ASHLEY — A Hazleton man was legally intoxicated in a head-on crash with a police cruiser that injured two borough officers earlier this year, according to charges.
Hanover Township police allege Josue Valdez, 28, of Grant Street, had a blood-alcohol level of .128 percent when his vehicle became airborne while traveling over the Ashley Plane Bridge on North Main Street. The car veered into oncoming traffic, colliding with an unmarked Ashley police cruiser April 8.
Ptlm. Joshua Smith and Sgt. Joseph McGlynn were injured in the crash. They were treated and released from Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Hanover Township officers investigated the crash at the request of Ashley Police Chief David Fedorczyk.
According to the criminal complaint:
Smith, operating the cruiser, and McGlynn, a passenger, were traveling north on North Main Street when they spotted a 2008 Honda traveling south at a high rate of speed.
Valdez was driving the Honda.
Smith claimed Valdez’s vehicle crested the hill to the bridge and became airborne before landing behind a parked vehicle. Valdez quickly swerved to avoid the parked vehicle but instead drove into on-coming traffic and collided with the cruiser.
Smith attempted to avoid a collision but Valdez’s vehicle struck the cruiser head-on.
An officer from Sugar Notch arrived on scene and detected an odor of alcohol emitting from Valdez, who denied consuming alcohol.
Valdez claimed he was with friends at a tavern but refused to say what bar.
Police recovered a bottle of Johnnie Walker “Gold Label” whiskey that was nearly empty. It was stuffed between the seats inside Valdez’s vehicle.
Valdez failed a series of field of sobriety tests.
He complained of chest pain and was treated at Wilkes-Barre General where he submitted to a blood test.
Valdez was arraigned Sunday by District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Plains Township on two counts of driving under the influence, and one count each of driving with a suspended license, restrictions on alcoholic beverages and two traffic citations. He was released on $5,000 unsecured bail.