DUIs Damper Start to Holiday Season

A New Paltz resident was arrested in early November after being found passed out behind the wheel of his parked car with his 11-month-old child in the back seat. 

On Nov. 11, Eric Deniz was arrested at midnight on Tillson Ave in Lloyd, New York, according to the Lloyd Police Department (LPD) Facebook page. Officers from the LPD discovered Deniz  inside the running vehicle and his child in the back seat without proper child restraints. The child was put in custody of Ulster County Child Protective Services. 

Following his arrest, Deniz was charged with three felonies including: driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while impaired by drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree. Additionally he was accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a hypodermic needle, unlawful possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child.  

Deniz was brought before the Town of Lloyd Justice Court and sent to Ulster County Jail. He was held on $15,000 cash bail and $30,000 insurance bond, while he awaited his reappearance to the Lloyd courthouse on Nov. 14. 

When a person’s blood alcohol content exceeds .08, they are legally incapable of operating a vehicle. Impaired drivers run the risk of severely injuring or killing themselves and others sharing the road. The Center for Disease Control cites 3,752 fatal car crashes, from 2003 to 2012, involving a driver who exceeded the legal limit. 

These dangers are heightened during holidays, where extensive travel and festivities occur more frequently. As fall festivities continued, with Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, Ulster County has continued to deal with DUIs. 

According to arrest reports compiled by the Daily Freeman, there have been a total of 14 DWI arrests made in the Mid-Hudson Valley area between Nov. 11 and 26. Four of these arrests were made on New Paltz residents: 

– Sean B. Klein, 19, was arrested by the New Paltz Police Department at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. He was pulled over on North Chestnut Street in the Village of New Paltz, and failed his sobriety tests. Klein then fled from officers and resisted arrest, resulting in an injury of the arresting officer (whose name was unidentified). The New Paltz Court sent Klein to Ulster County Jail on $25,000 bail and returned to the court on Nov. 19. 

– Brian D. Silverstein, 25, was arrested by Ulster County Sheriff’s Department at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. He was pulled-over on Route 299 and charged with two misdemeanors: driving with a blood-alcohol level was at or exceeding 0.08 percent, drunk driving and with vehicle and traffic violations. Silverstein was then released and issued tickets from the Gardiner Town Court.

– Victor Ortiz, 42, was arrested by Ulster County Sheriff’s deputies at approximately 3:05 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22. He was apprehended on North Front Street in the Village of New Paltz after allegedly failing to use a turn signal. Ortiz was determined to be intoxicated and charged with misdemeanor drunk driving and a traffic infraction. He was released with a ticket from the New Paltz Court.

– Karen L. Krom, 66, was arrested by state police at Ulster at 9:09 p.m on Sunday, Nov. 25. She was arrested on State Route 32 and charged with a misdemeanor for drunk driving. Krom was released with a ticket from the Esopus Town Court.

According to the Ulster County “Stop DUI” page, New York State (NYS) adopted Leandra’s Law in August of 2015, effectively establishing the toughest DUI laws in country. The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website lists the penalties for various alcohol and drug-related driving violations. A first time offender for Aggravated DWI includes a mandatory $1,000 to $2,500 fine, a maximum jail sentence of one year and mandatory license revocation for at least one year. However multiple  DWIs could result in up to seven years behind bars, up to $10,000 in fines and the loss of  a driving license for at least 18 months.  

The results of each residents’ trials were unable to be obtained in time for print.