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Albrightsville man owes big restitution bill in DUI case

Published June 29. 2011 05:02PM

An Albrightsville man owes a big restitution bill stemming from a driving under the influence (DUI) incident.

Christopher A. Nodzo, 48, appeared before Carbon County Judge Steven R. Serfass on Tuesday for sentencing on one count of DUI. He previously entered a guilty plea but sentencing was deferred due to a dispute over restitution.

Nodzo was involved in two crashes on July 18, 2010, along SR534 and SR903 in Kidder Township. Police were called to a reported accident at the Charles Getz property. While en route, police were told of a crash involving two vehicles at the intersection of SR903 and SR534.

Police said Nodzo's car left the road and crashed into a large apple tree on the Getz property. Getz is a member of the county's board of commissioners. Nodzo then continued on and became involved in a crash at the intersection with a vehicle operated by Cheryl Vassiliou, of Texas.

Prior to the sentencing Serfass conducted a restitution hearing. Testimony was given by Getz, who said the large tree was destroyed in the crash and it dated back more than 100 years.

A landscaper, Jeffrey Day, said the cost of removing the old tree and stump and replacing it with a new apple tree and all the work that goes with it would cost a total of $8,000. Vasiliou testified her vehicle was demolished in the crash and she was forced to purchase another vehicle so she could return to Texas and her employment. She said the insurance company paid off the loan on the car but she spent $3,000 to purchase a vehicle to return to Texas. She also said she had to pay a $495 deductible and two fishing poles in the car were broken. She valued them at $200.

Assistant District Attorney Jean A. Engler requested the court to award damages to Getz in the amount of $8,000 and to Vasiliou for $695, which includes the deductible and two fishing poles destroyed in the crash along with the $3,000 for the vehicle she had to purchase.

Defense Atty. Joseph V. Sebelin Jr. argued that Day's estimate of damages was not itemized only noting that his charges were $1,600 but the remaining $6,400 for the new tree installation was for a subcontractor and was not itemized. He also argued that Vasiliou's insurance company paid for the damages to her vehicle and if she was awarded the $3,000 for the new vehicle she purchased it would be "double dipping."

Serfass ruled that Nodzo was responsible for the full amount of damages on the Getz property and for $695 to Vasiliou.

Serfass then sentenced Nodzo on the DUI charge to serve 48 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $500, one year license suspension, get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, make the restitution ordered in the prior hearing, court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole. On a charge of accidents involving damage to property he was fined $300 and costs.

He begins the jail term at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 1.

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