Although there were no enforcement measures against drunken driving last week, East Hampton town police still charged seven motorists with driving while intoxicated. Two of the arrests followed serious crashes necessitating trips to the hospital; the other five came after traffic stops brought on by moving or equipment violations.
A 1988 Ford Mustang, reportedly being driven at high speed, struck a telephone pole on Star Island Road in Montauk Saturday afternoon, about 200 feet past West Lake Drive. The car sustained severe front-end damage, the police said.
The driver fled the scene. Police set up a road block on Star Island Road, checking each vehicle as it left. Wayne Burling, 29, of Montauk was found a short time later in the Montauk Yacht Club parking lot and admitted he was the driver of the wrecked vehicle.
Police said Mr. Burling appeared to be intoxicated. He refused to take field sobriety tests, and asked to be taken to the hospital after being charged, to be treated for bruises to his head and legs.
According to police records, Mr. Burling has been convicted five times in the past nine years for drunken driving, with his driving privileges suspended numerous times for drug and alcohol-related driving offenses. He does not have a valid license.
Police impounded the damaged car and took the driver to Southampton Hospital, where he was treated in the emergency room. He refused to consent to a blood test, as he has done four times before, according to police.
After his release from the hospital police took him back to headquarters, where he was charged with felony D.W.I. At his arraignment the next morning, East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana sent him straight to the county jail. Under the state penal code, because of his multiple felony convictions Mr. Burling no longer has the right to be released on pre-trial bail. He is due back in court today.
Later on Saturday, an Amagansett 17-year-old, whose name was not released because of her age, crashed into a tree on Abram’s Landing Road in that hamlet. She told police she had lost control of her 2000 Jeep on a sharp curve near Scrimshaw Lane. An officer responding to a call reporting the crash found her still seated in the car, keys in the ignition.
There were fluids coming out of the engine, and the officer, taking no chances, helped the teenager away from the Jeep and into the squad car, where she waited for an ambulance, having sustained neck and head injuries. She smelled of alcohol to the officer, and was reportedly slurring her speech. She was charged with D.W.I. and taken to the hospital for treatment, where she consented to a blood test.
Police later released her without bail. She was due in court yesterday.
At 1 a.m. on Monday an officer patrolling Montauk Highway was driving west near Spring Close Highway in East Hampton when a 1995 Dodge truck veered into his lane. He swerved sharply to avoid an accident, according to the police report, which noted that the officer recorded the oncoming car’s speed at 62 miles per hour in a 40 m.p.h. zone.
The officer turned around and pulled the truck over. Its driver, Kyle Martin, 25, of East Hampton, reportedly said he’d just taken a taxi to the Hess station in Wainscott to pick up a friend who was too drunk to drive.
Asked to step out of the truck, Mr. Martin reportedly exhibited the classic signs of intoxication: slurred speech, lack of coordination, bleary eyes, and the sour smell of alcohol. He failed the standard roadside sobriety tests, police said. Back at the station house, he consented to take an Intoxilyzer 5000 breath test, the result of which was reported in court at .20, two points above the level that results in an aggravated D.W.I. charge.
He is facing two felony charges, one for the most recent charge, with a prior D.W.I. conviction dating from 2005, and one of driving with an alcohol-related driver’s license suspension. His car was impounded under county law, which mandates that persons arrested for drunken driving who have been convicted of D.W.I. within the past 10 years will have their cars seized.
Yet another charge of felony D.W.I. was leveled last Thursday, against Richard Manna, 30, of Wantagh. He was pulled over at about 2 a.m. on Edgemere Street in Montauk after repeatedly swerving across lane lines, according to police.
Back at headquarters Mr. Manna, who police said has one prior D.W.I. conviction in the past 10 years, refused the breath test. His car was impounded. Bail was set later that morning at $7,500.
A Springs man, Charles E. Hord, 62, was stopped Saturday night after reportedly driving 50 m.p.h. on Abraham’s Path near Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, where the speed limit is 30 m.p.h. His blood-alcohol content was reported to be .12 of one percent, four points over the legal limit. He was released Sunday morning after arraignment without having to post bail, due to his local roots, but with a future date in court.
Later that night on Abraham’s Path, at about 4 a.m., police began following a 2003 Ford when the car’s brake lights failed as it approached a stop sign at Town Lane. The driver, Luis D. Palomo, 25, of Springs swerved as he turned onto Town Lane, the report indicates, and was pulled over.
Mr. Palomo refused the station house breath test, resulting in his driving privileges being automatically suspended in New York State. The suspension is separate from the legal process, because driving is a privilege administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, not a right, and involves a second series of hearings apart from the judicial process.
Southampton Town police stopped an East Hampton man for a traffic infraction on Saturday night and wound up charging him with felony D.W.I. and two additional counts. Rodrigo Xot Tocay, 25, had a prior D.W.I. conviction within the past 10 years, police said, raising the level of the drunken-driving charge. He was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, another felony, and “circumventing an interlock device,” a misdemeanor.
An interlocking device prevents drivers who are intoxicated from starting their cars, requiring them to take a breath test before the vehicle will start. A reading of .025, well below the .08 count allowed in New York State, prevents the car from starting.