After Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montauk, a somber, much more sober, and smaller parade took place Monday morning in East Hampton Town Justice Court, when three men and a woman arrested in Montauk after the parade ended were arraigned on charges of driving while intoxicated. All the arrests occurred within a four-hour time span.
The first was of a Shirley resident, Richard J. Clark, 19. East Hampton Town police reported seeing him on South Emerson Avenue sitting behind the wheel of a parked 2000 Acura, with several friends in and around the car, all allegedly drinking from “open alcohol containers.”
Police warned the young man that being under 21 years old and drinking alcohol, he should not drive the car, and then left to continue patrolling the area. About 10 minutes later, seeing him driving east on South Emerson, they pulled him over. With open beer cans in view, according to the report, Mr. Clark was asked to perform standard roadside sobriety tests, which he reportedly failed.
In court on Monday, Justice Lisa Rana noted that his blood-alcohol content had tested at .08, just over the legal limit.
“I have serious concerns with the probable cause here,” Mr. Clark’s attorney, James Malone, told the court. Justice Rana cautioned him that this was not the time to argue the case. She released Mr. Clark without bail but with a future date in court.
Richard Katz of New York City, 54, was arrested about an hour later. He had reportedly pulled into traffic near the Plaza abruptly, causing an officer driving by to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid a collision. After failing field sobriety tests Mr. Katz was taken to headquarters, where he refused to take the station house breath test, thereby incurring the automatic suspension of his driver’s license.
His attorney, Trevor M. Darrell, who practices criminal law in East Hampton, told the court his client comes to Montauk year round on weekends. Mr. Katz, too, was released without bail.
‘It’s a big weekend. Do yourself a favor and stay home. You don’t need anything else on top of this.’
— Justice Lisa Rana
A Montauk resident, Anthony Sosinski, was next to face the bench. His had been the last arrest on St. Patrick’s Day on drunken-driving charges. Mr. Darrell, who volunteered his services to represent Mr. Sosinski for the arraignment, told the court his client had no prior arrest record and that he was a 30-year resident of Montauk. Justice Rana read from the police report, noting Mr. Sosinski’s blood-alcohol content had been recorded at .14, then released him without bail.
The final D.W.I.-related arraignment Monday morning was that of Martha B. Casaverde of East Hampton. Mr. Darrell stood in on her behalf as well, telling the court she’d lived in East Hampton since 2001. Justice Rana released her without bail.
A Montauk man’s arrest the night before the parade led to some confusion in the courtroom on Sunday. As Justice Rana began reading the charges against Juan Gaspar it became apparent that he spoke little English. Normally the court is informed in advance if an interpreter is needed, but that was not done in this case.
Justice Rana then called the interpreter service used by police and the courts and conducted the arraignment, with the interpreter explaining the charges to Mr. Gaspar, through a speaker. Along with the D.W.I. charge, he faces a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle without consent; driving without a license, and driving an uninsured vehicle.
After determining that the defendant has lived here for about three years, Justice Rana set bail at $500, with an April court date. Mr. Gaspar was taken back to the station house with a promise that he could call friends from there to arrange for his bail to be posted.
The week also saw a couple of other D.W.I. cases. On March 12, a Southampton man, Carlos I. Orellana, 43, reportedly ran a red light at Montauk Highway and Wainscott Northwest Road, perhaps unaware that that road is home to East Hampton Town Police headquarters — making its intersection with the highway perhaps the most heavily patrolled in town. An officer who was on the spot pulled Mr. Orellana over and reported that he displayed classic signs of intoxication, before asking him to step away from his car and perform sobriety tests.
He failed, the officer said, and was taken on the short ride to headquarters, where he refused to consent to the Intoxilyzer 5000 breath test. The charge against Mr. Orellana was raised to the felony level when, after a computer check, police found he had been convicted of D.W.I. in 2004, in Southampton. A D.W.I. misdemeanor charge becomes an automatic felony if someone has been convicted of drunken driving within the past 10 years. Under Suffolk County law, such an arrest also results in the car being impounded.
Bail was set the next morning at $1,500.
Another Southampton resident, 29-year-old Danny F. Zuleta, was pulled over early Saturday morning on Abraham’s Path in Amagansett after allegedly running a stop sign at Town Lane. He, too, reportedly failed field tests and declined to take the Intoxilyzer test at headquarters.
An aggravated unlicensed driving charge was added to the D.W.I. charge, but that charge apparently will be cleared up. During Mr. Zuleta’s arraignment later that morning, Justice Rana remarked that the new charge stemmed from an unpaid fine in Sag Harbor.
“It’s a big weekend,” she told Mr. Zuleta, after releasing him without bail. “Do yourself a favor and stay home. You don’t need anything else on top of this.”