Man held for trial on fourth DUI charge
The Derrick, 7/18/02 By LISA THOMPSON
special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing this story to be posted
ONE OF SCOTT MYERS' PREVIOUS DUI ARRESTS RESULTED IN A GUILTY PLEA IN CONNECTION WITH A 1997 CRASH THAT KILLED A WOMAN
An Oil City man paroled from state prison less than a year ago for killing a local woman in a DUI-related crash returned to Venango County court Wednesday, both arms in bandages, to face a fourth round of DUI charges.
Scott L. Myers, 44, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to causing the death of 68-year-old Eileen Gabreski in a DUI-related accident on Route 62, was ordered held for trial Wednesday on new charges stemming from an accident May 12 on Tarklin Road in Cranberry Township. The accident left Myers seriously injured and unable to use one arm.
In the preliminary hearing before District Justice Robert Boyer, Trooper Robert Burneisen testified he found Myers at the rainy accident scene lying on the road, apparently thrown from a pickup that had sheared a utility pole and spun off the road. Three unopened beer cans and seven empties lay scattered inside the truck.
When ambulance workers picked Myers up to place him on the gurney, they found a baggie of marijuana beneath him on the road, the trooper said.
Myers, with bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of
alcohol on his breath, told him he was driving the truck with no passengers in
the vehicle, Burneisen said. Myers admitted he had had a few beers at his
brother's house earlier. But he said the marijuana wasn't his, Burneisen said.
"He said he didn't know where it came from," Burneisen said.
Before the interview was over, Myers nodded off to sleep and began to snore, Burneisen said. A blood test later revealed his blood alcohol content to be .23 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .10 percent.
Based on Burneisen's testimony, Boyer ordered Myers held for trial on charges of DUI, marijuana possession, driving under DUI-related suspension and several summary traffic violations.
Public defender John C. Lackatos is defending him.
If Myers is convicted, it will represent his fourth overall DUI conviction, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Burke told the court, arguing for specialized bail conditions.
"I think we need a high bail. I think the defendant killed somebody driving drunk before and gosh darn it, it is not going to happen again," he said.
In a November 1997 hearing, Myers admitted he was drunk when he swerved his pickup truck into the oncoming lane of traffic Aug. 2 on Route 62 near Oil City. His truck crashed head-on into a car driven by Paul Gabreski of Grandview Road, Oil City.
Paul Gabreski escaped the accident with a broken kneecap and a cracked rib, but next to him in the passenger's seat his mother, Eileen Gabreski, was killed instantly by multiple skull fractures.
At the time of that crash, Myers was on parole
for a July 1997 conviction for DUI, and he was out on bail awaiting disposition
of charges stemming from a June 9, 1997, DUI arrest.
Police said tests taken after the accident revealed Myers had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28. The scene of the accident was likewise littered with empty beer cans, with one was sitting open on the dash of Myers' truck, according to police.
He was sentenced in December 1997 to serve four to 10 years in state prison and was paroled in September after serving his minimum sentence.
Following the May crash, Myers remained in the hospital about a month, he told Boyer Wednesday.
Upon his release from the hospital in June, the state parole board ordered him held on a parole detainer, but agreed to place him on house arrest because of his ongoing need for medical treatment.
Boyer on Wednesday agreed to continue Myers' house arrest pending trial, saying he would order that an alcohol monitor be installed at the house, so Myers could randomly be tested.
But he issued a stern warning to the defendant,
telling him not to violate his house arrest.
"Mr. Myers I'm familiar with your past...you were involved in an accident in which somebody lost their life and you're on parole for that offense and one of the conditions was not to drink alcohol...you violated it and committed a criminal offense," he said.
"Amazingly, nobody else got hurt," he said.
"If you violate, you'll be in jail," Boyer added.