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DUI charges filed against Lansford man

Published February 15. 2012 05:01PM

Timothy Kurchak, 28, of 400 W. Bertsch St., Lansford, faces charges from an incident which took place at 12:30 a.m. June 26, 2011, on Springgarden Street in the borough. Charges of driving under the influence (two counts) and careless driving were filed by Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick.

According to an affidavit of probable cause:

Soberick was on patrol when he saw a Jeep being operated in a careless manner while going south on Springgarden approaching the Patterson Street intersection. As the vehicle came to a stop, the driver swerved, striking the curb line and then briefly drove up onto the curb before swerving back onto the roadway.

The actions prompted Soberick to turn around and follow the vehicle in order to determine whether the driver was having difficulty controlling it.

The Jeep continued south on Springgarden and turned west onto Ridge.

When Soberick began following it, the Jeep sped up and began swerving across both lanes and was traveling in the area marked for angle parking on the south side of Ridge. It nearly hit two parked cars, turning away at the last moment.

Soberick activated his emergency light and siren and tried to close distance on the Jeep, however, it continued going at a high rate of speed, still traveling across both lanes. At the Cortright intersection, the driver slammed on the brakes at a stop sign and finally stopped.

When Soberick approached the driver's side window, he could smell a strong odor of alcohol. He smelled alcohol on the driver's breath while speaking with him. The driver, identified as Kurchak, was slurring his speech and was difficult to understand at times.

He asked Kurchak to exit the Jeep for field sobriety tests. Kurchak had poor balance and swayed as he walked toward the rear of the Jeep. Kurchak was unable to perform the tests, although they were explained and he told Soberick he understood the explanations.

Soberick arrested Kurchak and took him to St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, for blood alcohol tests. His blood alcohol level was 0.29 percent, according to the tests. The threshold for drunken driving is 0.08 percent, according to law.

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