Three Men Arraigned on D.W.I. Charges

Two drivers were arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Sunday after being arrested by town police while another was arraigned last Thursday. 

According to police, both Dylan Joseph Cucci, 24, of Montauk and Ismael Hernandez, 41, of East Hampton produced breath test readings at headquarters higher than .18 of 1 percent, which automatically raises the charge to the aggravated level.  Although an aggravated driving-while-intoxicated charge remains a misdemeanor,  it is considered a more serious crime than D.W.I. 

Mr. Cucci was driving a 2003 Chevrolet pickup when he was pulled over on West Lake Drive in Montauk for allegedly swerving across lanes. Mr. Hernandez was driving a 2004 Ford Explorer on South Elmwood, also in Montauk, when he allegedly failed to signal a turn. Mr. Cucci, a lifelong resident, was released without bail after his arrest; Mr. Hernandez was released after posting $350 bail.

The breath test administered by town police for a Springs man arraigned on Saturday, Walter R. Mejia-Lopez, 26, allegedly just missed hitting the .18 reading that would have raised the misdemeanor charge to the aggravated level in a test at headquarters a little after midnight Friday. Mr. Mejia-Lopez was driving a 2005 Ford south on Springs-Fireplace Road, near Gardiner Avenue in Springs, when police said he swerved on a crosswalk, striking an orange crossing sign. When the arresting officer activated her lights and siren, police said, Mr. Mejia-Lopez’s Ford left the road, striking a mailbox with the passenger side mirror of the vehicle, before coming to a stop. He was released without bail. 

Juan M. Velecela-Mendez, 39, of Springs was arraigned last Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of drunken driving. Police said he was behind the wheel of a 2002 Ford the previous night when, while turning from Harrison Avenue in Springs onto Springs-Fireplace Road, his vehicle hopped the curb going onto the sidewalk. With an officer apparently watching and then following him, Mr. Velecela-Mendez allegedly made another erratic turn, from Springs-Fireplace Road onto Harbor Boulevard, leading his arrest. 

At headquarters, he refused to take the breath test. East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky told Mr. Velecela-Mendez during his arraignment that the Department of Motor Vehicles was suspending his driving privileges for the next year due to his refusal to take the test. He was freed after posting $250 bail, with a future date on the Justice Court’s criminal calendar.