In an countywide operation focusing on the Town and Village of East Hampton, drawing from different police jurisdictions and using checkpoint stops and saturation patrols, police made 17 arrests Saturday night into Sunday morning for alcohol-related offences on the roads.
The sweep was coordinated on the local level by Lt. Anthony Long of the village police and Lt. Tom Grenci of the town force. “Tom took the east side, I stayed on the west side,” said Detective Long on Tuesday. “We had a checkpoint [on Route 114] for two hours,” he said, followed by six hours of patrols.
In planning for the operation and the possibility of a large number of arrests, it was decided to split male and female arrestees between the village and town facilities, with the larger town headquarters taking the 10 men arrested while the 7 women were held at the village lockup.
The women were brought to court first on Sunday, starting at about 9:30 a.m., to be arraigned by East Hampton Town Justice Catherine Cahill. Many of them were dressed for an evening out, except for their faces, which were disconsolate.
Karen Seidler, a county assistant district attorney, represented the prosecution. Melissa Aguanno and Robert Savage stood in for the defendants, pro bono, acting as their attorneys for the purpose of arraignment, with the incentive of possibly picking up a new client or two.
All those in court had one thing in common: An officer, while interviewing them during a traffic stop or at a checkpoint, suspected they were intoxicated, and had them perform roadside sobriety tests, which they allegedly failed, leading to their arrests.
Rachel M. Gering, 43, of Manhattan, who told the officer who pulled her over on Route 27 at 1:30 a.m. in Montauk that she’d been visiting friends there, was the first to face Justice Cahill. She had refused to take the station house breath test, resulting in the immediate suspension of her driving privileges. Bail was set at $250, the amount the justice set for most of the defendants.
Nicole Valmorbida, 32, an Australian national, was next. She was here visiting her father, who lives in Southampton, she said. Because she needs to return home, the justice moved her court date to yesterday, Aug. 22.
One of the men, Andrew E. Fisch, 52, of Rowayton, Conn., was brought in from the room where the men were being held because his privately retained attorney, Brian Desesa, was present. Mr. Fisch, driving a 2012 Audi, had been stopped on Newtown Lane at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, reportedly for driving at night without headlights.
Justice Cahill checked her calendar and set a return court date of Oct. 25, the date used for most of the rest of the defendants.
Tammy Comstock, 45, of Kingston, R.I., faced a slightly different charge from the others, boating while intoxicated. She had been operating a dinghy at 10 the previous night in waters off Sag Harbor, allegedly without navigational lights. Her attorney, Mr. Savage, asked the court if he could appear in her stead the next time she was in court.
“This is a serious charge, and she is going to need to appear,” Justice Cahill said, setting bail at $350.
Meredith J. Linnehan, 27, of East Hampton had been stopped on Woods Lane at 1:15 a.m. for speeding, according to the report. Her parents were in the court, seated in the front row.
Michelle Horovitz, 30, of Staten Island was not charged with driving while intoxicated, which is a misdemeanor, but with a lesser charge of driving while ability-impaired, a violation, meaning her blood-alcohol content was below .08, the threshold for D.W.I. arrests. Such arrests usually result in the person being released from the station house when their blood-alcohol drops to a safe number, but Ms. Horovitz had to spend that busy night in jail.
Monica N. Quiros, 34, of North Haledon, N.J., is a manager of a concern that has different locations in the tri-state area, she told the court, and she needs a car for her business. Her blood-alcohol content was recorded at .17, which is twice the legal limit.
The justice told her she could apply for a hardship driving license.
Jasmine A. Malone was next. She had a previous conviction for driving while ability-impaired. While not a misdemeanor, the fact that it was alcohol-related and had occurred within the past five years meant it would preclude her right to obtain a hardship driver’s license.
Ms. Aguanno, representing her, conferenced at the bench with Ms. Seidler and Justice Cahill. “Was it within five years?” the justice asked.
The trio pored over the paper work.
“She’s out,” Ms. Aguanno said. The conviction had occurred on July 30, 2007. Ms. Malone had made it by 18 days.
She was charged with aggravated D.W.I., still a misdemeanor because her Intoxilyzer number came in at .24, three times the legal limit.
Mark R. Roskams, 56, of Manhattan was arrested at a checkpoint on Route 114. He told the court he was a photographer, here to visit a friend who lives near the Pollack-Krasner house in Springs.
