Birthday Arrest, Licensed Held

Charged with driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor as well as felony unlicensed driving

A Southampton man who already was facing criminal charges in Sag Harbor and Southampton was arraigned last Thursday in East Town Justice Court on multiple charges, including one felony. Kory Roebuck MacWhinnie had been arrested on April 4, his 30th birthday, by East Hampton Village police, who said he had been driving a 2017 Cadillac Escalade at 45 miles an hour on Main Street near Town Pond, where the speed limit is 30. 

Failing roadside sobriety tests, he was charged with driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor as well as felony unlicensed driving. The latter charge was mandated because his license had been suspended due to at least two prior alcohol-related driving arrests.

When the officer making the stop asked Mr. MacWhinnie why the Escalade smelled of alcohol, he allegedly said, “My friend spilled beer in my car.”  Mr. MacWhinnie’s most recent arrest was in Southampton in April 2016. He was also charged at that time with speeding, drunken driving as a misdemeanor, and unlicensed driving as a felony. The case is still open, and a warrant had been issued for his arrest because he had failed to appear in Southampton Justice Court. 

 Last week’s arrest by East Hampton Village police was the start of a two-day odyssey for Mr. MacWhinnie. First, he was taken to village police headquarters where a breath test produced a .08 of 1 percent alcohol in the blood reading, police said, just high enough to justify a drunken driving charge. After spending the night in a holding cell, he was brought to the East Hampton Town Justice Court to be arraigned. 

“I am suspending what appears to be your nonexistent privilege to drive,” Justice Steven Tekulsky said. Justice Tekulsky then warned him that if he were convicted on another unlicensed driving charge while the current case was pending, “You are definitely going to jail.”

When considering bail, Justice Tekulsky pointed out that Mr. MacWhinnie had two open warrants, one each from Sag Harbor and Southampton. Bail was set at $5,000, and Mr. MacWhinnie was taken back to headquarters. Within a couple of hours, a family member posted bail.

Mr. MacWhinnie was not free to go, however. It was now Sag Harbor’s turn to take Mr. MacWhinnie into custody. He was wanted on a bench warrant stemming from failure to appear in court on a misdemeanor unlicensed driving charge. He was taken to Sag Harbor Village Police Department headquarters. Normally, he would then have been arraigned that afternoon, but Justice Tekulsky, who was filling in for Justice Lisa R. Rana for Sag Harbor arraignments, was not available. Mr. MacWhinnie spent Thursday night in a holding cell, this time in Sag Harbor. On Friday morning, he was brought back to East Hampton to be arraigned. Justice Tekulsky set bail on the Sag Harbor matter at $1,000, which was posted.

Finally it was Southampton’s turn. Bail was set in its Justice Court Friday afternoon at $1,000. Again it was posted and Mr. MacWhinnie was finally free, but with a busy couple of months in local courthouses ahead. 

In another D.W.I. case, East Hampton Town police made one arrest on driving while intoxicated charges over the weekend. Carolina E. Morocho-Chavez, 25, of East Hampton was behind the wheel of a 2007 Nissan headed north on Springs-Fireplace Road near Abraham’s Path, “traveling at a rate of 52 m.p.h. in a posted 40 m.p.h. zone,” the police report read. The arresting officer also said she had crossed over double yellow lines. She allegedly failed roadside sobriety tests and at headquarters in Wainscott her breath test produced a reading of .09. Besides the D.W.I. charge, she is facing a misdemeanor unlicensed driving count.

Justice Tekulsky told Ms. Morocho-Chavez during her arraignment later Sunday morning that she “could go to jail on this case alone.” According to police, her license had been suspended eight times, several times for failing to answer a summons, as well as three suspensions for failing to maintain insurance on a vehicle. Justice Tekulsky set bail at $250, which she posted.