Routine traffic stop raises eyebrows

— It was the night after Christmas, and Liverpool Police Officer Jerry Unger saw an automobile driving 44 miles per hours in a 30 mile-per-hour zone along the 800 block of Oswego Street.

His partner that night was Marcus Lukins, a new part-time police officer who recently completed his course-work at the Public Safety Training Center at Onondaga Community College. Unger was demonstrating for Lukins the proper way to conduct traffic stops.

The officers pulled the car over along Onondaga Lake Parkway.

The speeding driver was a young woman who said she’d enjoyed a single beer at a local bowling alley. Unger detected the odor of alcohol on her breath and noted that her speech was somewhat slurred. He ran her through a sobriety test and eventually arrested her for driving while intoxicated.

No request for favoritism

The young lady remained cooperative and polite throughout the encounter, Unger noted, and she never spoke up about her family’s ties to local law enforcement. Because he was concentrating on showing Lukins the step-by-step procedures that must be followed in making a DWI arrest, Officer Unger didn’t think much about the lady’s last name. After all, Fitzpatrick is a common enough Irish surname.

Before long, however, Unger learned that his suspect, Sara Fitzpatrick, is the daughter of Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

Sara Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while impaired on Tuesday, Jan. 14, before Judge Anthony LaValle in Liverpool Village Court. She had been arrested during the early-morning hours of Friday, Dec. 27, and charged with DWI. Court papers indicate she registered a blood alcohol content of .14. The legal limit is .08.

Judge LaValle suspended her driver’s license for 90 days and ordered her to pay a maximum fine of $500 and to attend an alcohol-awareness program.

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