A report of an erratic driver leaving Bay Street, headed over the North Haven Bridge, led to the arrest on Saturday afternoon of a 29-year-old East Hampton man on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated. Sag Harbor police said the man, Romulo Quezada-Santos, had his 7-year-old son in the back seat, where empty beer cans were strewn about. The child’s presence elevated the charge to a felony.
Mr. Quezada-Santos’s 2002 Honda was pulled over about a half-mile past the bridge. His son was strapped into a child protection seat, the arresting officer reported. The father told the officer, David Driscoll, that he’d been driving around looking for work, going door to door and handing out business cards.
Officer Driscoll, who was cited as Sag Harbor Police Department Officer of the Year in 2012 for his work against drunken drivers, noted in his report that Mr. Quezada-Santos displayed classic signs of intoxication: slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, and was unsteady on his feet. He reportedly failed both a field sobriety test and a breath test. Officer Driscoll took him back to headquarters; his son was taken there by a second officer, in a separate patrol car.
Police called the boy’s mother to pick him up. He played with crayons given to him at the station house until she arrived to take him home.
Meanwhile, the processing of Mr. Quezada-Santos was continuing. Under Leandra’s Law, passed two months after the death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado at the hands of a drunken driver, a blood test is required for any driver arrested for D.W.I. who has a minor in the car.
Mr. Quezada-Santos consented to have his blood drawn by a technician. The Suffolk County crime lab is doing the analysis and the results are expected in a few days. Mr. Quezada-Santos spent the night in jail and was released the next day on $300 bail.
A 19-year-old Springs woman was arrested shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday on Red Dirt Road, the site of a nighttime fatal car crash about two weeks earlier. East Hampton Town police said Ashley M. Keyser’s gray 1998 Dodge Ram pickup was seen swerving back and forth across lane lines. There were several passengers in the truck.
Noting a smell of alcohol coming from the cabin, police asked Ms. Keyser to step outside and walk to the rear of the truck. (When an officer smells alcohol coming from a vehicle with passengers in it, it is standard to ask the driver to walk away from the car door. This allows the officer to see if the smell is coming from the driver or the passengers.)
Ms. Keyser had trouble standing up straight at the rear of the truck, holding onto it to steady herself, the officer wrote. She refused to take the roadside breath test.
Back at headquarters, after speaking by phone with her father, she also declined to take an Intoxilyzer 5000 blood-alcohol breath test, which is admissible as evidence in court, unlike the roadside test. The young woman told police that her father had talked with an attorney and she was “refusing as per her attorney’s request.”
A refusal results in an automatic suspension of driving privileges in the state and makes it harder to plea bargain with the district attorney’s office, according to Melissa Aguanno, a former assistant D.A. here who now practices criminal law. However, it also makes it more difficult for the D.A. to prove in court that the defendant was legally drunk, Ms. Aguanno said in an interview last August.
Due to her local roots, Ms. Keyser was released without bail after her arraignment in East Hampton Justice Court. She will be back in court at a future date.
A burnt-out headlight led to the arrest of an East Hampton man, Austin A. Eckhardt, 26, on Friday night. Mr. Eckhardt was driving a 2001 black Ford Escape on West Lake Drive in Montauk at about 10:30 when an officer pulled him over. He displayed classic signs of intoxication, the officer reported, also noting that there were several empty bottles of Bud Light beer on the back seat.
Mr. Eckhardt reportedly failed field sobriety tests and the roadside breath test as well before being taken back to headquarters, where his blood-alcohol content was recorded as at least .08 of 1 percent, the legal limit. He was released the next morning without bail, but with a future date in court.