PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence police officer is on administrative duty with pay after he was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in East Greenwich earlier this month.

Providence Police Commander Kevin Lanni confirmed to Target 12 that Victor Tavarez, a four-year veteran with the department, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge in Kent County Court on Monday.

East Greenwich police said a 35-year-old Coventry man was arrested for driving under the influence and refusing to take a chemical test on June 18. That man, who police did not identify, drove his car off of the road and into a guard rail.

The man’s car eventually ended up crashing into the woods off of New London Turnpike. Lanni confirmed Monday that the driver was Tavarez.

Police said the car’s airbags deployed, and it sustained “heavy front-end damage” in the crash.

The driver reportedly slurred his words, stumbled and continued to repeat the same story about being on paternity leave prior to his arrest, according to police.

Tavarez, 35, graduated from the 69th Training Academy in June 2019. He is also slated to go before the R.I. Traffic Tribunal on Tuesday.

Lanni said the department will “evaluate administrative action” regarding Tavarez’s charges.

Target 12 has reached out to Tavarez for comment but has not yet heard back.

Alexandra Leslie ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.