Joseph Stickler
Joseph Stickler

A Wrightsville man accused of trying to bribe a police officer who arrested him for drunken driving and other offenses must serve prison time.

Joseph Anthony Stickler, 28, of 472 N. Front St., was sentenced last week to 11-1/2 to 23 months in York County Prison, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty Oct. 7 to second-offense driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving without a license and possession of drug paraphernalia, and pleaded no contest to bribery, records state.

Defendants who plead no contest aren't admitting guilt. Rather, they are saying they won't contest the charges against them. Otherwise a no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Safety school: In addition to prison time, Stickler was ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with any recommended counseling, and ordered to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, records state.

Stickler can be released earlier than his minimum after he completes his substance evaluation and sets up a treatment plan, according to court records.

Stickler -- who has been in prison in lieu of bail since March 19 -- will receive credit for time served, records state.

The background: Wrightsville Police said Officer Michael Carpenter spotted Stickler about 2 a.m. March 19 in the 800 block of Hellam Street (Route 462), driving more than 100 mph in a 35 mph residential zone during a sleet storm.

Carpenter saw Stickler use the oncoming lane to pass a vehicle, despite the fact that it's a no-passing zone, according to court documents.

When Stickler pulled over in front of his North Front Street home and got out of his vehicle, Carpenter approached him, documents state.

"I observed that the driver appeared unsteady on his feet ... and he had an unusual gaze in his eyes," Carpenter wrote in Stickler's arrest affidavit, which states Stickler smelled strongly of alcohol, had glassy eyes and was slurring his speech.

Pot pipe: The officer found a marijuana pipe in the pocket of Stickler's hooded sweatshirt, documents state.

A blood test later determined his blood-alcohol level to be 0.227 percent, which is nearly three times the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent. The blood test also revealed Stickler had marijuana in his system at the time, police allege.

After Stickler was arrested, he offered Carpenter $1,000 to simply drive him home and agree not to arrest him, according to police.

Theoretically, he could have made good on the alleged offer, because he had $1,651 cash on him at the time of his arrest, police said.

At the time, Wrightsville Police Chief Ron Hege said Carpenter was slightly offended that his integrity was being questioned.

"It's relatively unusual for an officer to be bribed with cash right there on the spot," the chief said.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.