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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • School director to plead guilty to DUI

  • Western Wayne School Director A.J. Gaudenzi will plead guilty to a single count of DUI in connection with a one-car crash on Jan. 22.
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     - Western Wayne School Director A.J. Gaudenzi will plead guilty to a single count of DUI in connection with a one-car crash on Jan. 22.
    "Gaudenzi waived his preliminary hearing and agreed to (plead) to one count of DUI and all summary violations at a later date," said a news release from the arresting officer, Trooper Chad L. Cunningham.
    Gaudenzi had a blood-alcohol content of 0.246 percent when he crashed in Waymart.
    He will plead guilty to an unclassified misdemeanor of DUI and the summary offenses, which carries a minimum sentence of five days in jail, or of house arrest, said his lawyer Bernard Brown.
    The maximum sentence on the charge is six months in jail, Brown said.
    Gaudenzi had been charged at the highest rate of DUI due to his blood-alcohol content being three times the legal limit, but that charge will be dismissed when the plea is officially entered.
    Had he been sentenced on the highest level charge, he would have faced a minimum of 90 days in jail to a maximum of five years.
    It was unclear when he will enter the plea.
    Gaudenzi also will continue to be an "active member" of the school board, Brown said.
    A preliminary hearing for the school director was scheduled to take place Tuesday morning before District Judge Ted Mikulak in Honesdale.
    Gaudenzi, 27, of Waymart, waived his right to have the hearing, meaning all counts would be forwarded to county court, said Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards.
    State police issued the news release later in the morning, saying Gaudenzi would plead guilty.
    Edwards said DUI convictions carry a mandatory jail sentence and mandatory license suspension.
    Page 2 of 2 - State police said Gaudenzi had a blood-alcohol content of 0.246 percent - about three times the legal limit - when he crashed a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier into a deactivated fire hydrant at 1 a.m. Jan. 22 on Gravity Plains Road in Waymart.
    The force of the collision caused piping to be ripped from the ground.
    Gaudenzi left the scene, police stated. The car was found, with front-end damage, in a nearby driveway.
    Gaudenzi was in the residence and admitted to the crash, police said.
    The school director, who is a former Waymart Borough Council member, was charged with counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, driving on roadways not laned for traffic, careless driving, trespass by motor vehicle and accidents involving damage to an unattended vehicle or property.
    Gaudenzi has previously said he does not plan to resign from the school board.
    Western Wayne School District Superintendent Clay LaCoe said the school board would have to make the decision to ask for a resignation.
    The board president could not be reached Tuesday.
    Gaudenzi has had previous problems with the law.
    He was sentenced to a minimum of 72 hours in Wayne County Prison in connection with a 2009 DUI incident on Belmont Street in Waymart.
     

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