‘I Had a Bad Day, No Excuses’

    Kenneth R. Coleman Jr. of Sag Harbor was driving 66 miles per hour early Saturday morning on Montauk Highway near Green Hollow Road, according to East Hampton Village police, when they stopped his 2005 Toyota Rav 4. The speed limit there is 40 m.p.h.

    Mr. Coleman, 31, was asked to perform roadside sobriety tests, which police said he failed. He appeared in East Hampton Town Justice Court later that morning to face a felony charge of drunken driving.

    “This is a felony D.W.I. charge,” Justice Catherine A. Cahill told the handcuffed man. “You’ve been arrested at least once before.”

    Driving while intoxicated becomes a felony when the defendant has been convicted of the same charge within the past 10 years.

    “The D.A., in all likelihood, will present this to a grand jury,” said the justice. “The D.A. has asked bail to be set at $5,000. Are you able to post it?”

    “I don’t know. I’ll have to see,” Mr. Coleman responded.

    “If you don’t post that, you will be taken to Riverhead,” Justice Cahill told him.

    Joao P. Casagrande, 25, of East Hampton apparently faces the same charge, which in his case could be raised to the even more serious “aggravated felony” level. East Hampton Town police stopped Mr. Casagrande on Montauk Highway near Town Line Road at about 3 a.m. on Sunday for allegedly crossing the double yellow line, and said he did not perform to their satisfaction on field tests.

    After his arrest he was placed in the back of a police car, where, according to officers, he became enraged and butted his head against the partition, causing a cut over his eye. He refused medical care, however.

    Back at headquarters, the misdemeanor charge against him was elevated to aggravated D.W.I. after his blood-alcohol content was recorded at .22 of one percent. A number over .18 is considered aggravated by New York State.

    In court that morning, Mr. Casagrande acknowledged to Justice Cahill that he had been convicted in Georgia for drunken driving. The justice encouraged him to hire an attorney, preferably a local one.

    “The D.A. may well elevate this to a felony charge,” she warned the man, before asking him whether he had called anyone.

“I don’t have anybody to call,” he answered.
    “You don’t have anybody to call to post bail?”

    Mr. Casagrande told the court he believed he had about $300 in cash in his wallet, which was at police headquarters in Wainscott. An officer called the stationhouse to find out, and was told $322.

    “I want to get things done as soon as I can,” Mr. Casagrande said.

    “That’s why you’re going to have to hire a lawyer,” Justice Cahill said. She set bail at $300.

    John T. Siedlarz, 48, of East Hampton was pulled over early Monday on Pantigo Road near Amy’s Lane. He was driving 71 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone, according to town police, who said he continued speeding west even after a squad car began following him, briefly losing control of the wheel before pulling over at the Main Street-Newtown Lane traffic light.

    Back at headquarters he agreed to take an Intoxilyzer test, which gave a reading of .20, according to police, raising the misdemeanor D.W.I. charge against him to the aggravated level.

    In court the next day, a young couple was present in support of Mr. Siedlarz, who told the justice he’d never been in trouble with the police before.

    “I had a bad day yesterday. It was stupid. No excuses,” he said. She released him without bail due to his long standing in the community, but with a future date in court.

    Town police arrested Elizabeth K. Lesar, 50, of New York City and Sag Harbor, at 2 a.m. Sunday on Montauk Highway after stopping her for driving without headlights.

    “One guy was buying drinks and I just wanted to get away from him,” she told Justice Cahill during her arraignment. “I’d never drink and drive.” Bail was set at $350.

    Donald A. Dalbora, 43, of Montauk was charged with D.W.I. in the early morning hours of Sept. 24, after being stopped on South Fairview Avenue in that hamlet. Police also charged him with possession of marijuana, a violation.

   He refused to take the breath test at the stationhouse, police said, leading to the automatic suspension of his driver’s license, which, as it turned out, was already suspended. Now, because of his refusal to take the breath test, it will in all likelihood be revoked for a year. He was released on $300 bail.