Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 43 year-old Douglas Kersten of Lackawanna pleaded guilty as charged to Vehicular Assault in the First Degree and Felony Driving While Intoxicated before Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, the defendant was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On May 18, 2013 Kersten and his companions spent the morning and early afternoon at a beach party. Kersten stole a woman’s car keys and, despite the efforts of others to stop him, drove off with a companion. Kersten lost control of the stolen car, and vaulted down an embankment. Kersten’s companion was ejected and sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Kersten punched a Good Samaritan who came to his aid, fled the scene on foot, and waded into the frigid waters of Lake Erie. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was called out to assist Town of Hamburg Officers in rescuing Kersten and bringing him to shore.
In what can most charitably be described as a somewhat clumsy proposal, Kersten colloquially invited the police to perform fellatio upon him as well as performing sex acts upon themselves. The police declined Kersten’s offer, took him into custody, and secured a court order to draw his blood. Testing revealed Kersten had consumed Xanax and marijuana and that he had a blood alcohol content of .16% (twice the legal limit).
No stranger to law enforcement, Kersten has a criminal history stretching back to 1989, which includes convictions for felonious assault and felonious reckless endangerment. Shockingly, Kersten also has four previous felony DWI convictions. Kersten faces a maximum term of 3-1/2 to 7 years in state prison when he is sentenced as a second felony offender before Justice Michalski on April 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek of DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau. DA Sedita also noted the extraordinary professionalism of Town of Hamburg Police Office David Olday in both saving the defendant’s life and bringing the defendant to justice.