D.W.I. Arrests Keep Town Police Busy
East Hampton Town police made three arrests last weekend on misdemeanor drunken-driving charges.
A call to police on Saturday evening claiming an intoxicated woman in a black Mercedes-Benz was in the parking lot of the Harvest on Fort Pond restaurant in Montauk sent an officer to the scene. Neither she nor the vehicle was found. However, police said, the officer saw Thomas C. Gibson, 61, of Lloyd Harbor, in a black 2004 BMW there, “passed out in the driver’s seat, with the keys in the ignition, the engine running and in drive, and his foot on the brake.”
With the sleeping man roused, the officer reported smelling alcohol and said Mr. Gibson performed poorly on sobriety tests. He allegedly told the arresting officer he had had one margarita.
At headquarters, a breath test produced a reading of .23 of 1 percent, police said, almost three times the .08 level that defines intoxication, and well over the .18 mark that raises the charge to the aggravated level.
Brian DeSesa represented Mr. Gibson at his arraignment on Sunday morning. The attorney takes part in a weekend program funded by Suffolk County to ensure competent representation during arraignments. Mr. DeSesa will not continue to be involved with the case, however, since attorneys who serve in the weekend program cannot be hired by the defendants they represent temporarily.
However, Mr. DeSesa flagged a possible weakness in the police case for any attorney Mr. Gibson may retain. He pointed out to East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana that the temperature at the time had been in the single digits. “Running your car when it is subzero in and of itself is not operation,” he said. There are two things a prosecutor must prove for someone to be convicted of D.W.I., he said later, that the defendant was intoxicated and at the same time operating the vehicle. Mr. Gibson posted $200 bail.
Police also charged a 30-year-old Springs resident who works in Amagansett with D.W.I. last weekend. According to police, a short time after midnight on Saturday, Layton Guenther was driving a 2015 Toyota north on Springs-Fireplace Road near Floyd Street in East Hampton, with the car moving at 49 miles per hour where the speed limit is 30. They also alleged that the car was swerving across double yellow lines before they pulled the driver over. A breath test at headquarters produced a .16 reading, twice the level that defines intoxication. The driver was released Sunday morning without bail.
Melqui E. Corleto, 30, of Newport, R.I., who works in the resort industry in Montauk, also was charged with D.W.I. Police said that early Saturday morning, the 2013 Hyundai he was driving became disabled near the snowy intersection of Elwell and Essex Streets in Montauk. The arresting officer noted in the report that Mr. Corleto also was driving with an obstructed view. “I had a glass of wine,” he allegedly said.
Failing sobriety tests, he was taken to headquarters, where the reading of his breath test was just high enough, at .08, to justify the charge, police said.
He was released Saturday morning without bail, but with a future date on Justice Rana’s criminal calendar.