Three weeks have passed since the Main Street fountain was destroyed after being struck by a Chevy Silverado pickup truck, and while a suspect was identified almost immediately, no criminal charges have been filed specifically related to the destruction of the downtown landmark.
Shortly after the crash on Main Street, Nantucket police officers located the wrecked truck behind Holdgate’s Island Laundry, and arrested its owner, Michael K. Holdgate, after he returned to the residence in another vehicle while police were standing in his driveway. Holdgate was arraigned for drunk driving (second offense) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle but was never charged with anything connected to the fountain’s demise.
A new police report obtained by the Current suggests Holdgate was indeed issued a citation by police that night for vandalizing a historic monument, malicious destruction of property, and leaving the scene of property damage. But those charges were never filed with Nantucket District Court. The Nantucket Police Department is still investigating the case, according to Lt. Angus MacVicar, and attempting to establish who was operating the truck at the time it collided with the fountain to an extent that will hold up in court.
“We need to know who was operating the vehicle with certainty and we don’t have that right now,” MacVicar explained. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish before we put forward charges.”
Police are looking at cell phone data and canvassing for additional audio or video of the incident and its aftermath to gather enough evidence to bring forward charges related to the destruction of the fountain.
The police report, obtained by the Current through a public records request, is redacted and all references to Holdgate or other individuals have been removed. But the document aligns closely with a second police report from the night of Oct. 29th that was released un-redacted by Nantucket District Court and names Holdgate as the owner of the truck and the primary individual with whom officers interacted the night of the crash.
The new police report includes several previously unknown details about what happened in the aftermath of the fountain’s destruction:
- Police believe the Chevy Silverado was traveling approximately 40 mph when it hit the fountain.
- Officers were led to the Vesper Lane residence where the wrecked truck was found by following a “large fluid trail” from Main Street to Holdgate’s Laundry, a distance of one mile.
- After pulling into the driveway in a white Dodge van, Holdgate “exited the Dodge van stumbling…with an alcoholic beverage,” the report states. “When we brought (redacted) to inspect his wrecked pickup truck, he showed minimal emotion to the state of the truck and could not provide any name for who was operating his motor vehicle this evening initially.”
- At the direction of Holdgate, officers spoke to other individuals - including employees and family members - on the property, and “it was determined that every party was previously sleeping, and were completely sober with no injuries.”
- Holdgate allegedly was “very uncooperative throughout the entirety of our investigation into his damaged vehicle, and the damaged fountain, and created numerous inconsistent stories surrounding who could have driven the vehicle, or if it was him.”
- One officer observed Holdgate “to have what appeared to be an ‘oil slick’ that dripped down his chest on his shirt. The oil appeared to be consistent with an oil used in a motor vehicle. Officers believed the oil to be from (redacted) looking through his damaged vehicle following the wreck.”
Since the fountain was destroyed on Oct. 29, the Nantucket Garden Club has decorated the area with a fall-themed display, and the DPW on Monday installed a Christmas tree in the spot where the fountain once stood.
The town has also contacted Cassidy Bros. Forge in Rowley, Mass., the company that fixed the fountain after the last time it was toppled by a motor vehicle in 2020. The company is evaluating how to repair or replace the monument.