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Man earns year in jail for DUI, other counts

Published September 21. 2011 05:01PM

A Carbon County man was sentenced to a year in jail on Tuesday for driving under the influence (DUI) and other counts.

Joseph Thomas Ruzicka, 44, of Lehighton, was sentenced by Senior Judge Richard W. Webb to one to five years in the county prison. Ruzicka was arrested on April 9 by state police at Lehighton along Cherryhill Road, in Franklin Township. Given a test, the result was .21BAC. He had also pleaded to one count each of recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child.

Troopers said Ruzicka was attempting to make a right turn from SR209 onto Cherryhill Road at a speed that was greater than reasonable. His vehicle crossed the road and struck a vehicle driven by Ralph Wentz, 81, of Lehighton, head-on.

Ruzicka had a passenger, Tyler J. Ruzicka, 2, of Lehighton, and Wentz had a passenger, William Fillingham, 86, of Lehighton. No one was reported injured. Troopers said Ruzicka was found to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Ruzicka has several prior DUI's which led to the mandatory long prison term.

On the charge of recklessly endangering, Webb imposed a nine to 23 month prison term concurrent to the DUI charge. He was placed on probation for a year on the child endangering charge, consecutive to the prison term.

Webb also ordered Ruzicka to pay a fine of $2,500, license suspended for 18 months, get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, and zero tolerance imposed on D&A use with random testing. He must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole and probation.

He was given credit for 35 days spent in jail on the charges.

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