A Wild Ride Across the Napeague Stretch

    An 11-mile, O.J. Simpson-style pursuit of a BMW led to the arrest of a Southampton man at a little after 2 a.m. on Sunday. East Hampton Village police first spotted the car, with its headlights off, on Main Street, and finally ran it down near the Route 27 overlook in Hither Hills.
    Robert Czaplinski, 25, driving a gold 1994 BMW 525i, was first seen as he passed the Newtown Lane intersection heading east. An officer began following him, activating his emergency lights and then his siren, and when Mr. Czaplinski ignored them the pursuit began. According to the report, the driver sped up as he approached Amagansett, zipping down the middle of Main Street at about 50 miles per hour.
    “It was a dangerous situation,” said Chief Gerard Larsen on Monday. The chief  described a peculiar chase, during which Mr. Czaplinski alternately slowed down to a near-crawl, moving at about 15 m.p.h., sometimes driving on the shoulder and then crossing lane lines, but flooring it as he hit the Napeague stretch of Montauk Highway, doing 90 m.p.h. across the flat terrain and passing two taxicabs on the way to the overlook. By the time he stopped, East Hampton Town police had joined the pursuit.
     There was a strong smell of marijuana coming from the BMW, village police said, adding that Mr. Czaplinski made a “verbal admission” to taking drugs.
    Placed under arrest, he was charged with four misdemeanors, including fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, and aggravated unlicensed driving. His license had reportedly been suspended for lack of auto insurance.  He also faces eight separate counts of moving violations.
    Mr. Czaplinski consented to a blood test back at headquarters, the results of which were not immediately available. East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana set bail later that morning at $6,000.
    Another early-morning arrest occurred in snowy Montauk on Jan. 22 at about 2 a.m., after a town police officer stopped to assist a man changing a flat tire on East Lake Drive. Ferdinand M. Giresi, 37, of Scotia, S.C., told the officer the tire had blown out as he turned onto East Lake from Montauk Highway, after which his 2007 Toyota slid across the road into the brush, damaging the driver’s front and rear quarter panels.
    Mr. Giresi told the officer he was “okay,” an assessment that the officer did not share. According to the report, the officer noticed a strong smell of alcohol about the man, and also spotted an open 24-ounce can of Budweiser in the center console. There was a smell of marijuana in the car, according to the report, and Oxycodone pills as well.
    Because of the slippery conditions, Mr. Giresi was not asked to perform all the usual field sobriety tests, but he failed the ones he was given, and was charged with drunken driving and possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors, as well as a marijuana violation. The report noted that he had apparently sideswiped a Long Island Power Authority pole as his car left the road.
    Bail was set later that morning at $500.


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