Foley, on long-ago arrest: ‘It was dropped, and that’s it’

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley was confronted Tuesday with fresh questions about an incident in 1981 in which he was arrested and jailed overnight after occupants of another car accused him of repeatedly ramming them after a party in Southampton, N.Y.

The Hartford Courant reported that it has obtained two police reports of the incident that were unavailable during Foley’s campaign in 2010, a development certain to renew Democratic demands that Foley take steps to ensure that all documents related to the arrest are released.

But Foley said the two documents add little to the public narrative about his arrest at age 29, and he has no intention of repeating an effort he says he initiated three years ago, when The Courant disclosed the incident, relying on a July 2, 1981 account in the Southampton Press.

“When this arose in 2010, I inquired through an attorney what records existed in Southampton and was told there was no record, either in the district attorney’s office or the Southampton police department related to the incident,” Foley told The Mirror in an interview Tuesday. “I have no reasons to believe that’s not true. There is nothing further for me to inquire about.”

The Courant says that a source recently provided a case number that allowed the Southampton police to locate a “police accident report” it could not find in 2010. A second document, a sealed “offense report” supposedly avaialble only to the parties, was  provided to the newspaper by a source.

The reports contradict Foley’s account of a low-speed accident, but they do not dramatically enlarge the version published in the Southampton paper, which reported that Foley “allegedly rammed a vehicle, placing the occupants in fear of serious physical injury, police said.”

Armed with names of the occupants of the other car, The Courant found the other driver: Michael Howe of Greenwhich, the community where Foley lives with his wife and their young twins. Foley said he does not know Howe, who was at the same party as Foley before the incident.

Howe is quoted telling the newspaper the incident was “no accident,” and that the episode was “frightening.”

Foley, who made the ethics of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy an issue last month as he created an exploratory committee, said the reports offer a version offered by the driver and passengers of the car he struck, but they do not change key facts: After a night in jail, he was released by police, who did not pursue an attempted assault charge.

“As was covered in 2010, there were different versions of what happened. The police concluded they were not going to pursue it, and it was dropped,” Foley said. “This is America. Not only is it 32 years ago, it all came to nothing.

“This was all covered in 2010. I guess there are a couple of new details, the other side’s version of what happened. Nothing’s changed in the overall story. This was not pursued by the police. It was dropped, and that’s it.”

 

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