An East Hampton Town police officer spotted Carlos R. Hernandez, 45, of Northwest Woods driving erratically at a little after 3 a.m. on Dec. 15 and stopped his 1997 Dodge on Stephen Hand’s Path near Wheelock Road. The officer wrote in his arrest report that Mr. Hernandez had swerved across the double yellow lines.
Upon questioning, the officer decided Mr. Hernandez might be intoxicated, because he smelled alcohol and the driver’s eyes were bloodshot. Mr. Hernandez was unsteady on his feet when asked to step out of the car, according to the report, and failed standard roadside sobriety tests before being charged with driving while intoxicated.
Back at police headquarters, he consented to take the Intoxilyzer 5000 breath test, which records the alcohol level in one’s blood based upon a single breath into a tube. Refusal to take the test results in the immediate suspension of driving privileges in New York State. Mr. Hernandez’s level was recorded at .15 of 1 percent, almost twice the legal limit.
Speaking to him that afternoon through the court translator Tanya Valverde, Justice Lisa R. Rana asked Mr. Hernandez, who appeared distraught, if he’d made a phone call.
“I’ve given you multiple opportunities,” she said.
“He doesn’t have a lawyer. He wants to call his boss, but nobody answers,” the translator told the court.
Justice Rana asked if he’d tried calling a friend.
“His phone is at his home,” Ms. Valverde answered. Mr. Hernandez had been arrested just blocks from where he lives.
“You can’t remember any of your friends’ numbers?”
“No,” was the answer.
“I find that astounding,” Justice Rana said.
She explained to Mr. Hernandez that she would enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf, to protect his rights, and set bail at $750. Besides the D.W.I. charge, he faces an aggravated charge of driving without a license. His license was suspended in 2011 for failure to pay a fine, as well as failure to answer a summons issued in Queens.
Village and town police between them reported only one arrest for drunken driving last week. That report was not ready for release as of Monday.