A Vineyard Haven man accused of drunkenly crashing a muscle car through the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs last year pleaded guilty to several charges in Edgartown District Court Friday. 

David Murphy, 69, was sentenced to two years at the Dukes County Correctional Facility after he was found guilty of operating under the influence, third offense, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and two counts of wanton destruction of property. 

Two other charges of wanton destruction of property were dismissed as part of Mr. Murphy’s plea agreement. 

Police said Mr. Murphy wreaked havoc on the gingerbread cottage neighborhood on September 9, when he drove through a pedestrian-only section of Wesleyan Grove, almost hitting several people and crashing into two homes. 

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

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

Camp Ground resident Frannie Capello at the time said Mr. Murphy hit his porch, and he had to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit. 

“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 after the crash. “This gentleman came at us real quick and we had to jump out of the way.”

After running over the sign, Mr. Murphy came up to a cement barricade. Mr. Capello asked Mr. Murphy to get out of the car, but Mr. Murphy threw the car in reverse and crashed into Mr. Capello’s porch. 

Another resident tried to reach into the vehicle to put it in park, but Mr. Murphy began to drive, dragging the man. Mr. Murphy then drove through several planters and struck another porch. 

At one point, Mr. Murphy got out of the car and moved a barrier. Eventually he hit an idling Jeep, backed up onto a rock and got stuck. 

Mr. Murphy’s blood alcohol concentration was .15 – about twice the legal limit for driving in Massachusetts, according to police. 

“It should be noted that this was the strongest odor of an alcoholic beverage I have ever experienced in almost 10 years of law enforcement,” an Oak Bluffs police officer wrote in his report. 

When Mr. Murphy got stuck on the rock, Lorna and Brian Welch attempted to keep him from driving any further, putting the vehicle in park and prying Mr. Murphy’s foot off the pedals. 

Ms. Welch was injured when she initially dodged the Challenger, and is currently suing Mr. Murphy in Dukes County Superior Court. 

After the rampage, Mr. Murphy said he was only going home from lunch in town and made a wrong turn, according to police. 

Mr. Murphy was initially charged with operating under the influence, fourth offense, but the charge was demoted to third offense, according to court records. 

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.

Police said they did a wellness check on Mr. Murphy in April 2024, during his latest court proceedings, after neighbors raised concerns about his health. 

A court-ordered alcohol monitoring device at Mr. Murphy’s home was connected to an air compressor and there were alcohol bottles in the home, police observed. His bail was later revoked. 

Court officials gave Mr. Murphy 169 days credit for time already spent incarcerated and he has to serve a year and a half more of his sentence. 

Mr. Murphy’s attorney Charles Morano declined to comment on the case Friday.