Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 43 year old Douglas Kersten of 1534 Electric Avenue, Lackawanna, will be arraigned this morning before Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski on an indictment charging him with four counts of Vehicular Assault in the First Degree, two counts of Felony Driving While Intoxicated, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree, Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the First Degree and Failure to Stay Within Lane of Road.
The following is alleged: that on May 18, 2013, Kersten and his companions spent the morning and early afternoon drinking; that Kersten stole a car and sped away; that Kersten lost control of the vehicle, went off the road, flipped the vehicle over a guard rail and down a ravine; that his passenger was ejected from the car and sustained several broken bones, including a fractured vertebrae; that Kersten fled the scene of the crash, fled from several civilians who attempted to apprehend him, and waded into the icy waters of Lake Erie; that Kersten taunted the police officers (who enlisted the assistance of the Erie County Sheriff helicopter) who eventually brought him to safety; and, that Kersten was hostile, belligerent and refused the blood test. A judge ordered a blood test and, as alleged in the indictment, Kersten’s blood alcohol content was .16%, which is twice the legal limit. As further alleged in the Special Information, Kersten is no stranger to the ills of drinking and driving, having been previously convicted in 2005 and 2009.
If convicted of these crimes, Kersten faces a maximum prison sentence of 2-1/3 to 7 years. Like all defendants accused of a crime, Kersten is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.