“I’ve donated my car to my son-in-law,” he told the court.
“That’s good, because you won’t be driving,” Justice Cahill answered.
William Angusaca-Garcia of East Hampton, 22, faced the most serious charges of those arrested during the sweep. He had pleaded guilty in justice court just two weeks earlier to the charge of D.W.A.I., and had been told that his license was therefore suspended, according to the records Ms. Seidler and Justice Cahill were reading.
Besides the D.W.I. charge, he was now facing a felony charge for driving with a license suspended for an alcohol-related conviction, as well as resisting arrest and reckless driving.
“Based on the circumstances, the people are going to request $5,000 bail,” Ms. Seidler said. Mr. Savage, acting as his attorney, argued against high bail, saying that Mr. Angusaca-Garcia was not a flight risk.
“I am concerned that he hasn’t shown much regard for the judicial system,” Justice Cahill said, as she set bail at $5,000.
Francois W. Bellzaire, 41, of Upper Montclair, N.J., was pulled over on Montauk Highway in Wainscott at about 3:30 a.m. after police said he was driving erratically. Mr. Bellzaire told the court that he drove out to Montauk every Saturday to run a restaurant-consulting business.
Justice Cahill began to set bail at $350 when Mr. Bellzaire interrupted, asking if it could be set at $250. He had two children at home, he said, and a fledgling business.
The justice asked how much he made a week, and he told her $4,000, which he splits with three partners.
“I need to get a piece of that action,” she joked, before setting bail at $250.
Frank Hanna III, 50, of East Hampton told the court that he was self-employed and that he owned a cleaning company. Bail was set at $250.
Kiril P. Tcherveniachki, 27, who is from New Zealand but now lives in East Hampton, had his wife in the court. He was arrested after being stopped at the Route 114 checkpoint. His bail was also set at $250.
Vitaly Aranovich, 37, of Manhattan was pulled over on Montauk Highway for allegedly driving with a burnt-out headlight at 2 a.m. He had refused to consent to the station-house breath test, leading to suspension of his driving privileges. After setting bail at $250, Justice Cahill advised Mr. Aranovich to consider hiring a local attorney for representation, as opposed to a Manhattan lawyer.
“None of them realize how far East Hampton is when they take your money and take your case,” she said.
Mathew Creedon, 25, of Bayville also had refused the Intoxilyzer breath test. The justice asked about his local connections.
“I’ve been going to Montauk ever since I was born,” he said.
“Do you notice the difference this year?” the justice asked, before setting bail at $250.
Pierre Dempsey, 21, of East Hampton told the court he was still in college. His Intoxilyzer reading was reported at .10. His bail was also set at $250.
Joseph N. Labita, 30, of Manhattan, had refused to take the breath test. Mr. Labita was also charged with a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, when police allegedly found two pills of an undisclosed type in his pocket. Asked if he’d called anyone, he said, “Yes, I called my sister.”
“That’s what sisters are for,” Justice Cahill responded, setting bail at $250.
The entire session lasted a bit over two hours.
There were other D.W.I. arrests this week. David Bakhshi, 47, of Tiburon, Calif., was pulled over on Montauk Highway in Montauk at 4 a.m. on Saturday for failing to dim his brights for oncoming traffic, police said. His blood-alcohol content was reported in court later that morning as .09.
Justice Cahill was about to set his bail at $350. Mr. Bakhshi asked if it could be set lower, because he wasn’t sure who to call to raise that amount.
“How about the owner of the 2011 BMW you were driving?” the justice asked. She set bail at $200.
Matthew J. Nowaczyk, 36, of Brooklyn was pulled over at 4:30 Friday morning on Edgemere Street in Montauk for failure to signal while turning. His Intoxilyzer number was reported at .15. Bail was set at $300.
Jose A. Padilla-Deleg, 35, of East Hampton was arrested on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton on Aug. 12, a little after midnight. According to the police report, he had left the scene of an accident, and a Sag Harbor fire marshal followed him back to his house. When police arrived, he was still seated behind the wheel. Bail was set at $500.
Jairo A. Fernandez, 37, of East Hampton was arrested at about midnight on Aug. 15 on Main Street in Montauk, charged with D.W.I. and driving with a suspended license.
He was released without bail that morning.