UPPER DARBY, PA. -- The first DUI checkpoint in the township in more than a decade racked up some serious numbers: more than 1,000 vehicles stopped, 32 persons arrested and 26 cars towed.
"This was very, very successful," said Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, who participated in the roadblock late Friday night into early Saturday morning at West Chester Pike and State Road.
"From a manpower perspective, we had more than 50 persons including law enforcement, auxiliary police, fire and emergency personnel."
Of the 32 arrests, 21 were for driving while under the influence, with four of those facing additional drug possession charges. There was a felony arrest for possession with intent to delivery, four drug possession offenses, six underage drinking violators and one public drunkenness charge.
"The drill at the intersection was an officer with a flashlight would approach the driver and announce ‘This is a sobriety checkpoint,’" Chitwood said. "That officer made a decision based on odor from the vehicle and their eyes on whether or not to pull them over into one of the nearby parking lots.
We used the portable breath tests at the scene, and if they blew high they were sent to Delaware County Memorial Hospital for blood testing. We had already pre-arranged with DCMH to have a room available for testing. It was interesting to watch the dynamics.
"This was an amazing venture," added Chitwood, who credited Lt. Glenn Gamber with supervising the event, with cooperation from the county and police from other departments.
"(Community Service Director) Walter Omlor is the guru," Chitwood said of the county official who provides the sobriety checkpoint van and participates.
In anticipation of the DUI checkpoint, the superintendent first contacted Brookhaven Chief John Eller and Officer Rick Fuller to provide Gamber with training and information on conducting a roadblock.
Twenty-four officers from Upper Darby, Media, Parkside, Nether Providence and Brookhaven were on board for the operation, which lasted more than four hours.
Upper Darby Police Auxiliary, the township’s fire and highway departments and state constables were also on hand.
"People that are drunk driving and on drugs is a big problem," Chitwood said. "This is a perfect example."
Citing the number of arrests, he added, "We will be doing more in the future."
Persons arrested for alleged DUI include:
Craig Holland, 51, of the 200 block of Berbro Road; Walter Gusqui, 26, of the 100 block of Englewood Road; Ralph Liberati, 52, of the 700 block of Windermere Avenue; Bennie Parker, 49, of the 500 block of Larchwood Road; Manuel Narvaez-Montesdeaca, 34, of the 100 block of Carol Boulevard; and Anthony Maiorano, 30, of the 200 block of Bishop Avenue, all of Upper Darby.
Joseph Short, 29, of the 800 block of Taylor Drive, Folcroft; Robert Taylor, 48, of the 1300 block of Maryland Avenue and Justin Melvi, 19, of the 600 block of Washington Avenue, both of Havertown; Paul Lolio, 23, of the 200 block of Burke Avenue, Ridley Park; William Decker, 25, of the 200 block of West Union Street, West Chester; Lawrence Ryan, 54, of the 500 block of Musket Court, Collegeville.
Sidwaya Ouedraogo, 31, of the 7400 block of Haverford Avenue; Joseph Aaron, 18, of the 6800 block of Guyer Street; Sara Chhin, 25, of the 6700 block of Trinity Street; Cletus Siler, 36, of the 2200 block of North Snyderman Street; and a 17-year-old, of the 5600 block of Elmwood Avenue, all of Philadelphia.
Arrested for alleged DUI and drug possession were:
Frank Petrillo, 27, of the 200 block of Wyncliffe Avenue, Clifton Heights; Richard DePrince, 19, of the 7100 block of Sellers Avenue and Udeme Eshiet, 23, of the 7100 block of Clover Lane, both of Upper Darby; and Christopher Hill, 18, of the 900 block of Fairfax Road, Drexel Hill.
A felony drug possession with intent to deliver charge was lodged against Handel Browne, 40, of the 5800 block of Alteo Street, Philadelphia, after police allegedly spotted and seized a clear bag containing 15 smaller bags of a green leafy substance from the driver’s side door. Bail on Browne was set at 10 percent of $5,000 pending a preliminary hearing.
The persons arrested for alleged drug possession included:
Christopher Malone, 34, of the 7200 block of Clinton Road, Upper Darby; Seth Cohen, 48, of the 2200 block of Windsor Circle, Broomall; and an unidentified female who was in Browne’s vehicle.