The Office of the Attorney General has filed separate traffic charges against Division of Fish and Wildlife director Manuel M. Pangelinan and police officer Virolanson Castro Secharmidal for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Pangelinan, 57, was charged with DUI, reckless driving, failure to possess registration card, and lack of safety inspection proof.
Secharmidal, 22, was charged with DUI, reckless driving, failure to remain at the scene of accident, and failure to drive on the right half of the highway.
Pangelinan and Secharmidal pleaded not guilty of the charges.
In Pangelinan’s case, assistant attorney general Steven C. Kessell stated in the information that, on June 12, 2020 on Saipan, Pangelinan drove a vehicle upon a highway while under the influence of alcohol and at a high rate of speed.
Pangelinan allegedly drove the vehicle without possessing the vehicle’s registration card and lacking proof that the vehicle was inspected at the time of the registration.
Saipan Tribune learned that the director was driving a pick-up truck when police pulled him over in Lower Base.
In Secharmidal’s case, Kessell stated that on May 3, 2020 on Saipan, the officer drove a motor vehicle upon a highway while having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 or more as measured by a breath or test, or “O.188 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.”
Secharmidal allegedly failed to control his speed or by speeding in gross excess of the posted speed limit or by failing to keep a proper lookout or a combination of these traffic violations which resulted in his car colliding with a concrete utility pole.
Secharmidal allegedly failed to remain at the scene of an accident involving damage to personal property and failed to drive on the right half of highway.
Saipan Tribune learned that the vehicle slammed into the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. power pole on the shoulder of a hill on Tun Joaquin Doi Road near the corner of Tun Antonio Apa Road in Fina Sisu. The car was then engulfed in fire.
According to the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the fire was reported May 3 at 11:39pm and that DFEMS firefighters controlled the blaze at 12:10am, May 4.
No one was reported injured. DFEMS and the Department of Public Safety did not release information at the time as to who was the driver of the car.
According to Kessell, DUI carries a penalty of imprisonment for not less than 72 hours nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
Kessell said DUI also carries a penalty of suspension of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle for not less than 30 days nor more than six months, and revocation of driver’s license.
With respect to reckless driving, the prosecutor said the offense carries a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment of not more than six months.
Kessell said violator may also attend a course in driver education if such course is offered, and to obtain a certificate of attendance at the satisfactory completion of that course.
With respect to driving a vehicle without possessing the vehicle’s registration card, it carries a fine of not more than $1,000 for the first conviction and for a second or any subsequent conviction within a period of one year by a fine of not more $250.
Kessell said driving a vehicle without having proof the vehicle was inspected at the time of registration carries a fine of not more than $50.
He said failure to remain at the scene of an accident carries imprisonment for not more than six months or by a fine of more than $500, or both.
He said failure to drive on the right half of highway carries a fine of not more than $100 for the first conviction and for a second or any subsequent conviction within a period of one year by a fine of not more than $250. (Ferdie de la Torre)