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Tamaqua woman facing DUI count

Published August 12. 2010 05:00PM

A Tamaqua woman faces two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) and other charges after allegedly driving after imbibing.

In addition to the DUI charges, Barbara Bankes, 43, of 66 Bowe St., faces charges of violating the signals by hand and arm or signal lamps and driving on roadways laned for traffic laws.

Here's what happened, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua by Coaldale Officer Charles Andrew Blesse:

At about 2:19 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, Blesse was on duty and traveling east on SR209 when he saw a red Ford Ranger cross the double yellow lines into the westbound lane, then come back into the normal lane of travel, then cross the white fog line and then continued back and forth multiple times.

The truck then stopped in the middle of 209 and made a right-hand turn onto Fifth Street without using turn signals.

Blesse stopped the truck in the area of Fifth and West Early Avenue, using his emergency lights and siren. While looking for the information, the driver asked Blesse what the problem was and that she was on her way home. Blesse could smell a strong odor of alcohol and noticed that she had glossy, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. He identified her via birth date and name because she did not have a driver's license with her.

He asked her if she had been drinking, and she said yes, that she had had a few at a block party. Her husband, Joseph Terry, was in the truck with her and told Blesse several times they were on their way home.

Blesse asked Bankes to submit to filed sobriety tests,which she agreed to but failed. A portable breath test revealed the presence of alcohol.

Blesse arrested her for suspicion of DUI. Blesse then spoke with her husband, who told him several times to let her go and showed Blesse the business card of someone and said that person "would get his wife out of this."

Blesse explained to Terry what was going on, and that the card he had showed him did not matter. Blesse asked Terry if he had been drinking, too, and Terry said yes, that's why his wife was driving. Blesse advised Terry that he would not tow his truck because he was in a legal parking space and to walk home, to 151 Third St., because he was intoxicated.

Blesse took Bankes to the police station where her BAC warnings were read and understood. At about 2:59 a.m., her blood alcohol level was 0.14 percent.

As Blesse was dealing with Bankes, Terry, who had been gathering his things after agreeing to walk home, instead got behind the wheel.

Blesse arrived at the police station with Bankes, only to see the truck coming up, south on East Ruddle Street, toward the police station. The truck had no lights on, and made a quick left turn into Terry's driveway. Terry got out and walked up to the station.

Asked why he drove the truck home Terry said a friend drove it for him. Blesse asked him why he drove it without lights and Terry argued that he did have his lights on.

Blesse asked Officer Talanca to administer field sobriety tests on Terry, who failed them. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and read his warnings.Terry had a blood-alcohol content of 0.167 percent, according to a breath test given at the station.

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