South Burlington Police Officer Michael J. Goslin pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence, and lost his license for 90 days, according to court records.
Goslin has also paid $652 in fines and court costs.
The incident took place in Hinesburg while the three-year officer was off-duty on March 7. Goslin had a preliminary roadside breath test of 0.208 percent at 4:10 a.m., almost two hours after the incident, Williston Police Sgt. Eric Shepard said in court documents.
Goslin later refused a court-approved breath test offered at the Williston Police Station.
In Vermont, .08 percent is considered impairment for adult drivers.
Goslin’s troubles that night began after he reinjured his right knee at his Hinesburg home and then attempted to drive himself to the UVM Medical Center, court records show. He ignored pleas by housemates and friends not to drive, but he left his driveway at 929 Texas Hill Road in his white 2020 Ford F-150 truck and headed down the road about 2:25 a.m., records show.
A few minutes later Goslin returned home, which he shares with three other South Burlington Police officers. He overshot the driveway, hitting a snowbank and striking a snowplow marker, video from home security cameras show.
Rescue, fire and police were eventually summoned.
In his report, Shepard wrote that Goslin was “cooperative,” but refused to answer any other questions and declined to consult with a lawyer after being read his rights, records show.
Goslin, 29, was scheduled to appear in May for arraignment in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington, but instead of a public appearance like most defendants, lawyers worked out a private deal. It allowed the police officer to avoid a public courtroom and enter his guilty plea by sending in a waiver on April 30, records show.
The original arraignment was canceled by the court on May 13.
South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke said Friday that Goslin will face two weeks of unpaid leave once he can return to regular patrol duties due to conduct unbecoming an officer. According to city payroll records, Goslin will lose $2,026 in pay while suspended.
Goslin, who has been recovering from an earlier knee injury, has been filling in as a dispatcher in the city’s emergency communications center. Once Goslin is fit for full police duty, the two-week suspension will kick in, the chief said. Goslin won’t be able to return to patrol duties until the state reinstates his suspended driver’s license.
Burke said there were many factors in deciding Goslin’s punishment. He has no past discipline problems, immediately took full responsibility and didn’t make excuses for his actions, and has sought counseling, the chief said.
The day after the incident, Burke ordered an investigation into what led up to Goslin’s arrest and its aftermath. The probe also looked at the conduct of about a half dozen South Burlington police officers — both on- and off-duty — during the incident, Burke said. He took the step after spending several hours reviewing a preliminary report from Williston Police, including videos.
Burke said a vague report about a possible assault or abuse case that might have happened during the incident proved unfounded. A separate investigation by two state police detectives said they could not find any evidence of an assault from those at the scene.
No other public discipline will come out of the internal investigation, Burke said. He said the investigation determined that the social gathering held at Goslin’s home the night of the incident did not violate state restrictions under COVID-19.
State trooper Sean Hauter arrived at the scene about 4:12 a.m. and in a court affidavit said Goslin’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech slurred.
“He appeared to be holding back tears as he acknowledged he was likely going to lose his job,” Hauter wrote.
After the DUI arrest, Goslin was placed on injured leave for city payroll purposes, Burke said.
A $300 fine for DUI and $352 in court surcharges were the only penalties assessed under the negotiated plea agreement between defense lawyer Robert Sussman and Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Justin P. Jiron. No probation was ordered.
Goslin could have faced up to two years in prison and up to $750 fine.
Judge Kirsten K. Schoonover signed off on the plea deal on April 30.
Witnesses said Goslin, who had previously hurt his knee at the Vermont Police Academy, has reinjured it several more times, including the night of his arrest when he squatted down to adjust the stereo at his home.
Goslin started to drive himself to the hospital, Shepard said, telling police he drove about 50 yards down the road before returning home.
The three off-duty South Burlington officers who live with Goslin tried to get him not to drive, one standing behind the truck so Goslin could not leave, a court affidavit said. Goslin was eventually talked out of his truck about 2:45 a.m., security footage shows.
Shepard said witnesses reported Goslin was belligerent. One classified Goslin as “highly intoxicated,” a statement confirmed by others.
Williston Police Chief Patrick Foley said his department arrived on scene due to an expected delay by Vermont State Police, which did not have any troopers working on the road in Chittenden County at that time.
Records show an off-duty state trooper was summoned from Addison County and an off-duty patrol sergeant was called out from Franklin County.
Shepard reported Goslin had a moderate odor of intoxicants, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, but his speech appeared normal. Because of his knee injury, Goslin had trouble moving and was unable to do the standard dexterity exercises used to help determine if a driver is impaired, Shepard said.
After being processed at the Williston Police Station, Shepard took Goslin to the hospital for medical treatment.
Burke called in the state police, not Hinesburg Community Police, because Hinesburg Chief Anthony Cambridge worked for South Burlington Police for almost a year. Burke said he did not want anybody thinking it was “buddies to investigate buddies.”
Burke said it was essential for an independent investigation and “no illusion of favoritism.”
Cambridge, on-call the night of the incident, said he was initially miffed that his department wasn’t notified until after the call was over, but later spoke to Burke and understood his decision.