Police arrested a man on drunken driving charges last weekend after he allegedly drove through a pedestrian-only neighborhood in the Camp Ground, damaging porches of two iconic Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottages and other property.

David Murphy, 68, was arrested by Oak Bluffs police after officers were called to Montgomery Square in the Camp Ground at 12:53 p.m. Saturday for the ruckus. A resident reported a man in a Dodge Challenger was speeding through Wesleyan Grove, a part of the Camp Ground closed to vehicle traffic, attempting to hit people.

Residents recapped the chaotic scene to the Gazette and police.

Frannie Capello looks over the damage to his cottage. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Murphy allegedly ran over a “no vehicles allowed” sign to enter Wesleyan Grove and then continued to Commonwealth Square.

Camp Ground resident Frannie Capello said his porch was hit by the driver.

“I was standing in front of my house, talking with my next-door neighbor Matt, when I heard a noise and saw a car going over this signpost that we have that alerts people vehicles are prohibited,” he told the Gazette Monday. “This gentleman came at us real quick and we had to jump out of the way.”

After entering the Camp Ground, Mr. Murphy came up to a cement barricade. When Mr. Capello approached him and asked him to get out of the car, Mr. Murphy then quickly reversed and crashed into Mr. Capello’s porch.

“He knocked the post side and a whole bunch of stuff around,” said Mr. Capello. “I mean, the top left roof of my porch pulled away from my house.”

Resident Charlie Maney attempted to reach into the vehicle and put it in park, according to police. Mr. Murphy then put the car in drive, dragging Mr. Maney.

Cars aren't supposed to drive in the Wesleyan Grove area of the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Murphy continued to drive the Challenger through several planters and then hit a second porch.

At one point, Mr. Murphy got out of the car and moved a barrier so he could continue driving, according to police. He eventually hit an idling Jeep and backed up onto a rock, where he got stuck.

Several people attempted to stop Mr. Murphy, who police said had a .15 blood alcohol concentration – about twice the legal limit for driving in Massachusetts.

“When our officer arrived, he could see the witnesses trying to get [the driver] out of the vehicle and he had a tight grip on the steering wheel,” said Oak Bluffs police chief Jonathan Searle.

Some pedestrians who had to jump out of the way of the car reported minor injuries.

Police arrested Mr. Murphy and transported him to Dukes County House of Corrections. One officer said in a police report that Mr. Murphy had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath – the strongest he ever smelled in the officer’s 10 years in law enforcement.

Mr. Murphy is charged with a fourth offense of operating under the influence of liquor, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and four counts of malicious destruction of property.

Mr. Murphy pleaded not guilty to the charges in Edgartown District Court Monday and, after being deemed a danger, was ordered held without bail, according to court documents.

The Dodge Challenger had Maryland license plates but Mr. Murphy has had on-Island addresses and arrests in the past.

In 1995, he was found guilty in Edgartown District Court of operating under the influence. In 2019, Mr. Murphy challenged the ruling, saying he wasn’t properly notified that he had a right to a jury trial. The court sided with him, and the charge was dismissed.

He was arrested again for operating under the influence and other motor vehicle charges in 2008 and lost his license for 45 days. He also pleaded guilty to a 2018 operating under the influence charge and lost his license for 45 days at the time as well, according to court records.

Mr. Murphy is due back in court on the latest charges on Sept. 25.

The incident rattled but united the Camp Ground neighborhood, said Trish Hahn, the president of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association.

“I guess if this had to happen, we’re just really relieved it happened in the shoulder season,” she said. “If it was in July and August, way more people could have been walking around there and gotten hurt.”

Ethan Genter contributed to this report.