Suspect Arrested Following Collision With Main Street Fountain

David Creed and Jason Graziadei •

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Photo by Jason Graziadei

The Nantucket Police Department made an arrest early Monday morning following the hit-and-run accident that left the historic Main Street fountain completely destroyed.

Michael K. Holdgate, 55, of Nantucket was arraigned Monday morning in Nantucket District Court on charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (second offense) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Holdgate is the owner of Holdgate's Island Laundry. He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf and was ordered to return to court November 20th for a pretrial hearing.

According to the police report, Nantucket police officers were investigating the Main Street crash and located the vehicle in question behind a Vesper Lane property. Officer Jack Moran Jr. knocked on the door of the residence while he and officer Nicholas Terino attempted to locate the owner of the vehicle when Moran suddenly noticed a white Dodge Promaster van accelerating unsafely into the driveway of the home where they were standing.

Terino said the vehicle came to an abrupt stop “just feet” from where he and Moran were standing and that the vehicle was operating in a negligent manner – adding that “a reasonable person would have slowed down turning into a driveway with three marked police vehicles in it.”

The operator stepped out of the vehicle and was identified as Holdgate, who is the owner of both the van and the truck involved in the hit-and-run.

Terino said while showing Holdgate the damage to his crashed truck officers observed him to be unsteady on his feet, having a strong odor of alcohol emanating from himself, glossy eyes, and his speech to be slurred. Terino said Holdgate’s memory span was shortened and he had to often be reminded of what they were doing.

Holdgate told police he only had one beer that night and refused standardized field sobriety tests on scene. When Holdgate was brought to the station he performed breath tests with the first being a .148 and the second being a .147.

Holdgate is being represented by attorney Jim Merberg.

The incident occurred just after 10:30 p.m. when a white Chevy Silverado struck the fountain head-on, leaving the heavy steel structure in pieces on the cobblestones. Some parts of the fountain were strewn nearly to The Hub and the intersection with Federal Street, nearly 30 yards away.

The driver fled the scene. Nantucket police and firefighters soon converged on the scene and began an investigation.

The Main Street fountain dates back to 1885, and the monument is dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Max Wagner, according to the Nantucket Historical Association. Wagner moved to Nantucket in 1890 and married Jennie Macy, a descendant of the very first of the English founding families on the island. He died fighting in the Spanish-American War in 1900, and the fountain, along with the entire lower end of Main Street, was dedicated to his memory in 1932.

It marks the second time in less than four years that the fountain has been toppled by a motor vehicle. The last incident occurred in March 2020, just before the start of the pandemic, when a driver who said the glare of the sun caused them to become disoriented struck the fountain and knocked it over. It was repaired by Cassidy Bros. Forge in Rowley, Mass., and just over a year later, it was returned to its rightful spot on Main Street with a new paint job.

This story will be updated.

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