Lehighton man gets more than mandatory minimum for DUI
A Lehighton man was sentenced to a county prison term that was more than the mandatory minimun required the state's drunk driving law after entering guilty pleas in four pending cases on Monday in Carbon County court. He was one of several defendants to enter a guilty plea before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.
Randy Whiteman Jr., 31, entered guilty pleas to two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) and possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of a small amount of marijuana and resisting arrest. The charges were part of four pending cases against Whiteman.
During the guilty pleas proceeding Whiteman admitted to a drug abuse problem.
Nanovic sentenced Whiteman to a total term of 33 days to one year in prison followed by three years of probation. Whiteman was also ordered to pay total fines of $2,800 and ordered to make restitution of $941 for damage to a Lehighton police cruiser. He was also ordered to get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, and zero tolerance imposed on D&A use.
Under mandatory provisions of the state drunk driving law for the first count of DUI Whiteman faced 48 hours in jail to six months and on a second count 72 hours to six months. Nanovic imposed a minimum term of 30 days on the first count. He ran both DUI sentences consecutive to each other.
Nanovic rejected the request for the mandatory minimum stating he was concerned that Whiteman had an obvious drug abuse problem that was determined in July and August of 2010, when some of the incidents occurred and the defendant waited until about a month ago to seek help.
Whiteman was arrested on July 30, 2010, in the area of Lower Nis Hollow Road in Mahoning Township where police responded to a report of a disturbance. He was found to have heroin on him at the time. In that case he pleaded to one count each of possession of paraphernalia and resisting arrest with a possession count dropped.
He was arrested on Dec. 24, 2010, for DUI along SR895 in East Penn Township. A test revealed a .14BAC. In that case he pleaded to one count each of DUI and a summary motor vehicle code violation.
He was arrested for DUI on March 14, in Mahoning Township, after police responded to an accident along SR443. He also pleaded to a summary offense.
He as arrested on June 10 by Lehighton police for possession and related counts in the area of 191 S. First St.
On the DUI counts fines of $1,000 were imposed on each plus one year license suspensions on each count. On the resisting charge he was fined $500 and one summary count $300.
He will begin the jail term at 9 a.m. on Aug. 15.
Other defendants who entered guilty pleas included:
Barry Dean Weaver, 59, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on Aug. 14, 2010, along Ochre St., in Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .22BAC.
He was sentenced to serve 10 days to six months in jail, a fine of $750 and one year license suspension. He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation. The 10 days is double the minimum required under the law but Nanovic said he was going above the mandatory minimum because Weaver had a prior DUI in 2009 and another in 1996. He felt the defendant has not addressed his alcohol problem.
He will begin the jail term at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, and serve it on consecutive weekends.
Robin C. Zurawa, 42, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on June 9, 2009, after being involved in a crash along Center St., in Jim Thorpe. Given a test, the result was .14BAC.
He was placed on probation for six months and ordered to pay a fine of $300 and get a D&A evaluation. As a first time offender Zurawa was placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabiliation Disposition (ARD) probation program but was revoked for not completing all conditions.
Edwin Mertz, 51, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of disorderly conduct, as a summary offense. He was arrested on Dec. 4, 2010, by Lehighton police for an incident at Diggity Dogs, 116 S. First St. He purchased food but did not pay for it. A theft charge was dropped and the criminal complaint was amended to add the conduct charge.
Nanovic imposed a fine of $100.
Each defendant must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.