A Tamaqua area man faces driving under the influence (DUI) and related charges after allegedly driving erratically after being booted from a Coaldale social club for being drunk and disorderly.
Coaldale police Officer Charles Andrew Blesse charged James J. Bennek Jr., 36, of 180 Claremont Ave., with two counts of DUI; violating laws on driving on roadways laned for traffic and turning movements and required signals, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Blesse with District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua.
The violations occurred on Dec. 8 and Bennek's blood alcohol level was 0.19 percent.
According to the affidavit, Blesse was on patrol at 10:46 p.m. when he saw a green Jeep Wrangler traveling east in the 100 block of E. Ruddle Street, cross the center of the road and almost hit two cars, then go back into his own lane of traffic. The Wrangler then stopped at E. Ruddle and Second streets, the driver put his right turn signal on, and turned left onto 2nd Street. Blesse and Sgt. Keith Krapf, who was also in the area, turned on their lights and sirens and stopped the vehicle.
Both officers smelled alcohol as they approached the driver, identified as Bennek. His eyes were glassy and bloodshot and his speech was slurred.
Both had dealt with Bennek earlier that night when he had been asked to leave the VFW in the borough for being unruly and intoxicated. Bennek had been asked to get a ride home, and he had said he would walk down the road to another bar, then get his mother to pick him up.
Bennek failed field sobriety tests and was taken to St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, for a blood test. he asked the officers to "just let him go and that he knows he messed up," the affidavit said.