House arrest for DUI driver who used sister, 13, to fool ignition interlock

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Hallam man must serve house arrest for having his 13-year-old sister blow into his ignition interlock system so he could drive drunk.

Michael Allen Coe later brawled with police and sheriff's deputies trying to take a sample of his blood at the county's central booking unit, according to court documents.

Michael Allen Coe

Coe, 31, of East Market Street, pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 11, to obstructing the administration of justice, third-offense DUI, endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault and tampering with an ignition interlock system.

In exchange for his plea, charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest were dropped, according to court records.

As part of his negotiated plea agreement, Coe was sentenced to five years of probation, with the first six months on house arrest, court records state. He also must wear an alcohol-monitoring device for a year.

The background: Hellam Township Police said Officer Timothy Gingrich spotted a Mitsubishi Lancer being driven by Coe without headlights near the intersection of East Market Street and South Wilson Lane about 11 p.m. May 13, 2017.

Gingrich turned on his cruiser's lights and siren, but Coe kept driving for about a half-mile before pulling into the parking lot of the Red Rose Restaurant & Lounge. He circled the lot before finally stopping, court documents state.

Coe smelled strongly of alcohol and had glassy eyes but initially denied having anything to drink, according to police. He agreed to perform field sobriety tests but "had difficulty following simple instructions," documents state.

When Gingrich tried to use a portable alcohol breath-test machine, Coe balked, police said.

"I feel harassment, like you's guys are harassing me for driving down the road," police said Coe told them, then added, "I don't feel comfortable doing this."

Coe was arrested and taken to the county's central booking unit.

Meanwhile, his 13-year-old sister told officers she blew into her brother's alcohol-detecting ignition interlock system so his car would start, charging documents allege.

Once at booking, Coe refused to take a blood-alcohol test, according to police. Gingrich then obtained a search warrant to collect a blood sample from Coe, police said.

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Alleged struggle: Coe again tried to refuse, but Gingrich told him he had no right to refuse because a warrant had been issued, documents state.

"I refuse, you can't do that," Coe allegedly said, then "resisted and threw his fists and arms in a violent manner toward me," Gingrich wrote in court documents.

Coe hit the officer in the head and fled the room, police said.

Gingrich chased him to another room, where it took him and "multiple" booking-unit employees to bring Coe under control, documents state.

Gingrich suffered injuries during the tussle and was treated at York Hospital.

"He was on duty the next night," Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollack said.

Boy left alone? Police also allege Coe left his 9-year-old brother home alone when he left with his sister, which is why he was charged with child endangerment.

In April 2015, Coe pleaded guilty in York County Court to a second-offense DUI/highest rate of alcohol, according to court records.

That's why he is required to use an ignition-interlock system to drive.

He was sentenced in that case to five years of intensive probation, with the first 45 days in York County Prison, court records state.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.