The driver of a loaded gasoline tanker truck was "asleep at the wheel" early Friday on the side of Sunrise Highway in Bohemia and arrested on a charge of drunken driving, Suffolk County police said.
Henadz Nazarchuk, 35, of Brooklyn, refused three times to take a breath-alcohol test, said Bob Clifford, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.
His only statement to police was "there's 12,000 gallons of gas in the truck," authorities said, but paperwork showed actually 9,200 gallons in the 18-wheel tractor trailer.
Nazarchuk pleaded not guilty at arraignment Friday to driving while intoxicated. His bail was set at $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash.
Online court records show he also was charged with two infractions, refusing to take a breath-alcohol test and drinking alcohol in a vehicle on the highway.
His attorney, Channing Kury of Commack, said he was hired to represent Nazarchuk after the arraignment and he declined to comment because he had not reviewed the case. Nazarchuk's arraignment attorney could not immediately be reached Friday.
Prosecutors said Crown Petroleum Transportation, which has offices in Woodmere and Lawrence, hired him two weeks ago as a driver. Officials at Crown could not be immediately reached Friday.
His licenses allow him to drive school buses and hazardous material as well as drive commercial vehicles across state lines, prosecutors said.
Nazarchuk, a citizen of Belarus in Eastern Europe, was spotted shortly after 2:30 a.m. Friday by highway patrol officers Jonathan Abrams, Richard Gandolfo and Robert Mudzinski. The engine of his truck was running and the vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of eastbound Sunrise between Exits 48 and 49, police said.
Officers noted his bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong scent of an alcoholic beverage, Clifford said.
In field sobriety tests, Nazarchuk was unsteady on his feet, Clifford said, and he told the officers that he was taking the fuel to a Southampton gas station.
Nazarchuk had been sentenced November 2013 in Staten Island on driving while ability impaired, prosecutors said. He was ordered into an alcohol counseling program, pay a $500 fine and had his license suspended for 90 days.
With John Valenti