Former Wilkes-Barre Area teacher charged with DUI

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Hampel -

HARVEYS LAKE — A former Wilkes-Barre Area teacher was accused of drunken driving last weekend, his fifth similar charge since 2002, court records say.

Harveys Lake police said Brian Hampel, 47, of Sweet Valley, was stopped when he failed to obey a stop sign at Old Lake Road and Lakeside Drive just after 1 a.m. Feb. 4. Police allege Hampel displayed signs of intoxication and had an odor of alcohol on his breath.

When Hampel was asked if he consumed alcohol, he simply raised his arms in the air, according to a criminal complaint.

Hampel was given a portable breath test that returned a result of .246 percent, court records show. The legal driving limit is .08.

Hampel was told he was being detained due to his intoxicated state and was transported to the Luzerne County DUI Processing Center in Wilkes-Barre. While in the cruiser’s rear seat, police said Hampel “passed out” and officers had to shake him several times to wake him.

Hampel refused to submit to a breath test at the DUI center, records state.

Police filed two DUI counts and three summary traffic citations against Hampel with District Judge Brian Tupper in Kingston Township.

Court records say Hampel was sentenced in June 2005 to 23 months in the Intermediate Punishment Program for drunken driving offenses in Jackson Township on Jan. 19, 2004, Dallas on Oct. 14, 2004, and again in Dallas on Dec. 31, 2004. Hampel was allowed to enter the ARD probation program for his first DUI offense in Dallas Township on Oct. 1, 2002, according to records.

Hampel, a shop teacher at Coughlin High School for 18 years, was fired in 2016 when he was accused of sexual misconduct with a female student. He was charged with corruption of minors, but the case was dismissed by Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough in May 2017. Hampel’s attorney, Al Flora, argued there was lack of evidence and failure by prosecutors to bring about the charge within the statute of limitations.

Prosecutors did not oppose the dismissal of the charge.

Hampel filed a labor grievance over his termination.

The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board in November agreed to a settlement giving Hampel one year’s salary, which was $84,000, in exchange for dropping further legal action against the school district.

Hampel has filed a federal lawsuit alleging malicious prosecution against the county district attorney’s office.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]