Hazel Park cop sentenced in drunk driving incident

Internal investigation continues at Hazel Park Police Department

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 1, 2013

HAZEL PARK — A Hazel Park police officer who crashed his vehicle while drinking and driving back in March has been convicted and sentenced.

Matthew Viviano, a 17-year veteran with the Hazel Park Police Department, was charged with operating a vehicle with a high blood alcohol content, which carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail or $200 to $700 in fines. He pled guilty to impaired driving, a 93-day misdemeanor.

During his sentencing in Lapeer County 71-A District Court, Judge Laura Barnard sentenced him to jail time but said he can do community service in lieu of jail time.

Viviano was also sentenced to a term of probation, which includes no alcohol, as well as outpatient counseling, random screenings, and attending three Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

His fines and costs totaled $1,025.

The original incident occurred around midnight March 14. Viviano was off-duty, driving around Lapeer County while intoxicated.

Upon crashing, Viviano’s pickup truck flipped on its side, coming to a stop on Baldwin Road in the area of Lippincott Road.

The vehicle was still flipped when police arrived after witnesses called in about the accident. No one was injured, and Viviano was able to walk away.

He was taken into custody by Lapeer police and booked at Lapeer County Jail around 1:40 a.m. He was released around 3:30 p.m., on a ticket to appear in court.

While Viviano has now been sentenced, the HPPD continues to conduct an internal investigation. At press time, he remained suspended without pay.

“It’s an extremely serious situation,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner. “Any conduct by my officers, on duty or off-duty, will reflect either positively or negatively, not only on the department, but the city, as well.

“At no time has the city of Hazel Park, nor the HPPD, intervened in any way with his court proceedings,” Barner said. “And as far as the court proceedings are concerned, he was treated as any other citizen would have been treated.”