Cops: 'Prince of Montauk' Was Driving High

An East Hampton Town police officer led Dylan Eckardt led into East Hampton Town Justice Court Tuesday morning, with his attorney, Trevor Darrell by his side. T.E. McMorrow

A Montauk man who boasted in a recent Vanity Fair article about being above the law in East Hampton Town found himself face to face with it on Monday, when he was arrested and charged with driving while high on drugs, unlicensed driving, and multiple moving violations.

Police said Dylan Eckardt, 37, was swerving in his 2006 Land Rover and ran two stop signs in downtown Montauk before he was pulled over on Monday afternoon. According to the police report, his pupils were dilated, he was unsteady on his feet, and he performed poorly on roadside sobriety tests, including some specially designed to detect drugs in the system.

Mr. Eckardt reportedly told police he had taken Xanax and Lithium, for which he had prescriptions. "This is the one time I'm not really f***ed up and driving around and you harass me," he said, according to the police report. "Now Montauk is going to be tough for you guys this summer."

At his arraignment on Tuesday morning, East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky was clearly perturbed with Mr. Eckardt, who has been charged at least three times in recent years with driving without a license, was convicted in 2014 of unlicensed driving, and is currently again on the justice's criminal calendar for such a charge.

"He has two prior matters here," Justice Tekulsky said, as he considered what level of bail to set. "It also appears that he has some out-of-state contact with the criminal justice system. I recognize his ties to the community, but I will tell you, his case has been pending on an aggravated unlicensed driving charge, and he has not had a license since July of 2015." His attorney, Trevor Darrell, stood by his side.

Mr. Eckardt, a former professional surfer, is a real estate agent in Montauk with Nest Seekers, and was the subject of a lengthy profile earlier this month in Vanity Fair. While driving around the hamlet with the writer, he told her that "Cops had already written him seven tickets in the last two months. . . ."

Justice Tekulsky acknowledged Tuesday that Mr. Darrell has worked with his client to reverse the various violations that led to his license being suspended, then added, "He still does not have a license to drive in the State of New York, and he chooses to drive in the State of New York. That suggests to me that he does what he chooses in his own interests."

Bail was set at $1,000, which was posted.

Mr. Eckardt is due back in court to face the current charges, as well as the previous unlicensed driving charge Justice Tekulsky spoke of.