Police: 5 hurt in head-on crash after unlicensed drunken driver circumvents interlock device
Five people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in Baiting Hollow when their vehicle was struck head-on by an unlicensed drunken driver who had circumvented an interlock device and was in possession of a loaded handgun, police said.
The crash occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday on Sound Avenue, east of Twomey Avenue, when a 2007 Toyota driven by Margarito Romero Quinteros, 53, of Riverhead, crossed over the double yellow line, striking the westbound vehicle, Town of Riverhead police said.
The five people in the vehicle struck were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for treatment. The nature of their injuries was not disclosed.
Authorities said Quinteros had a blood alcohol content of 0.18%, or more than twice the legal limit.
He smelled of alcohol, had glassy bloodshot eyes and was unsteady on his feet after the crash, according to court records.
"I was on my way home," Quinteros reportedly told police at the scene, according to charging documents. " … I had a few."
Quinteros was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, circumventing an ignition interlock device, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He was arraigned Monday in Riverhead Town Justice Court where Judge Lori Hulse set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
Daniel G. Rodgers, a defense attorney for Quinteros, said the vehicle did not belong to his client. Quinteros also denied knowledge of the gun, Rodgers said.
"These are only allegations," Rodgers said. "He’s pleaded not guilty. As far as any possession of weapons he’s not the owner of the vehicle and we intend to defend his innocence."
Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said Quinteros was supposed to use an ignition interlock device, which requires motorists to pass breath-alcohol testing before their vehicle can start. But Hegermiller said the Toyota Quinteros was driving did not have such a device.
Quinteros has a previous DWI conviction from 2012, according to court records.
He is due back in court Friday.
With Cecilia Dowd