A man found asleep behind the wheel of his car in East Hampton was charged with driving while intoxicated.

East Hampton man charged with felony dwi

A Northwest Woods man is facing felony charges after being arrested for the second time for driving while intoxicated in a little more than five years. Michael Patrick McDowell, 74, was allegedly found slumped over the wheel of a 2003 Subaru on Cedar Street near Stephen Hands Path, blocking the road. East Hampton Town police said the engine was running, the transmission in drive, and McDowell’s foot was resting on the brake pedal. He drove off when an officer asked him to get out of the car, police said.

The officer followed McDowell, who was driving erratically, according to the police. After McDowell turned onto Old Northwest Road, he drove off the roadway, momentarily coming to a stop, before allegedly putting the Subaru in reverse, backing up and nearly striking the police car. At that point, police said, McDowell agreed to step out of his car.

Failing sobriety tests, he was arrested and taken to headquarters. Among the sobriety tests he failed was a hand-held breath test, according to the police.

Police said a field test showed McDowell to have 0.24 percent blood alcohol, three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent but that he refused to take a test back at police headquarters.

Besides the felony counts, McDowell is also facing two misdemeanor charges related to possession of a controlled substance, Xanax, the police said.

In February 2013, McDowell was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated following an accident that occurred not far from his Bull Path Close home. He ultimately admitted to a DWI charge, and his license was suspended. That guilty plea, less than five years ago, and the fact that his driving privilege has never been restored, makes the DWI charge, as well as the unlicensed driving charge he was hit with last week, both felonies.

In court the next morning, he told East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana that he is an artist by profession. His paintings have been displayed at Ashawagh Hall, according to numerous websites.

Justice Rana told McDowell she was suspending his driving privilege twice over the suspension already in place, first, for refusing the stationhouse breath test, and second, for having a DWI conviction within the past five years. She set bail at $5,000, which McDowell posted.

A Manhattan man, Ryan Washburn, 36, was arrested by town police on a misdemeanor DWI charge Sunday night after he was pulled over in a 2017 Nissan. Police said he was tailgating the car in front of him on Pantigo Road in East Hampton and swerving across lane lines. “I had a couple of beers, one in each bar in Montauk,” he is quoted as telling the police.

Because he refused the breath test at headquarters, Justice Steven Tekulsky suspended his license for a year, pending a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When it came time to set bail, Justice Tekulsky asked about what looked like a prior arrest in Georgia on a similar charge. Cynthia Darrell, from the Legal Aid Society, told the court that she would not comment on any out of state matters. Washburn, an employee in the film industry, posted $500 bail.

There were three other town police DWI-charged arrests this week, all at misdemeanor level, and all in Montauk.

Matthew Corey Boyd, 37, was riding a 1978 Moto Guzzi moped south on Edgemere Street when he ran a stop sign at the Plaza the night of June 4, police said. During his arraignment June 5, he told Rana that, while he has a Brooklyn address, he is currently living on a boat in the dock area of Montauk, where he works as a bartender. His breath test, according to police, produced a 0.16 reading, twice the 0.08 legal limit. He was released after posting $300 bail.

Patricia DeLaCruz, 36, of College Point was found passed out behind the wheel of a westbound 2016 Toyota, which police said they found parked on the sidewalk on Montauk Highway near Essex Street around midnight Saturday. Police said that before she had passed out, she had apparently become ill in the car. She told the arresting officer she had had four glasses of wine and had only driven two blocks before she pulled over. “I called my boyfriend and said I can’t do it,” she was quoted as saying.

At headquarters, her breath test was recorded as 0.21, well over the 0.18 mark that automatically raises the charge to the aggravated level. She was released after posting $250 bail at her arraignment.

Jose Martinez-Solis, 30, was arrested on a DWI charge on Flamingo Avenue near Industrial Road in Montauk around midnight Saturday. Police said Martinez-Solis had made an illegal U-turn, leading to the traffic stop. His breath test produced a reading of 0.12, said police. Martinez-Solis said during his arraignment Sunday morning that, while he has a Florida license, he is working in Montauk for the season, as he has done for many years. He was released without having to post bail.

tom.e@indyeastend.com