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Fri., Aug. 28
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena man has DWI charge dismissed


MASSENA - A Massena man had a driving while intoxicated charge dismissed after a retired police officer failed to appear for a court hearing that would determine if village police had probable cause for the stop that led to his arrest.

Defense attorney Vaughn Aldrich’s motion for the dismissal of the driving while intoxicated charge against Andrew J. McDonald, 20, of 119 Hough Road, Massena, was granted by Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts acknowledged the probable cause hearing couldn’t move forward without testimony from the retired police officer.

“This is the third time he has been subpoenaed and failed to show. Based on that, the People move to dismiss in the interest of justice,” he told the court.

McDonald had been stopped by police 1:48 a.m. June 3 on Andrews Street when village police were investigating a report that a dark colored truck had struck a pole on Center Street at Cornell Avenue. McDonald reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent.

Ptl. Scott Rogers, in a supporting deposition included in court documents, said he was crossing the Main Street bridge when he heard squealing tires and observed a dark colored truck entering his lane of traffic. He said he pulled into the Spanky’s diner parking lot to turn around and noticed damage to the rear bumper and right rear quarter panel on the truck as it passed his location.

He said he made a traffic stop on Andrews Street near the AmVet’s post.

“The driver jumped out of the vehicle and started to leave. I yelled for him to get back in the vehicle,” Ptl. Rogers said in his report.

McDonald said he was walking on the sidewalk and felt threatened when officers approached him and ordered him to get into his vehicle. He argued police had not seen him operating his vehicle and said he felt threatened and physically intimidated when an officer ordered him to get into his vehicle and then charged him with driving while intoxicated.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Teh-Kara-Kwons (Winston) Francis, 21, of 175 East Orvis St., Massena, had his sentencing for a fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon conviction adjourned until March 26 to allow him to complete an in-patient treatment program.

He had admitted he was in possession of a police-style collapsible baton when officers were investigating a domestic incident at 11:19 a.m. Feb. 19.

Francis has been arrested on assault and other charges in the town of Bombay since pleading guilty to the criminal possession of a weapon count in Massena Village Court.

Mr. Gustafson agreed to adjourn sentencing, but he cautioned Francis things wouldn’t go well for him if he accumulates any new charges before he returns to the Massena courtroom for sentencing.

“If he successfully completes in-patient, sentencing will be considerably better than what I am thinking right now,” he noted.

■ John E. Scott, 38, of 10 Woodlawn Ave., Massena, was fined $25 for an open container violation. He had been charged with possessing a partially consumed open bottle of Budweiser beer at 10:14 p.m. Oct. 5 on the Andrews Street sidewalk.

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