Several motorists charged with DUI
DuBoistown resident Whitney Steele-Phillips had been “hearing and seeing things in her home,” so on the morning of March 15, she got behind the wheel of her 2015 Nissan and set out to find “a Catholic Church so a priest could bless her home,” city police said the woman told them, according to court papers.
Steele-Phillips, 35, of 2416 Euclid Ave., was found passed out in her car in the 300 block of Locust Street about 7:30 a.m., prompting someone to call police.
As an officer was approaching the vehicle, the woman suddenly came to, panicked and drove forward until a bystander yelled for her to stop, which she did, police said in an affidavit. She told the officer she was looking for a priest to bless her house, hoping such a blessing would “fix some problems” she had been having at the property. She had no idea how she got to Locust Street, police said.
“It was my belief that she was impaired by drugs,” the officer wrote in the affidavit. During a series of fields sobriety tests, her actions led the officer to suspect she was under the influence of a depressant and stimulant. Steele-Phillips gave police permission to search the car. In the vehicle, police seized three Klonopin pills (for which she had no prescription) and drug paraphernalia, court records stated.
After a blood test confirmed that there were three drugs in her system, including methamphetamines and amphetamines, Steele-Phillips was charged with DUI of controlled substances, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and careless driving. She has been sent a summons to appear before District Judge Christian Frey.
In another DUI case, within moments after she was stopped near West Fourth and Campbell streets in the city about 1:20 a.m. on Feb. 21, Caitlyn Kiessling, 28, of 1311 Meade St., admitted to a state trooper that she had smoked marijuana at a friend’s home just two hours prior.
Police stopped her because the registration lights on her 2001 Subaru Outback were not functioning and a headlight also was out, court records stated. A blood test confirmed there was marijuana in her system, police said. Kiessling has been charged with DUI of a controlled substance, and sent a summons to appear before Frey.
Another driver who will be appearing before the judge on a DUI charge is Kiasia Rorie, 23, of Harrisburg, who was stopped by a state trooper on Little League Boulevard in the city about 1:10 a.m. on April 11 because the insurance on her 2009 Lincoln Continental had been canceled, court records stated.
“I immediately detected a strong smell of processed marijuana coming from the vehicle,” the trooper said, adding that Rorie admitted to smoking marijuana hours earlier. A bag of marijuana was found in the middle console, police said.
Rorie showed that there “was a high probability” that she was under the influence of a controlled substance while undergoing a series of field sobriety tests, police said. She has been charged with DUI of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and careless driving. There was no mention in the court records on whether Rorie submitted a blood sample.
In another case Frey is handling, Barry Artis, 34, of 1558 Scott St., refused to provide a blood sample after he was involved in two crashes within a matter of minutes about 9:45 p.m. on April 1, according to court records.
Patrolman Andrew Stevens said he saw Artis’ 2004 Buick LeSabre strike a utility pole at West Third and Arch streets. The driver got out, inspected the pole and then left the scene with the officer pursuing him, court records stated.
As Artis was traveling east on West Fourth Street, he suddenly sped up to 50 mph in a 35 mph speed zone, Stevens said in an affidavit. With the officer’s emergency lights and siren activated, Artis’ vehicle was weaving in one lane, court records stated.
Artis turned north on Stevens Street, clipping the side mirror of a parked car and traveling a short distance before stopping, Stevens said. Artis’ eyes were bloodshot and glassy. It turned out that he was driving with a license that was suspended due to DUI conviction, the officer said. The driver refused to perform any field sobriety tests, the officer said.
Charged with DUI, accidents involving damage to unattended vehicle (hit-run), careless driving and driving with a suspended license, Artis is free on $5,000 bail.
Also free on $5,000 bail was Ryan Hill, 24, of 2050 Roosevelt Ave., who was charged with DUI of a controlled substance and careless driving after his 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a parked vehicle in the 1500 block of High Street about 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, city police said. Hill admitted to smoking marijuana about “an hour before (he started) driving,” court records stated.
In another DUI case, this one before District Judge Gary Whiteman, a blood test revealed that Ellen Sheaffer, 37, of 345 High St., suite 3, had four different drugs in her system when her Ford Fiesta slammed into the back of another vehicle driven by Heather Allison on Interstate 180 in Montoursville about 4:30 p.m. on April 2, borough police said in an affidavit.
Allison, driving a Subaru Outback, was traveling about 55 mph when she was hit, police said. Two grandchildren, ages 1 and 4, were in the vehicle with her, police added.
Court records state that Sheaffer was having a seizure, and she that was taken to UPMC Williamsport by ambulance. Charged with DUI of controlled substances and recklessly endangering another person, she is free on $5,000 bail.