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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 14,312
Jury rejects drunken driver's crack defense
    #4015461 - 04/05/05 02:12 AM (16 years, 1 month ago)

Jury rejects drunken driver's crack defense
April 5, 2005

A Town of Poughkeepsie man who tried to blame his drunken driving on his crack dealer was convicted Monday of driving while intoxicated.

A jury found 36-year-old Christopher Eramo guilty of DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation, both felonies. The eight-man, four-woman panel deliberated for about 10 hours, starting Thursday, before reaching a verdict Monday morning.

Dutchess County Court Judge Gerald V. Hayes, who presided at the four-day trial, set May 6 for sentencing.

The DWI charge carries a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison. The charge is a felony because Eramo was convicted of a DWI charge within 10 years.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Kevin Irwin, who prosecuted the case, said he would ask Hayes to impose the maximum sentence.

Eramo was arrested by state police March 20 following a pursuit in the Town of Poughkeepsie that began on Vassar Road and ended in Eramo's driveway at a house on Claudia Lane.

Court documents say Eramo had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, about 50 percent above the legal limit, when he was arrested.

Eramo testified he had loaned the car to an acquaintance -- a man who often sold him crack cocaine, he said -- the night of the incident, and the man apparently left the car in his driveway and fled following the chase.

Eramo said he got into the car to turn off its headlights when police arrived. He said he had been drinking and smoking crack inside his home for much of the day but said he had not driven the car.

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