'Watch me': Former Northern Regional chief charged with DUI, leaving crash scene
A former York County police chief faces a battery of charges after he allegedly rear-ended a car while drunk and then went home as firefighters tried to stop him last month.
Investigators also allege he had another car’s license plate on his vehicle.
Carl Segatti, who retired as chief of the Northern York County Regional Police in 2010, was driving a Jeep when he rear-ended a car stopped in the eastbound turning lane of Route 30 at North Sherman Street, according a criminal complaint filed by Springettsbury Township Police on Tuesday.
Firefighters from York Area United Fire/Rescue were in a vehicle behind Segatti’s and witnessed the crash at 7:40 p.m. on April 7, the complaint reads.
A firefighter told police that Segatti got out of his Jeep to speak to the other car’s driver and the firefighters. The former chief identified himself to them by handing an M&T Bank business card with a phone number on it, the complaint shows.
Segatti, 70, allegedly climbed back into his Jeep a short time later, police say.
When the firefighter tried to stop him, telling him he couldn't leave the scene, Segatti allegedly replied: “Watch me.”
The former police chief, who also briefly served as interim chief in Gettysburg, then proceeded to drive off — leaving the scene of the crash, according to the police report.
Messages left with Segatti were not returned Thursday.
The firefighter got the Jeep’s license plate number, but police said the number turned out to be registered to a Mini Cooper. The firefighter also alleged Segatti seemed impaired at the scene.
About 8:15 p.m. that evening, Northern Regional officers found Segatti at his home on Alder Way in Manchester Township and called Springettsbury Township Police with the heads up. An officer then went to the house to interview him, according to police.
There, Segatti told a police officer he’d taken his mother out to get ice cream. According to the criminal complaint, the former chief explained that his foot was wet from rain and slipped off the Jeep's clutch at the intersection, causing the vehicle to lurch forward and strike the car. He allegedly said he left the scene because he thought the crash was minor.
Police said Segatti allegedly nudged the officer’s shoulder with his hand to try and demonstrate the vehicles’ contact, even after the officer told the former chief not to touch him.
Segatti then allegedly refused to do any sobriety tests, saying he doesn’t drink alcohol. The officer, though, alleged he smelled alcohol on Segatti’s breath and that his eyes seemed bloodshot and glassy, the complaint shows.
The officer, believing Segatti was intoxicated, then arrested him, according to the complaint. While heading to Central Booking, Segatti allegedly told the officer repeatedly to include in his report that he drank three ounces of vodka before Northern Regional police arrived at his house. He allegedly referred to it as an “affirmative defense,” the complaint shows.
At Central Booking, police said blood was drawn from Segatti’s arm. The test came back three weeks later, showing his blood alcohol content at the time of the draw was .216%, the complaint shows.
Police said they learned the registration on Segatti's Jeep had expired in September and that he had switched the license plate with one from a Mini Cooper he owns.
The driver of the other car involved in the crash was taken to a local hospital and treated for whiplash, according to the complaint.
Segatti had served as chief of Northern Regional police for 15 years before retiring from the department in 2010.
His charges include misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and causing a personal injury crash, along with summary offenses of failing to stop and render aid, failing to report a crash, driving an unregistered vehicle and fraudulent use of a license plate.
A summons to appear in a magisterial district court in the case was issued Wednesday. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 29, court documents show.
— Reach Aimee Ambrose at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.