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Bushkill man convicted of DUI in private community

September 18, 2010

A Pike County jury convicted a Bushkill man of driving under the influence in a private community, setting the precedent for more arrests on private roads.

The jury deliberated for 1 ˝ hours before finding Carlos Jose Guzman, 42, guilty in an incident that occurred in the Saw Creek Community Association on April 27, 2008.

Guzman was found lying next to his motorcycle with several injuries after having recently left a local restaurant. Customers and employees at the restaurant testified that Guzman had come into the restaurant already intoxicated. A bartender provided testimony that she would not serve him any alcoholic beverages because of his intoxicated state and made an attempt to stop him from driving, as did another customer at the restaurant. Guzman was witnessed leaving the restaurant driving erratically.
After having crashed his motorcycle, Guzman was taken for medical treatment where a blood sample was taken that showed his blood alcohol content to be .187 percent.

The primary defense in the case was that the Driving Under the Influence law does not apply in a private community like Saw Creek. First Assistant District Attorney Bruce DeSarro provided evidence relating to thousands that live in Saw Creek and the number of additional people that have access to it as to why the DUI laws should be applied there. DeSarro noted that the case was precedential in that a jury had never specifically been called on to determine whether the roads of a private community meet the definition of a trafficway in Pike County.

During the trial, President Judge Joseph Kameen drafted a special jury instruction specifically as to the issue of when a roadway is sufficiently used to be considered a trafficway allowing for DUI enforcement. During a non jury trial back in 2007 in a separate matter, Judge Kameen had ruled that the DUI laws apply to the Hemlock Farms Community in Pike County for a DUI offense that occurred there.

District Attorney Tonkin said the people in communities like Saw Creek and Hemlock Farms have every right to be protected from drunk drivers on their the roadways and that this jury’s verdict will help in protecting them. He said his office will continue pursuing such prosecutions.

 

Contributed by:

 

DeAnna Margiore
President, Sunrise Lake POA, Inc.

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