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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • School director gets jail sentence

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  • HONESDALE - Western Wayne School Board member A.J. Gaudenzi was sentenced Thursday to 30 days to six months in Wayne County prison for DUI.
    The 28-year-old from Waymart was sentenced in connection with a hit-and-run crash Jan. 22.
    Gaudenzi had a blood-alcohol content of 0.246 percent when he crashed on Gravity Plains Road in Waymart. A driver in Pennsylvania is considered intoxicated at a level of 0.08 percent.
    The school director pleaded guilty July 31 to a misdemeanor count of DUI and related summary offenses.
    Gaudenzi's lawyer, Bernard Brown, had asked for house arrest for his client but was denied.
    The school director is eligible for work release.
    President Judge Raymond Hamill noted Gaudenzi has a criminal history dating back to 2005. The offenses include a previous DUI and other alcohol-related offenses.
    Gaudenzi apologized to the court and acknowledged he has a problem with alcohol.
    "When did you come to that conclusion," the judge asked the defendant.
    Gaudenzi said he realized he had a problem the day after the crash in January.
    "I need to fix myself. I need to fix this problem," Gaudenzi said. "I just want help. I don't want to drink and I don't want to hurt people."
    Brown said his client has sought help for his drinking problem and is going to make restitution totaling nearly $2,000.
    The lawyer added, "It is lucky for A.J. that no one was injured."
    Gaudenzi has said he has no plans on resigning from the school board.
    By law, he is not required to resign since the charges are not felony offenses.
    Page 2 of 2 - State police said Gaudenzi was drunk when he crashed a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier into a deactivated fire hydrant after 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. The car was found, with front-end damage, in a nearby driveway.
    Gaudenzi was found in a nearby residence and admitted to the crash.
    After the crash, the school director had taken a pill, Zoloft, that was provided by the resident even though Gaudenzi did not have a prescription for the anti-depressant.
    "What are you doing?" Hamill asked the defendant. "Why are you taking a pill off of someone when you don't have a prescription?"
    The judge also said, "Not much good happens at 1:47 in the morning, especially on the highways."
    A pre-sentence report indicated Gaudenzi said he had consumed eight drinks in five hours.
    Hamill noted that numerous, "very favorable" letters were submitted on behalf of Gaudenzi.
    The judge warned the defendant, "You can't drink."
    The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Janine Edwards.

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