WESTERLY — A Connecticut man is facing charges after police said he caused a collision Saturday at the intersection of Route 78 and Post Road, then fled with the other driver in pursuit.
The man, Sterlin W. Feeney, 24, of East Haddam, was charged with driving under the influence with an unknown blood alcohol content, failure to stop at an accident resulting in damage to property, and refusal to submit to a chemical test. He was also cited with making an improper turn and failing to maintain proper lane.
The police said Feeney was southbound in a pickup truck on Route 78 at about 5:20 p.m. and pulled up to the traffic light at Route 1. At the time, he was in the left of the two lanes designated for traffic traveling straight onto Airport Road.
According to witnesses, Feeney suddenly turned right as the light turned green, cutting in front of a car, which immediately hit the passenger side of his vehicle. The collision caused minor damage to each vehicle, Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said, but there were no reported injuries.
The police said Feeney continued right onto Franklin Street / Route 1, and turned into the Franklin Shopping Plaza, with the other driver, a woman, following him and talking to dispatchers. The police said he turned back onto Route 1 when he realized he was being followed, and then turned down Wells Street, onto Beach Street and then onto State Street, where he was stopped by an officer.
The police said Feeney appeared to be intoxicated and told an officer that he fled because he was nervous.
Feeney failed a field sobriety test and was administered a portable breathalyzer test, which returned a blood alcohol reading of .194. At the police station, Lacey said, he refused to take the standard breathalyzer test, leading to the additional charge. Portable tests are not considered official under Rhode Island law.
Feeney was released on a promise to appear for arraignment May 10 in Fourth Division District Court.