‘Got away with one’: Judge dismisses DUI charges for Greensburg woman’s driveway crash
A Westmoreland County judge on Thursday dismissed drunken driving charges against a Greensburg woman who was arrested in her own driveway following a collision with a neighbor’s car.
Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani ruled in favor of Mary Britz, 58, who Greensburg police charged after she crashed into a car in June as she attempted to back out of her Painter Avenue driveway. Her vehicle never reached the street.
Defense attorney Patricia Elliott-Rentler argued that DUI charges can only be filed when a motorist operates a vehicle on public roadways.
According to court records, police were called after reports of a crash. Authorities said Britz was identified as the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash and appeared to be intoxicated. An empty 40-ounce beer can was found in her vehicle, and she failed field sobriety tests, police said.
A breath test revealed that her blood-alcohol level was 0.228 percent, or nearly four times the limit a motorist in Pennsylvania is considered by law to be intoxicated.
The judge noted that while he agreed the criminal charge should be dismissed against Britz, he said he did so only because the law barred prosecution.
“I don’t want to say you got away with one, but the circumstances warrant it,” Feliciani said.
He also praised police for intervening to ensure a drunk driver was not out on the roads.
“The officer here was doing his job. This (ruling) isn’t a comment about the Greensburg police department for working to protect us. They were doing their job,” the judge said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]