The results of a blood test could have serious legal ramifications for a Florida man who is staying with his girlfriend in East Hampton.
East Hampton Town police say that Patrick J. Dowd of Indiantown, 27, was driving Sunday night with a Montauk woman in front and her 1-year-old in a safety seat in back, when he veered back and forth over the double yellow line on Flamingo Avenue. An officer pulled him over on Industrial Road, near where it curves into Second House Road.
The officer reported that “the defendant did not have any identification with him, and did not have any shoes.” Mr. Dowd allegedly failed roadside sobriety tests before being placed under arrest and charged with a felony violation of Leandra’s Law.
Leandra’s Law makes any drunken-driving charge a felony if there is a child in the car age 15 or under. Enacted in Novemeber 2009, the law was named for Leandra Rosado, who died in a car crash on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan a month before it was passed.
Back at police headquarters in Wainscott, he consented to have his blood tested for alcohol content. Refusal in a Leandra’s Law case is not an option, though it would have required police to obtain a court order.
In court the next morning the legal cloud hanging over Mr. Dowd grew much darker.
“You have two prior D.U.I. charges in Florida, as well as another charge of criminal mischief and trespassing,” East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana told the defendant. She set bail at $10,000 and instructed him to hire an attorney right away.
“How am I supposed to pay for an attorney?” the handcuffed man asked.
“You’re working. You live at your girlfriend’s house, and you have two jobs. You’re not eligible for legal aid,” was the answer.
“Is there any way I can get a temporary work permit?” Mr. Dowd asked. He told the court he was expected at his construction job the next morning at 7:30. He also works for a caterer.
“That is a question for your attorney,” Justice Rana said.
“I’m supposed to go to Wainscott with $10,000?” asked Mr. Dowd’s girlfriend, an East Hampton woman.
“You’ll have to talk to a bail bondsman,” the justice answered. The woman apparently did just that, as Mr. Dowd was later released on bail. He is due back in court today.
If there was a conviction in Florida since November 2006 on either driving-under-the-influence charge, the equivalent there of New York’s driving while intoxicated, the district attorney could well prosecute the case as a felony. Mr. Dowd’s attorney, Gordon Ryan, said both convictions happened when he was a youth, and cited Florida’s “zero tolerance” law that makes almost any alcohol reading on a juvenile motorist a crime. New York State has a similar law.
The driver of a 1996 Jeep was charged with drunken driving early Sunday after a two-car collision on Route 27 near Lincoln Road in Montauk that left the Jeep lying on its roof.
James A. Vallar of Montauk, 22, was headed west when he collided with another westbound car, driven by a Montauk woman. Police have not released details of the incident, but Mr. Vallar was treated at Southampton Hospital before being released into police custody. He refused to consent to a blood test at the hospital, meaning that the Department of Motor Vehicles will in all likelihood revoke his license for the next year. He spent the rest of Sunday in a holding cell before his arraignment on Monday morning.
An Aug. 6 car crash on Miller Lane East in East Hampton led to a felony D.W.I. charge, as well as a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Town police said Matthew P. Kopoulos, 21, of Wainscott was standing by a 2009 Audi, which had just crashed into a parked Isuzu, when they arrived at 6 a.m. He told the officers he had swerved to avoid hitting a deer.
Mr. Kopoulos reportedly failed roadside sobriety tests. Told he was being arrested, police said, he refused to be handcuffed, taking a fighting stance against four officers, who eventually subdued him.
He did take the breath test at the police station, which resulted in a blood-alcohol content of .09. The legal limit is .08.
Because he was convicted of D.W.I. in 2010, the charge against Mr. Kopoulos is at the felony level. Justice Catherine Cahill set bail at $5,000 in court that morning and police impounded the Audi, under county law covering repeat drunken-driving offenders. It was not registered to Mr. Kopoulos, but to a 23-year-old East Hampton woman who was his passenger at the time of the crash.
A Manhattan woman who was apparently in the throes of road rage was arrested last week after reversing her 2013 Audi into a tree.
A 22-year-old Springs woman told town police that just after midnight on Aug. 6 the woman, Erin S. Halloran, 39, was tailgating her north on Three Mile Harbor Road for about three miles, with her brights on the whole way. When the Springs resident turned onto Fort Pond Boulevard and into her driveway, she said, Ms. Halloran pulled in behind her. She got out to confront the Audi driver, who then reportedly reversed, but instead of backing out of the driveway, crashed into a tree.
When police arrived they found Ms. Halloran still seated behind the wheel, the engine running. She performed poorly on field tests before being placed under arrest, and later refused to take the station-house breath test.
Justice Cahill suspended her license pending a D.M.V. hearing, where the woman’s driving privileges are likely to be revoked. She was released the next morning without bail, but with a place on the court’s criminal calendar.
Another New Yorker arrested last week on drunken-driving charges after a traffic accident was Nicholas Barberio, 58. A witness told Sag Harbor Village police that Mr. Barberio’s tan 1991 BMW Saturday evening had attempted a right turn from Main Street to Route 114 but had veered off the road onto the sidewalk and struck a gas streetlamp. The car then completed the turn, the witness said, and began heading up Division Street, but had to pull over with a flat tire, sustained in the crash.
Mr. Barberio was additionally charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Town police also charged the following with D.W.I. last week: Kristen M. Tyler, 25, of East Hampton, Bernice T. Barna, 54, of Milford, Conn., Jennifer Tintle-Reder, 48, of Lower Merion Township, Penn., and Anthony P. Foti, 27, of New York City. Sag Harbor police also recorded the arrest of Michael F. Trezza, 48, of New York City.