Operation Nitecap, the Suffolk County Police Department’s stop-drunken-driving task force, swept through East Hampton Town and Village, Sag Harbor, and Shelter Island on Saturday, resulting in 20 arrests in an eight-hour span that ended at 4 a.m. on Sunday.
“I wish we could do it every weekend,” said village chief Jerry Larsen on Tuesday. “It was great.”
“We had about 20 cops, state police, Suffolk County Police, Southampton, and Sag Harbor,” town chief Edward Ecker said on Monday. “This is a law enforcement tool for the future.”
Chief Larsen said the three local chiefs met before the operation and decided, rather than divide the county manpower among their jurisdictions, to pool their resources, with Lt. Anthony Long of the village police taking command of roadblocks and Lt. Austin McGuire of the town force in charge of “saturation” patrols, on the lookout specifically for drunken drivers.
“There were two checkpoints, one on the borderline between Sag and East Hampton on Route 114, and another on the highway at the borderline of East Hampton Town and Village, near Stephen Hand’s Path. And then the rest was saturation enforcement,” Chief Ecker said.
There are a couple of key elements, according to both men, that make this program particularly effective.
First, all officers participating in the program were deputized by the Suffolk County district attorney, meaning they could make drunken-driving arrests throughout the county.
Second, importantly, special processors were brought in to handle the paperwork that must occur after a drunken-driving arrest. Chief Ecker explained that these data entry people freed the arresting officers to “just do a quick pedigree and they would be back on the road.”
This was not the last time this summer that the operation will focus on the East Hampton area. “It will be coming back,” Chief Ecker promised. “Soon.”
The operation, which started at 8 p.m. on Saturday, kicked into high gear after midnight. Statistically, those next few hours, out of the entire week, produce the highest number of drunken driving arrests.
Almost all those arrested in Operation Nigtcap were released the next morning without bail, unless otherwise noted.
The first arrest came in Sag Harbor, just minutes after the operation began. Bryan Y. Courchesne, 32, of Boca Raton, Fla., was pulled over on Main Street for having defective brake lights, police said. Mr. Courchesne failed all the standard roadside sobriety tests, according to the report, and allegedly refused to take a second breath test back at headquarters.
At 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Jonathon Cohen, 60, of New York City, was driving south on Route 114 when he was stopped at a checkpoint at Swamp Road. He refused to take a breath test at the station house.
At about the same time, in Montauk, Michael D. Higgins, also of New York, was seen driving erratically on Essex Street, police said. His blood alcohol content was.13, according to the police.
At 10:15 p.m., Christina D. Mazzawi, 55, also from Manhattan, was questioned by village police after making a U-turn near the Route 114 checkpoint and pulling into a driveway, apparently in order to avoid the roadblock. She reportedly refused to take a breath test.
Amelina Sekluska, 40, of Amagansett, was stopped at 11:01 p.m. on Division Street in Sag Harbor after reportedly running a stop sign at Bay Street and making an illegal left turn across Bay to park. Police said she failed sobriety tests, including a breath test, and again declined to take a breath test at headquarters.
At about midnight, Evan D. Kleinman, 27, of Roslyn allegedly ran two stop signs on Madison Street in Sag Harbor, leading to a police stop. He was interviewed, found to be intoxicated, and arrested.
At about the same time, John A. Faracco, 39, a Manhattan resident, was pulled over on 114 in North Haven, after being spotted speeding over the bridge. Police reportedly smelled marijuana smoke when Mr. Faracco rolled down his window, and he was given field sobriety tests, which he failed. Mr. Faracco reportedly said he was on Oxycontin, and showed police a daily pill dispenser containing the opiate-based painkiller, as well as Adderall, Xanax, and other pills. Also in the car trunk was some marijuana, police said. Back at headquarters, Mr. Faracco was charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as D.W.A.I. (driving while ability impaired) and possession of marijuana.
