Nesquehoning police have charged a borough man with driving under the influence of narcotics after telling a patrolman following a car crash in April that he would refuse to take a blood test because he had recently used cocaine.
Aaron Dolena, who turned 29 on Monday, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, careless driving, using or having drug paraphernalia, speeding, failing to use a seat belt, and tampering with or fabricating evidence.
He was arraigned on Wednesday before District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford and released on $1,000 unsecured bail.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed on April 23 by patrolman Steven Homanko, here's what happened:
Homanko was dispatched to a crash at 9:28 a.m. that day at 242 E. Catawissa St., which is Route 209. He asked the driver, Dolena, if he was hurt. The driver, who had blood on his hands, indicated his girlfriend, who was sitting on the curb.
Homanko spoke with the woman, identified as Angela Weir of Nesquehoning. He asked her where she was hurt, and she said her stomach. He asked her what happened, and she told him they were driving from the gas station and she told Dolena to watch out for the car, and then he hit it.
Dolena's pupils were dilated and he had "severe cotton mouth, along with stumbling over his words." Dolena agreed to take field sobriety tests, which he failed. He was unable to follow directions or keep his balance. He failed to keep his hand at his side during one test, and kept opening his eyes to see where his finger was when taking the test that requires the person to touch his finger to his nose while keeping his eyes closed.
Homanko asked him if he had any injuries, and he said he did not.
When Homanko put him in the back seat of the patrol car to take him for a blood test, Dolena said he would refuse the test. On the way to St. Luke's Hospital-Miners Campus in Coaldale, Dolena told Homanko he was refusing the test because he had used cocaine at about 11 p.m. the previous day and earlier that morning.
Dolena said he didn't feel high and was "fine."
At the hospital, Police Chief Sean Smith contacted Homanko to tell him that he had found several bags of a suspected controlled substance. The bags, behind a bush next to Dolena's car, contained a white powdery residue and had blood on them.
Dolena told Homanko he had given blood for a test the previous week after a DUI crash. As Homanko took Dolena home, Dolena told him he hadn't been going fast, around 45 mph, and that he had not been wearing a seat belt.