Caught D.W.I. in Road Stop

There was only one arrest in East Hampton this past week on drunken driving charges; it came after a one-vehicle accident around midnight Monday. According to the East Hampton Town police, Jonathon A. Hansen, 20, of Amagansett was behind the wheel of a 2004 Ford pickup, headed north at the end of Hog Creek Road in Springs, near where it intersects with King’s Point Road, when he missed the stop sign and drove across King’s Point Road, over the shoulder, and into the brush, crashing into a tree. 

Mr. Hansen appeared to be inebriated to the police, and was charged with driving while intoxicated, but because he had sustained injuries in the crash, he was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where he was treated and released back into custody. 

He was limping noticeably when he was taken into court in handcuffs Tuesday morning, his right leg in a brace. During his arraignment on the drunken driving charge, legal questions arose about Mr. Hansen’s driving privileges, and East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky needed answers.

It appeared initially to Justice Tekulsky that Mr. Hansen had refused to consent to have blood drawn to test the amount of alcohol in his system. Such a refusal would result in a one-year suspension of Mr. Hansen’s right to drive in New York State. However, Cynthia Darrell, who heads the Legal Aid Society’s East End bureau and was on hand to represent Mr. Hansen, pointed out that he had signed a consent form to allow blood to be drawn. That blood was not drawn was not Mr. Hansen’s fault, she argued, but, rather, apparently due to the circumstance that there was no certified nurse on hand to do the procedure. Justice Tekulsky agreed.

However, there was still the question of whether Mr. Hansen even held a valid driver’s license. He had only been issued a learner’s permit by the state. Ms. Darrell agreed, but pointed out that Mr. Hansen recently passed his road test. She said that once a driver passes a road test conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles, he or she can legally drive in New York, even though the physical license is not yet in their possession. Justice Tekulsky again agreed, and released Mr. Hansen without bail, but with a future date on his criminal calendar.