There were four more alcohol-related arrests in the next 45 minutes: David R. Plotkin, 39, of Tenafly, N.J., was arrested at 12:10 p.m. after being stopped at the Route 27-Stephen Hand’s Path checkpoint; Matthew P. Santini, 31, of Greenwich, Conn., who was stopped at the Route 114 checkpoint; Justin M. Haar, 23, of Alpine, N.J., charged with D.W.A.I., and Brendan A. Amaruso, 24, of Oyster Bay, who was pulled over on Main Street in East Hampton. Police said he was driving erratically without headlights and found to be intoxicated.
Abel R. Lapenna, 20, of East Hampton was pulled over for allegedly speeding on Route 114 before being arrested. Bridget A. Reilly, 50, of Manhattan was stopped at 1:45 a.m. on Main Street in East Hampton, after swerving, according to police. The report notes that a Quogue officer made that arrest.
A half-hour later, Daniel S. Hobbs, 26, also of Manhattan, was stopped for the same reason. Mr. Hobbs was driving on Napeague, near the old highway in Montauk, at the time.
Fifteen minutes later Mathew L. Manza, 32, another Manhattan resident, was stopped in Sag Harbor; police said he was driving on the wrong side of Union Street.
Christine M. Brown, 23, of Montauk was arrested on Fleming Road in Montauk at 2:41 a.m. About 20 minutes later, Julian Cavin-Zeidenstein, 22, of Brooklyn was pulled over for speeding on Montauk Highway near Baiting Hollow Road.
The sweep’s final arrest in East Hampton Town was in Montauk at 3:23 a.m., when Juan J. Rijfkogal, 21, of the Bronx was pulled over for allegedly driving without benefit of headlights.
On Shelter Island, Operation Nightcap led to five arrests, including that of Matthew Stedman, 45, of Montauk, on a D.W.I. charge, and to several marijuana charges, as well as a couple for unlicensed driving.
Apart from the special operation, local police forces have ratcheted up drunken-driving enforcement, leading to 21 additional D.W.I. arrests during the first nine days of July, beginning at 5:30 a.m. on July 1, when Thomas B. McGarrity, 35, of Manhattan ran a stop sign at the Plaza in Montauk, according to the police report, which states his blood-alcohol content, as tested at the stationhouse, was .13.
There was a drought of 15 hours until a flurry of arrests on July 2. Dwayne L. Gill II, 23, of Shirley was pulled over on Montauk Highway near Beech Street, Montauk, for erratic driving. Mr. Gill reportedly told the officer that he’d just graduated from college and was headed home, but he did not get there that night. His blood-alcohol content was reported to be .12 from a test taken at headquarters.
Less than an hour later an eastbound officer on Montauk Highway near Cemetery Road in Montauk spotted Jessica C. Klima, 24, of Mineola reportedly driving half on the shoulder. She consented to a breath test at headquarters, which police said recorded .13.
At 6:35 a.m., Alexander J. Kollmer, 23, of Tallahassee, Fla., was pulled over for speeding, as well as erratic driving, on State Highway 27 near Upland Road in Montauk. He failed sobriety tests as well as a field breath test and refused to give a breath test at the stationhouse, according to police.
Later that day, at about 6:45 p.m., a car driven by Dylan Kalbacher of Amagansett allegedly struck one driven by Temidra Willock of East Hampton on Springs-Fireplace Road. Mr. Kalbacher reportedly told an officer he couldn’t remember what direction he’d been going in or how he’d hit the other car. A field breath test showed his blood-alcohol content to be dangerously high at .32. Back at headquarters he was retested and the reported figure was .29.
July 2 ended with a 10:30 p.m. arrest of Rafael M. Quizque, 29, of East Hampton, who was swerving, police said, while driving down Morris Park Lane in East Hampton. He was charged with aggravated D.W.I., indicating his level was .18 or higher. His bail was set at $2,000 the next morning.
At 4:30 a.m. on July 3 Norbertas Krujalkis, 23, of Riverhead was pulled over on the shoulder of Pantigo Road in East Hampton. At the station house, he refused to consent to a breath test. Bail was set later that morning at $300.
