KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A man is facing his third driving under the influence of alcohol charge after police said they found him trying to start a vehicle in the parking lot of a local gas station.
Michael D. Downey, 49, who is homeless according to court records, pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to DUI #3, DUI #3 with test refusal, and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a license suspended for DUI.
He was released on conditions that he not consume alcohol and must check in daily at the Bennington Police Department. According to court records, he was convicted of DUI on Sept. 3, 1985, and on Sept. 21, 1999.
According to an affidavit by Cpl. Thalia Hudson, of the Bennington Police Department, on June 28 at 8:23 p.m. police received a report that two apparently intoxicated males were attempting to start a teal colored Honda Civic in the parking lot of Mincer’s Mini Mart on Main Street.
Hudson said two police officers arrived before she did, one being Lt. Lloyd Dean, who said he saw Downey behind the wheel of the vehicle where the keys were in the ignition. Dean wrote in a separate affidavit that he saw Downey attempting to start the vehicle and that Downey smelled of alcohol.
Downey told police he had a 24-ounce beer an hour and a half before. Police records with the court indicated that Downey cooperated with field sobriety exercises to a point but did not give a breath sample. Police indicated his performance on those exercises led them to believe he was intoxicated.