Drunken driver led cops on wrong-way chase, cops say
A drunken driver led police on a 6.5-mile, wrong-way chase through Northampton and East Moriches early Saturday, forcing other motorists off the road, Southampton Town police said.
Jennifer R. Paterno, 31, of Patchogue, was behind the wheel of an Audi convertible when officers spotted the car traveling south in the northbound lanes on County Road 51 near Old Moriches Road “at a high rate of speed,” police said.
The officers turned around and drove in the southbound lanes parallel to the convertible, attempting to stop Paterno while reaching speeds topping 70 mph, according to police.
Police said Paterno, the lone occupant in the car, forced some motorists to leave the roadway to avoid a head-on collision.
When she approached the intersection of County Road 51 and County Road 111, Paterno narrowly missed hitting a full-size charter bus attempting to make a left turn, police said.
After a series of U-turns, Paterno exited onto the Sunrise Highway westbound ramp, where police said she again accelerated “to a high rate of speed” while being pursued.
After about a mile on Sunrise Highway, she was pulled over at 12:47 a.m. in East Moriches, police said. She was arrested without a struggle.
Paterno, who also has an address in Bloomfield, New Jersey, was charged with driving while intoxicated, second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer and reckless driving.
Bail was set at $2,500 at her arraignment Saturday in Southampton Town Justice Court.