Town Justice James Mulley Jr
Fenti, charged with DWI and related offenses, moved for dismissal. A probable cause hearing was granted to determine if sufficient cause to stop her vehicle and arrest her existed. Fenti called 911 requesting assistance as she was unable to start her car and was unsure where in Ellison Park she was located. A sheriff’s deputy responded to the “welfare check” dispatch, observing Fenti backing her car out of a parking space, and enquired if she was okay. Fenti stated she was and no longer needed assistance but the deputy detected an odor of alcohol on Fenti’s breath, noticed her watery eyes, and slurred speech. Fenti was arrested but transported to a hospital by ambulance for a high intoxication level and threats to kill the deputy and harm herself. The court disagreed with Fenti’s claim police action was unjustified at inception as she no longer required assistance when the deputy showed up. It stated while the deputy did not have probable cause to believe Fenti committed a traffic violation initially, the community caretaking exception applied justifying the stop of a moving vehicle. After the lawful stop the deputy developed probable cause to arrest Fenti, who struck the deputy, and for a DWI. Fenti’s motion to suppress was entirely denied.