Recently, an early-morning car accident in Yonkers led to a felony charge against a young man who was apparently driving the wrong way when his car crashed into a pickup truck. The 22-year-old has also been charged with several misdemeanors, including driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
The collision happened shortly before 4 a.m. The 55-year-old driver of the pickup was purportedly hurt in the crash, though his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
According to a news story, the 22-year-old left the scene of the accident before police arrived, but authorities located the young man's car in the area soon afterward. There was reportedly heavy damage to the front end of the vehicle, and that damage was likely used to identify the young man as a participant in the recent accident.
His behavior at the time of his arrest was not described in a local news report, but police nonetheless charged the young man with driving while intoxicated. After searching his vehicle, authorities claim to have found a loaded .38-caliber handgun.
The 22-year-old was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries. In all, he has been charged with second-degree possession of a weapon, reckless driving, driving the wrong way, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and DWI.
While news reports often paint a damning picture of defendants, the charges against this young man are likely not as cut and dry as they seem. In any car accident that causes injuries, the injured parties are sure to be shaken up and disoriented. Sometimes those symptoms can make a person seem intoxicated.
Moreover, field sobriety and breath tests, if they are administered, are not always reliable in determining whether a person has broken the law. Breath tests can give inaccurate readings, and the record of a field sobriety test can also wrongfully suggest guilt, especially if the person being tested was hurt in a car accident.
Still, the young man in this case will need a carefully planned criminal defense. Such a defense will call the assumptions of the prosecution into question and seek a significant reduction of charges.
Source: lohud.com, "Yonkers man, 22, charged with DWI, gun violation after wrong-way crash," Will David, May 1, 2012