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Felony Charge Filed Against Man Accused of Leaving Six-Mile Gouge in Interstate 80 While Driving Drunk

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

police - new 6/17/2019CLARION TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Felony criminal mischief and other charges have been filed against a man accused of damaging six miles of Interstate 80 while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Court documents indicate the Clarion-based State Police filed criminal charges against 51-year-old Edward Howard Hess, of Lebanon, Pa., on Monday, August 23.

According to a criminal complaint, around 8:36 a.m. on Saturday, August 21, Clarion-based State Police were dispatched to I-80 westbound near mile-marker 63 for a report of a disabled vehicle and a man on the shoulder outside the vehicle “acting erratic.”

At the scene, police found a gray 2007 Ford pulled onto the right shoulder without its emergency flashers activated. Contact was made with the driver, later identified as Edward Hess.

According to the complaint, the troopers immediately detected signs of impairment from Hess. He was unable to find his driver’s license or registration card. Police also detected an odor of alcohol on Hess’s breath and noted he was slurring his speech and was lethargic.

When questioned, Hess admitted to consuming alcohol earlier in the day and agreed to undergo field sobriety testing. He reportedly showed indicators of intoxication during the test and a later Breathalyzer test also confirmed the presence of alcohol, according to the complaint.

The troopers then observed Hess’s vehicle was missing its front left tire and the wheel had left a gouge in the road’s surface on the interstate. The gouge mark was later tracked back to approximately the 70-mile marker. It was found that Hess intentionally continued to drive on the rim of the wheel, gouging the surface of the road, for approximately six miles, the complaint indicates.

Police also found an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the vehicle along with an empty can of the same beverage in the grass near the vehicle, the complaint states.

Hess was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday, August 21, on the following charges:

– Criminal Mischief – Damage Property, Felony 3
– DUI: General Impairment/Incapable of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Restrictions on Alcoholic Beverages, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Violate Hazard Regulation, Summary
– Improper Tires, Summary
– Fail To Carry License, Summary
– Fail To Carry Registration, Summary
– Depositing Waste On Highway, Summary

He remains free on $2,500.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on September 7 with Judge Quinn presiding.

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