Police tapes released in case of state rep running over ducks
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Union Leader Correspondent
NASHUA — The state Attorney General's Office says it has obtained copies of a police report and audio tapes from the night that state Rep. David Campbell ran over several ducks with his car outside a city hotel.
"I haven't reviewed anything yet," Attorney General Joe Foster told the New Hampshire Union Leader Thursday. "We are going to review the circumstances."
Although Campbell has already paid a fine for killing five ducks with his vehicle on Dec. 23 outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, new revelations have surfaced alleging that Campbell was drunk at the time of the crash, and that Nashua Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas picked him up following the accident.
Click below to listen to the tapes:
Campbell has not been charged with drunken driving.
"If you could send us an officer by, we've had a — well, there's a gentleman who is drunk," Connor Lippman, the night manager at the hotel told police when he called for assistance around 10 p.m. on Dec. 23. "He ran over four or five ducks right in the parking lot, and we might have an altercation between him and another guest who will not let this issue go."
Campbell has repeatedly apologized for the accident, maintains he was not intoxicated and claims he left before police arrived in order to defuse a potentially threatening situation from a man feeding the ducks.
The bartender at the hotel said Campbell had two drinks during the span of dinner and did not appear drunk when he left.
The bar receipt does say that Campbell purchased four drinks, however there were other people in his party, according to the police report. Campbell claimed he had just two.
According to a police report, Pappas — a longtime friend and attorney for Campbell — ultimately picked up Campbell and gave him a ride following the incident. Two hours after the crash, shortly after midnight, Pappas called the police station, identified himself as a police commissioner and asked if Campbell could come into the station the following morning for questioning, according to the police report and an audio recording of the phone conversation released by the Nashua Police Department.
"He's a friend of mine ... is it OK if I have him come to the station tomorrow morning," Pappas asked Sgt. Carlos Camacho, noting that Campbell was currently at another friend's house with a dead cell phone. The police sergeant agreed, saying the investigating officer had already left for the night. "The fact that Mr. Campbell was a state representative, and that he reached out to an attorney/friend who happened to be a police commissioner, had no bearing or influence whatsoever into our responsibility to look into this matter," Police Chief John Seusing said this week. All three members of the Nashua Police Commission are remaining mum on Pappas' involvement. Pappas has refused to answer phone calls or emails from the New Hampshire Union Leader seeking comment. The two remaining police commissioners — Thomas Maffee and Robert Valade — did not return phone calls Thursday.
Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said she has not contacted the Attorney General's Office to further probe into the matter.
"I do think, however, that it would be important to hear from the AG," said Lozeau.
Lozeau would not comment on Pappas' intervention on behalf of Campbell, although she did say that she has heard concerns from some citizens about the situation.
Foster said Thursday that a formal investigation into the matter has not been opened.
When asked whether his agency has been in contact with the Nashua Police Department about the matter, Foster said, "not in a detailed fashion," declining to elaborate.
Seusing is not commenting on specifics of the case, other than saying the department investigated it thoroughly and brought forth what it believed to be the appropriate charges.
Capt. James Lima declined to comment on the newest allegations that Campbell was intoxicated, nor would he say whether he was concerned about Pappas' intervention the night of the accident.
Campbell, D-Nashua, pleaded no contest last week to one count of illegal taking of waterfowl for killing the five mallard ducks. He paid a fine of $620 for the violation, a $75 restitution payment to New Hampshire Fish and Game and a voluntary donation of $695 to New Hampshire Audubon.