July 3 had one of the most serious incidents of the first eight days of the month. William E. Sammon, 49, of East Hampton allegedly crashed into a telephone pole on Accabonac Road, East Hampton, and then ran away, police said. A detective caught up with him on Floyd Street and found him to be intoxicated, and when police ran his identification card they reportedly found he had been convicted of two alcohol-related vehicular crimes within the past three years and no longer had a valid license. After being treated for his injuries at Southampton Hospital, Mr. Sammon was held without bail pending a felony indictment.
The D.W.I. parade resumed a couple of hours after midnight when Rachel A. Bosworth, 24, of Laurel was pulled over on Montauk Highway near Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton. Police said they clocked her at about 60 miles per hour in a 30 m.p.h. zone, and reported that she had almost sideswiped a patrol car in the oncoming lane.
A bit later that morning, July 4, Christopher G. Leonard of Lindenhurst, whose 42nd birthday it was, ran the stop sign at the Plaza in Montauk, almost striking the curb as he turned, according to police. His blood-alcohol level was recorded at .20, leading to an aggravated D.W.I. charge. He was released without bail in the morning.
Manuel Munoz, 25, of East Hampton was arrested on the evening of July 4 after allegedly being seen speeding on Bluff Road in Amagansett. His blood-alcohol content was reported at .13. Bail was set the next morning at $300.
At 2 a.m. on July 5, Giorgi Grubeladze, 31, of East Hampton allegedly turned onto Sandra Road from Woodbine Drive in Springs without signaling. His blood-alcohol level was said to be .14. Police said his license plates had been switched. Bail was set the next morning at $350, but he was later turned over to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Village police responding to a call that afternoon reporting an extremely intoxicated man on Park Place came upon Paul Goldstein, 56, of East Hampton and New York City. Mr. Goldstein was standing by his 2011 BMW, the police said, trying to write a note for the driver of another parked car, which Mr. Goldstein told police he had just hit. An officer tried to give Mr. Goldstein a sobriety test, but stopped for fear the man would hurt himself, police said. He did take a blood test at headquarters; the result was not available.
July 6 brought two more drunken-driving arrests. A police car parked on the Route 27 shoulder near Wainscott Stone Road in Wainscott was sideswiped by a car driven by Muriel E. Robinson, 76, of Manhattan, according to the report. The report states that Ms. Robinson was unaware she had collided with the patrol car, which had its emergency lights on at the time. Her blood-alcohol content was reported to be .08., and she was held overnight.
Avery W. Cowden, also of Manhattan, was driving west of Montauk on the highway, swerving and doing about 20 or 25 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone, police said, causing following cars to pass him across the yellow line. Mr. Cowden told an officer he had had a single glass of wine, police said, but failed a roadside test. Back at the station, he refused a second breath test, and was held overnight. Bail was set in the morning at $250.
July 7 was a new day with the same old story, two more D.W.I. arrests, even before that evening’s massive sweep. The first came at 4:30 in the morning, when Mauricio E. Solares, 23, of East Hampton was reportedly seen by a marine patrol officer on Napeague pulling out and passing cars ahead of him. The officer turned around and pulled him over. Mr. Solares reportedly registered .14 when tested at headquarters.
At 6:40 that evening, Kevin T. Hummel, 30, of East Hampton reportedly rear-ended a car at Abraham’s Path and Town Lane in Amagansett. Mr. Hummel told police he’d been looking down and hadn’t seen the car stop. He failed a field test, police said, and later registered .10 on a blood-alcohol test.
At the end of July 8, although the D.W.I. sweep had ended many hours earlier, there was another arrest in Sag Harbor, at the same spot where the very first arrest of the operation had taken place. Mariane E. Gianelli, 28, of East Hampton was stopped for reportedly driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and was charged with drunken driving, the final such arrest of many in the first eight days of July.