A Franklin Square man was arrested Sunday on drunken driving charges after he crashed into a Nassau County police car and his arrest came just one day after a West Hempstead man was charged in a separate DWI crash that also involved a police vehicle, Nassau County police said.
Jose Martinez, 22, was released without bail after his arraignment Sept. 23 on reckless endangerment, unlicensed driving and drug charges. He declined to comment as he left the courthouse sobbing on his grandmother’s shoulder.
Court documents tell the frightening story of how Martinez crashed into the back of a Fourth Precinct patrol vehicle that was parked along the shoulder of Hempstead Turnpike with a prisoner in the backseat. Police had stopped the man in custody, 40-year-old Harold Forrest of the Bronx, at 4:10 a.m. along Hempstead Turnpike near Euston Road for driving his car without functioning headlights. A computer check revealed that his driver’s license was suspended and Forrest was arrested.
The cruiser was parked in the right shoulder of the roadway with the overhead emergency lights activated. Police said Martinez was driving in the right lane when his 2001 Hyundai Sonata veered off the roadway and into the police car. Both Forrest and the officer suffered minor injuries. Martinez was not hurt.
After the crash, Martinez allegedly had “glassy, red bloodshot eyes” and slurred speech with alcohol detected on his breath, a police officer’s statement said. Martinez is quoted in court documents as saying “I can’t believe this happened. I was on my way home from a friend’s house. I only had one whisky drink, ok I will be honest, I had no more than two drinks. I can’t believe I hit a police car.”
Authorities said Martinez failed a field sobriety test and submitted to a portable breath test at the scene, which yielded a reading of .25 percent -- more than three times the legal limit.
Inside Martinez’s Hyundai, officers found two bags of a substance believed to be marijuana, along with a dark glass bong, glass pipe and metal grinder, which contained the same substance, police said.
At Nassau Police headquarters, where Martinez submitted to a second breath analysis and a urine sample, he allegedly told police that he started drinking at 5 p.m. on Saturday. He also allegedly told an officer that he “once in a while uses marijuana, but not tonight.”
Court documents also illustrate changes in Martinez’s statements to police about how much alcohol he consumed. He allegedly told a police sergeant that he had one “Fishbowl,” which he described as having five different types of rum. He later admitted to an officer that he consumed half-a-pint of whiskey. “I stopped at 1 o’clock and tried to sober up. I tried to sober up at my friend’s house from work.”
Martinez was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of driving while intoxicated, aggravated DWI, unlawful possession of marijuana and numerous Vehicle and Traffic Law violations. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Oct. 29.