Man faces third-offense OUI charge after slow chase through Pittsfield
This article has been updated to reflect that David Zytkiewicz pleaded not guilty to a charge of drunken driving and other charges during his arraignment on Thursday.
PITTSFIELD -- A West Springfield man who allegedly led police on a low-speed chase through the city's downtown is being held on $5,000 cash bail on third-offense drunken driving and other charges.
David Zytkiewicz, 51, crashed into a guard rail on South Street near the Berkshire Life Insurance Co. building about 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, blowing out the right front tire in his gray 2006 Toyota Camry, according to Pittsfield Police. He continued driving north on the rim, sparks flying from the metal, as his vehicle straddled the lanes, preventing other drivers from passing.
Zytkiewicz was initially stopped by Officer Matthew Kirchner, but he then drove off as the officer stepped out of his cruiser. He then led police on a pursuit at speeds between 5 and 8 mph as he weaved through traffic until a civilian blocked him with his vehicle on North Street near Pancho's Mexican restaurant.
When he got out of the car, Zytkiewicz fell down and then told police he wasn't hurt -- just drunk, and was on his way to the alcohol and drug treatment unit at Berkshire Medical Center, police said.
He refused to perform field sobriety tests, telling police he was too drunk and would just fail them, according to the report.
"Melanie's Law will screw me. I know," he allegedly told officers, referring to a state law passed in 2005 that enhanced the penalties for drunken driving.
Police said the defendant smelled of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet and had glassy eyes and slurred speech. Inside the car, which was towed, they said they found a nearly empty bottle of vodka.
Appearing with his attorney, Thomas M. Sherman Jr., Zytkiewicz pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday to single counts of third-offense drunken driving, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to stop for police and a marked lanes violation.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler asked for $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail with no drugs, alcohol or driving, citing the nature of the crime, the six-month minimum mandatory jail sentence for third-offense drunken driving and the defendant's two previous drunken driving convictions as reasons for the bail.
The prosecutor said Zytkiewicz had been previously convicted in 2007 and 1991.
Sherman said there had been large gaps in time between all the cases, that his client always showed up for court and previously did well on probation. He asked that Zytkiewicz be released on personal recognizance and be ordered to go to the drug and alcohol treatment program at the hospital.
Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford, who was sitting in at the district court level because of a judge's conference, ordered Zytkiewicz held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on the bail conditions asked for by the prosecution.
The defendant is due back in court on June 6 for a pretrial hearing.
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