Prohibition Officer Charged With Drunk Driving

Senator Boies Penrose wrecks his Winton Six

This is a headline with a lovely sense of irony, or maybe it’s hypocrisy? We were still in the bleak days of Prohibition when this article showed up in The Washington Post, on February 4th, 1930. It details the charges leveled against Policeman George C. McCarron, who was a member of the police liquor enforcement squad.

McCarron had been arrested early yesterday morning by Sixth Precinct police on charges of reckless-driving after he was reported to have crashed into an automobile of Lemuel Griffis of 28 Linworth place wouthwest, which was parked at John Marshall Place and C street northwest. He was release on $25 bond.

When he appeared in court, shortly after his arrest, he pleaded not guilty. Shortly there after, his charge was increased to driving while drunk and his bond jumped to $300, and a jury trial case was set for the end of that week. (It doesn’t happen that fast these days does it?)

McCarron was of course suspended from the police and required to also appear before the Police Trial Board — something the Metropolitan Police Department still does to this day.

Washington Post - Feburary 4th, 1930
Washington Post – Feburary 4th, 1930

The article goes into more details on the circumstances of the incident.

McCarron, according to the report, was off duty at the time of the collision and had attended a Chinese New Year celebration at the establishment of Charlie Chew on Pennsylvania avenue northwest. He was said to have been driving to his home when his machine crashed into the parked machine.

Miss Eleanor Raymond of 4303 Kansas avenue northwest, said last night that she and her companion, John Ballinger, of 636 South Carolina avenue southeast, saw McCarron crash into the parked car and followed him a short distance along John Marshall.

She said Ballinger, assuming that the other motorist bight be a hit-and-run autoist, parked his machine and walked over to McCarron, a short distance away. She said she heard McCarron arguing strongly and that he apparently was infuriated that anyone should quiz him. She said she heard “something about a pistol” and from the machine in which she remained persuaded Ballinger to leave. She said she did not see any policemen, other than McCarron, at the scene and that they drove away at about 15 minutes of 12 o’clock, midnight.

Lieut. J. A. Sullivan, of the Sixth Precinct, declared last night that McCarron remained at the scene of the accident and that he made no resistance to arrest. He was booked at 1:05 o’clock yesterday morning.

So, think about it, getting arrested by a fellow police officer from the same precinct. Don’t you think there was a wink-wink moment there of, “don’t worry buddy, we’ll clean this up.”

Senator Boies Penrose wrecks his Winton Six
Pretty nasty car wreck in the 1920s
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