Oct 02, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Wednesday Sept. 1 was just another day on the village beat for Liverpool Police Officer Sean Pierce. His ho-hum routine was interrupted about noon when he heard that the suspect in a nearby hit-and-run might be a local man recently released from prison after serving a sentence for multiple DWI convictions.
A vehicle was being sought by state troopers after it allegedly caused a minor fender-bender that morning near the John Glenn exit off Route 690 in the town of Van Buren. The troopers checked the license plate and found that the car was registered to the mother of Dean S. Tuszynski, 51, of 200 Cleveland Ave.
Pierce drove his cruiser north on Route 370 and his intuition paid off when he spotted the mustachioed Tuszynski driving the vehicle into the village. The officer saw the car cross the center line so Pierce activated his lights, and the slightly damaged auto finally pulled over on Iroquois Lane at about 12:30 p.m.
Before long, Pierce had back-up in the form of Liverpool Police Chief Bill Becker and Sgt. Mike Manns. The village constabularies all knew Tuszynski was being sought by state police, and they also knew him as one of Onondaga County’s most notorious drunk drivers.
Tuszynski has been convicted eight times on felony DWI charges.
“We’d arrested him before,” Becker told me last week. “In fact, he’d been arrested by most of the agencies in Onondaga County at one point or another.”
When he was busted here Sept. 1, Tuszynski was just six weeks out of state prison. He’d been released July 15 after serving time on two 2006 convictions. Tuszynski had pleaded guilty to two DWI counts after crashes on Cold Springs Road and John Glenn Boulevard in October 2005. Tuszynski was originally sentenced to two consecutive terms of 18 months-to-four years in prison.
Earlier this year, the county District Attorney’s Office wanted Tuszynski jailed for life as a persistent felony offender, but Judge Anthony Aloi was reluctant to impose a life penalty because a federal court had declared New York’s three-strikes law unconstitutional.
Anyhow, Tuszynski was in a foul mood when Pierce pulled him over on Iroquois Lane.
“He made verbal threats and was extremely belligerent,” Becker said. “But Office Pierce dealt with him very professionally. We’ve got it all on tape.”
A confidential source who was also at the scene of the arrest said Tuszynski and a female companion had been drinking from a large jug of juice and vodka. The source also saw empty beer containers in the car.
Tuszynski refused to participate in any sobriety tests including a breath test. “He refused everything,” Becker said.
Liverpool police charged Tuszynski with a half dozen offenses: DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to keep right, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, refusal to submit to an alcohol breath test and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle.
The suspect was arraigned that afternoon before Village Justice Anthony LaValle, who sent him to the Corbett Justice Center down city and set bail at $100,000.
State police later charged Tuszynski with leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. And that’s not all: he also faces a parole violation.
Two LPD officers responded to the horrific quadruple fatal at the Onondaga Lake Parkway railroad bridge earlier this month. Officers Todd Creller and John Praskey were among the dozens of emergency personnel who came to the aid of injured passengers on the Megabus which crashed into the infamous overpass in the early-morning hours of Sept. 11. Four passengers died.
Liverpool Fire Chief Gary Vincitore and LFD volunteers were also on the scene. Vincitore later sent a letter of appreciation to LPD Chief Becker, a small gesture perhaps but an important public recognition of continued cooperation between our local emergency responders.
Witnessing the human carnage in the mangled Megabus was “very traumatic” for those who answered the call, said Liverpool Mayor Gary White, himself a former Syracuse police officer. “The fire department’s volunteers had never seen anything like that before,” White noted, “and a lot of our officers never saw anything like that either.”