By Eric Francis, Standard Correspondent
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – A Quechee man received a stern warning from a judge Friday afternoon after he showed up drunk for an arraignment stemming from a disturbance at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center the night before.
David Mounkes, 28, gave a fuzzy performance at the defense table Friday as Woodstock Attorney Elizabeth Kruska, acting as his public defender for the sake of the arraignment, tried to enter innocent pleas on his behalf to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
After watching Mounkes, who at times appeared confused and at others quite amused by the proceedings, Judge Karen Carroll called things to a halt and ordered Mounkes to take a breath test on the spot.
Mounkes cordially cooperated with Windsor County Deputy Sheriff Robert North who had him blow into a portable alco-sensor device and then showed the judge the 0.19 percent blood alcohol level – which is equivalent to more than twice the legal limit for driving in Vermont – which was registered on the screen of the device.
“I gotta be sober when I come,” Mounkes replied.
“You need to have no alcohol in your system,” Judge Carroll emphasized, adding, “I reserve the right to have you take an alcohol test on Monday as well and what I’m telling you is that if you show up with alcohol in your system…”
“I’m going to jail!” Mounkes interjected.
“That is called ‘Summary Contempt’ and the court can jail you for up to six months,” Carroll emphasized, “Do you understand that?”
“Six months?” Mounkes responded in a shocked whisper.
“Yep. Six Months. So go to the clerk’s office and get your hearing notice and come here Monday with no alcohol in your system,” Judge Carroll reiterated.
Officer Aleya Leombruno said she and two other Hartford police officers responded to the Upper Valley Aquatic Center on Thursday evening after they were called about an apparently intoxicated male who was bothering other swimmers and a female lifeguard and refusing to get out of the pool.
Lifeguard Erin Renniger wrote in a sworn statement that she noticed Mounkes, who was swimming with at least one other friend, having apparent difficulty getting out of the pool and sitting on the edge and giggling for periods of time so she went over to see if he was alright. Renniger wrote that Mounkes was rude to her, was stumbling at times and smelled of alcohol to the point that she was concerned about his safety.
Officer Leombruno said Mounkes was uncooperative once police arrived and refused to give his name or answer questions, saying he wanted a lawyer and “waving his hands inches from Officer (Jon) Kustafik’s face before allegedly swearing at him. Leombruno said when police attempted to arrest Mounkes he pulled away and was “brought to the ground where he continued to resist being placed in handcuffs.”
“He continued to yell and make unintelligible noises while he was being led out of the pool area,” Leombruno wrote, adding that he then, “attempted to kick Officer Kustafik twice at which point Mounkes was brought to the ground (again).”
Mounkes sustained scrapes to his face and shoulder during his arrest but refused medical treatment back at the police station, Leombruno added.