Coaldale man beats DUI count when technician fails to appear at hearing
Failure of a technician from Saint Luke's Miners Hospital in Coaldale to appear at a hearing in Schuylkill County court saved a Coaldale motorist from being found guilty of a driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol charge.
Roy Albert Penberth, 41, of 211 Fourth St., Coaldale, however, was adjudged guilty by Judge Cyrus Palmer Dollbin after a non-jury trial of summary charges of failing to drive at a safe speed, for which he was fined $25 plus $50 costs; and four counts of failure to activate a turning signal when required, for which he was fined $100 plus $200 costs.
However, on a charge of DUI he was acquitted because the Commonwealth could not produce the results of a blood-alcohol test administered at the Coaldale Hospital.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Matta told the court that the technician, for whom a subpoena was issued ordering him to appear, failed to show up at the non-jury trail. Dolbin told Penberth had the technician testified he would have been convicted of the DUI charge.
The testimony of two Coaldale police officers, who made the arrest, were presented which convicted Penberth of the summary charges. Patrolman Scott Cramer and Patrolman Joseph Krebs testified while they were patrolling the borough they came upon Penberth driving on Second Street around 12:30 a. m. on Oct. 2, 2011, and noted he was traveling at a speed of around 40 miles, which exceeded the speed limit of the borough streets set at 25 miles per hour.
They began to pursue his vehicle for several blocks in which he failed to activate turning signals as he turned on various streets. They finally caught up to him when stopped by his home on Fourth Street.
Both officers testified when they spoke to Penberth his speech was slurred, his eyes blood shot and he staggered.
Krebs asked him to perform a field sobriety test and he refused. He was taken into custody and transported to the borough hall where Cramer tried to perform a breathalyzer test but testified Penberth didn't cooperate. He was taken to the Coaldale hospital where the blood-alcohol test was performed.
Cramer said he saw the written results which showed a blood alcohol count of 0.3 percent but this was not admitted into evidence.
Penberth testified in his own behalf and denied he was under influence to prevent him from driving safely. He testified he stopped at The Zoo Tavern, Lansford, and drank three beers, 12 ounces each, and then drove home. He said he worked all day and was tired.
His counsel, attorney Andrew B. Zelonis, made a motion for acquittal which was granted only for the DUI charges and not the summary charges.