A Barnesville motorist was found not guilty by a jury of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol following a one day trial Monday before Judge John E. Domalakes in Schuylkill County court.
David A. Meranda, 52, of Shady Lane, testified he had a few beers but was not drunk when stopped on April 8, 2011, by Rush Township Patrolman Jonathan McHugh, on Fairview Street, also known as Air Products Road, around 12:30 a.m.
McHugh testified he was on patrol duty and came upon a car which crossed the yellow divider line several times and he stopped the vehicle.
Meranda testified he has eye problems from night lights. McHugh said he activated his patrol lights and pulled Meranda over to the side. Meranda said he pulled over on his own volition to let the car behind him pass and didn't know it was a patrol car until it pulled in front of him.
Meranda admitted having a few beers. He testified he left home around 8 p.m. and drove to his brother's home in Haddock where he ate a spaghetti dinner and drank two or three eight ounce cans of beer. He stayed four hours and left for home when stopped.
McHugh testified when he approached the car he could smell alcohol and ordered Meranda take a sobriety test at the scene. Meranda said he told McHugh of his physical handicap and that he was wearing a brace on one leg. McHugh said he didn't see any brace.
McHugh testified after Meranda failed the field test he took him to the police station and administered a breathalyzer test. He said he got a reading on the first test but that Meranda did not breathe properly into the device for the second time and it shut down and he could not get a reading.
Meranda claimed he completed three tests and when he asked for a copy of the readings was told they would be mailed to him. The Commonwealth was unable to produce any readouts or a log and admitted there was a record keeping issue.
McHugh testified he then told Meranda he was to go to the hospital for a blood test because no reading was available at the test made at the station and the Meranda refused and he charged him also with refusing to submit to a test.
Meranda denied he refused and claimed that the officer had sufficient information from the three tests. McHugh said he called Meranda's wife and she came and picked him up. Both Meranda and his wife, Mary, testified that it was the officer who brought him home in the police car.
The jury took only a short time to find Meranda not guilty.
Guilty of charges
Francine Gerrity, 44, of 504 S. Hickory St., Mount Carmel, was found guilty by a jury of charges of delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia after a one day trial before President Judge William E. Baldwin.
The court set bail at $25,000 cash bond and since she was unable to post it she was taken across the street from the courthouse to the county prison.
Baldwin deferred sentence until a later date and ordered a pre-sentence investigative report prepared by the adult probation department. Gerrity was cited the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force when stopped on the Morea Road in September 2010.