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Nesquehoning woman faces DUI charges

Published September 20. 2010 05:03PM

Kelly Yerger, 38, 223 W. High St., Nesquehoning, faces charges from an incident which took place on Sept. 2, 2009 at 9:43 p.m. on the 700 block of E. Patterson Street, Lansford. Charges of three counts of driving under the influence, careless driving, and (failing to) drive on right side of roadway were filed by Officer Robert Shubeck.

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

Shubeck was dispatched for an erratic driver who was speeding up and then slowing down and reported to be all over the road on Route 209, heading into Lansford. Shubeck was traveling east in the 700 block of East Patterson street and saw the dark-colored pickup truck traveling west. The truck was driving over the yellow line as it passed his cruiser. Shubeck turned around and followed the truck. As it drove past the Miner's Pub, the Carbon County Communications Center radioed that the reported erratically-driven truck was passing the pub.

Shubeck realized it was the same vehicle. He saw the truck turn right onto Chestnut Street, then left onto Ridge Street, then stop.

The driver seemed to be parking right in the middle of the lane of travel, because other drivers had to go into the oncoming lane to get around the stopped truck. Shubeck pulled his cruiser up behind the truck.

He saw the female driver, who was the only occupant, learning over to the passenger side. as he approached, he could see a clear plastic bag of popcorn and a clear water glass filled with a light brown liquid and ice cubes, raising his suspicion that the driver was drinking and eating while driving.

He asked the driver for her license and registration. She didn't have them with her, but identified herself as Yerger and said she knew Shubeck.

Officer Joshua Tom arrived at the driver's window and observed the contact. Shubeck asked Yerger what she was doing, and she said she was eating popcorn. Shubeck told her he had received a complaint from another driver that she was driving all over the road. he asked if she had been drinking that night, and she said no. She told Shubeck, who had asked, that the liquid in the glass was iced tea.

Shubeck noticed that her speech was slurred and that she was very fidgety while she spoke with him. However, he could not detect the smell of alcohol.

Shubeck asked her to give Tom her information while he went back to the cruiser. When he returned, he found that Tom could not understand her because of her slurred speech. Shubeck asked Yerger to perform field sobriety tests. Tom told Shubeck he did not smell alcohol in the liquid in the water glass.

Yerger told Shubeck she has a disease which affects her muscular system. However, she does have normal brain function and cognitive abilities.

When tested, Yerger failed the field sobriety tests, demonstrating an extreme inability to follow simple instructions such as keeping her eyes wide open and stand with her right foot in front of her left instead of her left in front of her right. she failed despite several requests. It appeared that Yerger could not concentrate on the tasks. She could not even county out loud while looking at her feet. Yerger failed the field sobriety tests due to lack of coordination and balance.

Shun]beck arrested Yerger for DUI and told her he suspected not alcohol, but a controlled substance. Yerger then told him she had used cocaine at 3 p.m. that day.

He took her to St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, where a blood test showed the presence of cocaine and its metabolites.

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