In the police report, Officer Peter Burns stated that he was monitoring Clarktown Road for drunken drivers because it is “known as an alternative route for motorists attempting to avoid police patrols on Route 559 (Mays Landing-Somers Point Road.)” Burns stated that a vehicle with its high beams on traveled across the middle line and was heading directly at his patrol car. “I began preparing to avoid an impact when the vehicle veered right, back toward its side of the road.”
Burns then clocked the SUV at 40 mph in a 25 mph zone and pulled it over, the report says. When he asked Cain for identification, “the driver opened his wallet and displayed a gold badge along with his driver’s license, stating ‘right here,’” the report stated. Burns “detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverages emanating from his breath as he spoke.” Cain said he had been at Testa’s Good Guys Pub and had consumed three beers. Also in the car were two women, including Cain’s wife.
Burns then began administering a field sobriety test. Burns noted that Cain’s speech was slurred and that he lost his balance several times while failing to follow the specific directions of the test. A supervisor, Sgt. Christopher Gehring, arrived at the scene and backed up Burns’ findings. Gehring asked Cain how many drinks he had consumed, to which Cain stated “three Red Bull and Vodkas because he was tired and needed to stay up. He stated that he was the designated driver,” the report said. “He then made a reference to the chief of police before advising us that he was the deputy mayor.”
Cain was placed under arrest and taken to the police station for a breath test and processing, the report stated.
While there, he was asked to blow two samples for the breath test and, after the first, he refused to blow a second, saying “What, the first one was not high enough so you want to get another one? Well, I’m done.” He then told Burns to “shut up” multiple times and stated, “I’ve been working my ass off to save police jobs in this town and this is how you treat me?”
The first reading registered at twice the legal limit, according to documents in the police report, but because two tests were not completed, it’s not a legal reading.
Back at the car, according to the report, another officer, Michael Tantum, stated that the two women were angry about the arrest. Cain’s wife said the arrest was political and that someone called the police after they had left the bar, the report said. The two women then complained about their high taxes, the report stated.
Cain was charged with driving while intoxicated, refusing to submit to a breath test, reckless driving, careless driving and speeding.
His case was moved to Atlantic City Municipal Court, but it has since been sent back to Hamilton Township and is waiting at Superior Court, according to a Hamilton Township Municipal Court clerk.