Rhode Island Man Facing Charges After Motor Vehicle Accident Near City Hall

At about 10:37 PM on Friday September 1, 2017, officers assigned to District A-1 (Downtown) responded to a radio call for a motor vehicle accident at City Hall Plaza on the Congress Street side. Officers arrived on scene and located an unattended blue Toyota Corolla with heavy front-end damage crashed into a crosswalk light pole which was now laying in the right most travel lane of Congress Street. Officers were advised that vehicle had driven onto the sidewalk and entered the Plaza from the area of Washington Street and Court Street, driving towards City Hall. As the vehicle approached the main building, it turned right and down a large, three portion staircase before striking a large cast iron pole holding the crosswalk signal on Congress Street. Although numerous people were walking on the stairs and in the area at the time of the incident, miraculously, none were struck or injured in any way. The operator, later identified as Nicholas Hoetzel, 26, of Tiverton, RI, then exited the vehicle and fled the scene. Officers located the suspect a short time later, unconscious, suffering from numerous self-inflicted, non-life-threatening injuries in the area of 28 State Street and placed him in custody before transporting him to an area hospital for treatment where he remains at this time. As officers prepared to tow the suspect’s vehicle from the scene, they observed a large, opened bottle of alcohol in the front passenger seat and a firearm on the passenger side floor of the vehicle. The vehicle was immediately secured and ‘frozen’ pending the issuance of a search warrant. Officers confirmed that the suspect does not possess a License to Carry a Firearm in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. Investigators believe that the suspect suffers from mental health issues and that there is no indication that this incident has any nexus to terrorism.

Upon his release from the hospital, the suspect will be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on numerous charges including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.