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Lansford man faces DUI charges

Published September 20. 2010 05:01PM

Michael Wetzel, 47, 229 E. Abbott St., Lansford, faces charges of two counts of driving under the influence, careless driving, and (failing to) drive on right side of roadway stemming from an incident which took place at 2:45 a.m. on Aug. 8 on W. Patterson Street. Charges were filed by Det. Sgt Jack Soberick.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what allegedly happened:

Soberick was on duty that day and, at about 2:43 a.m., saw a small pickup truck being driven in an erratic manner while traveling east on Patterson Street. The vehicle was first seen in the 400 block of West Patterson Street, and appeared to be straddling the double yellow center line. By the time he was able to turn around to follow the vehicle, it was now in the unit block of East Patterson Street, and Soberick could see the truck swerving back and forth into the oncoming lane.

While closing the distance in order to stop the truck, Soberick saw the truck enter and remain completely in the oncoming lane, with the passenger side of the truck on the double yellow line and the oncoming lane basically block due to the driver's actions. This occurred while the truck was traveling the 100 and 200 blocks of east Patterson. At the next intersection, Patterson and Chestnut, the truck stopped for a signal, then turned right. He stopped it at the intersection of Chestnut and East Bertsch streets.

As he approached the driver's side of the truck, he could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the passenger compartment. he spoke with the white male driver, who showed him a drivers license identifying him as Wetzel. While speaking with Wetzel, Soberick smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Wetzel. Wetzel's speech was slurred and he spoke with a thick tongue.

Soberick asked Wetzel to get out of the truck and step to the curb for field sobriety tests. While walking behind Soberick, Wetzel stumbled and fell on the officer, nearly causing him to fall. Lansford officer Robert Shubeck administered the sobriety tests, with Soberick observing.

He saw that Wetzel was swaying noticeably, nearly falling several times. Wetzel failed all the tests and arrested. His blood alcohol level was 0.28 percent. The threshold for drunken driving is 0.08 percent.

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