Police Snare Familiar Driver
A Springs man who had been released from jail after the district attorney’s office failed to obtain an indictment on a felony domestic violence charge is back behind bars following a three-vehicle accident on Feb. 20.
According to East Hampton Town police, Christopher S. Verity, 24, was headed north on Springs-Fireplace Road in Springs a little after sunset that day in a 2000 Toyota registered to Samantha Cucunuba. Ms. Cucunuba, whom police described as a domestic violence victim involving Mr. Verity on Feb. 1, was in the passenger seat, despite a court order requiring Mr. Verity to stay away from her.
The Toyota was traveling behind a 2017 Honda being driven by Freddy Lopez of East Hampton. In front of Mr. Lopez’s car was a 2009 Dodge van taxi being driven by an East Hampton woman, Pamela Barbetta. Ms. Barbetta slowed down and pulled onto the shoulder, preparing to make a right turn onto Bowling Green Place, which caused Mr. Lopez to slow down. The police report said Mr. Verity then pulled to the right to try to pass Mr. Lopez’s Honda. Now headed straight for the Dodge van, Mr. Verity swung his vehicle back to the left, trying to avoid striking it, police said. Instead, he struck both the Honda and the Dodge, causing significant damage to all three. No one was injured, police said.
According to the police, Mr. Verity did not stop immediately after the accident and was soon pulled over. “I just kept driving,” Mr. Verity allegedly told the arresting officer. “I was scared. I knew what would happen. I knew I was going to jail.”
Mr. Verity was charged with drunken driving and unlicensed driving, both as felonies, along with misdemeanor criminal contempt for allegedly ignoring the order of protection for Ms. Cucunuba. He also was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and several moving violations. At police headquarters, he took a breath test, which police said resulted in a reading of .18 of 1 percent alcohol in the blood, raising the felony charge against him to the aggravated driving-while-intoxicated level.
Mr. Verity is also facing a charge of violating the terms of probation following a conviction on a 2016 arrest. In addition, he is scheduled to go before New York State Supreme Court Justice Stephen L. Braslow on Wednesday in Riverside. He had previously pleaded guilty to drunken and unlicensed driving, both at the felony level, in Justice Braslow’s courtroom in November of 2016. Since then, he has appeared regularly before Justice Braslow, who had held off sentencing to allow Mr. Verity to get treatment.
Mr. Verity’s Legal Aid Society attorneys have waived his right to be released after his latest felony arrests, as required by law, an indication that negotiations are underway with the district attorney’s office toward an overall settlement on his several criminal matters.
A Sag Harbor woman, Laurie A. Durning, 55, was arrested on a drunken-driving charge Friday evening after a traffic stop on Bridge Street in the village. According to police, Ms. Durning, driving a 2016 Mercedes-Benz, pulled out of a parking spot at the intersection of Main and Spring Streets without the car’s headlights on.
The police said Ms. Durning then stopped her car in the middle of Bridge Street. The arresting officer said Ms. Durning smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests. As she was arrested and handcuffed, police alleged Ms. Durning kicked the officer in the knee. She then fell backward onto the hood of the patrol car, police said, and slid slowly to the ground. Police said she was not hurt.
Besides the misdemeanor drunken-driving charge, she was hit with a count of harassment, a violation, for the alleged kick. After spending the night in a holding cell, Ms. Durning was released without bail, with a future date on the Sag Harbor Justice Court’s criminal calendar.