Mayor of Kittatinny Gustavus Petykiewicz will face felony charges and could receive up to 10 years in jail after he drove drunk and injured a victim authorities said.
Petykiewicz was slurring his speech and stumbling around on the scene. He failed both a field sobriety test and a breath test. He’s in serious trouble after his blood alcohol level tested nearly twice the state limit of 0.08.
The victim Robert Doane suffered broken ribs and jaw, scrapes and bruises to the head, chest and abdominal area. Paramedics initially thought Doane might have a spinal injury and he was airlifted to hospital.
Fortunately Doane, 42, was cleared of spinal injuries, but he remains in hospital in a stable condition. Petykiewicz, 56, walked away without injury.
The crash happened in broad daylight, just after 1 p.m. on Saturday in Frontenac, Schuylkill County.
Doane was driving a 1997 Buick Le Sabre northbound on State Highway 117 when Petykiewicz behind the wheel of a 2006 Ford Explorer pulled into the intersection from Fonebone Road and struck the Buick on the driver side. The cars are write-offs and both had to be towed from the scene.
Doane was found behind the wheel and bleeding from the head. His car didn’t have an airbag. Petykiewicz was found disorientated and not wearing a seatbelt. His front and side airbags opened after impact.
A witness told police the Buick was driving the speed limit when the Ford crossed the road and hit the driver’s side of the car.
“You’d be drinking, too, if you were me,” Petykiewicz said when officers asked if was under the influence. “ Do you think we could just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”
Officers reported that Petykiewicz’s car smelt of alcohol. There was a cheap bottle of half-drunk vodka on the front seat.
Officers took Petykiewicz to the police department in handcuffs. He used his rights to remain silent and chose not to call an attorney.
His wife, Gloria Petykiewicz posted $500 cash bail and the mayor was released just after 3 p.m. the same day.
When contacted Petykiewicz and his wife refused to comment.
Any official found guilty of felony is unable to hold elective office subject to state law. Petykiewicz will be stripped of his title if found guilty.
When asked if he should resign, President of Kittatinny City Council, Denelda Penoyer said, “I think it would be premature for me to discuss this.”
A preliminary hearing will be held in Schuylkill Country District Court this Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Council is holding a closed door meeting the night before Petykiewicz’s court hearing. The public are not allowed to attend because of Pennsylvania’s laws on personnel meetings.
If Petykiewicz resigns or is forced from office the City Council will call a special election for a new mayor. The election will be held on the first Tuesday at least 30 days after council’s decision.