July 26, 2014 at 12:13 PM
A Towamencin Township father allegedly drove drunk with his three young children in the car, none of whom were properly restrained in car seats, police said.
Richard James Carickhoff, 44, of the 1300 block of Michael Way, faces charges of one count of DUI, three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of children, three misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, careless driving, and three summary charges of failing to properly restrain children, according to the affidavit.
Towamencin Township Police received a report on July 17 at 4:54 p.m. of a reckless driver at Forty Foot and Detwiler roads, police said. It was reported a red Audi was “all over the roadway” north on Forty Foot Road, police said.
Police saw a red Audi southbound on Forty Foot Road, crossing Allentown Road. The driver was a bespectacled white male, wearing a visor, police said.
The officer pulled a U-turn to follow the Audi, but was slowed by several cars, police said. The red Audi was then seen driving northbound on Forty Foot Road, so police did another U-turn and stopped the Audi in the parking lot of Chick-fil-a, police said.
As the officers approached, a young girl exited the car, as did Carickhoff, police said. Two more young children were in the car, police said. No car seats were installed in the vehicle, police said.
As Carickhoff exited the car, he allegedly fell backward into the door, police said. After he regained his balance, Carickhoff was allegedly unsteady on his feet, police said.
When police asked for his license, officers noticed an odor of alcohol on Carickhoff and he had bloodshot, glassy eyes, police said.
Police asked Carickhoff to put his children – aged eight, five and three – back in the car and step away, so they did not watch the interaction.
Carickhoff told police he did not drink and was not on medications, police said.
When asked why he was unsteady, Carickhoff allegedly told officers he had a medical condition, according to the affidavit, and that his ankles hurt him. Later in the investigation, Carickhoff allegedly changed the condition to one with his calves, police said.
He told police he could not remember the name of his condition, police said.
Field sobriety tests were conducted on Carickhoff, but police stopped the tests because of his safety, police said. Carickhoff allegedly almost fell several times during the tests, police said.
A portable breath test registered a positive reading, police said. He was arrested for DUI at 5:11 p.m.
Police said the three children were picked up by their mother.
Carickhoff was then taken to Lansdale Hospital to have blood drawn for BAC analysis, police said.
A witness told police that she was driving west on Keeler Road near Michael Way, when she saw a red Audi on Michael Way, per the affidavit. The driver of the Audi failed to stop at a stop sign and did not stop until the car was in the middle of the intersection and on the double yellow lines of Keeler Road, police said.
The driver of the Audi then made a left turn in front of the witness and continued west on Keeler Road, police said. The witness followed the Audi to a left on Quarry Road, where the car crossed the double yellow lines several times, police said. After the Audi turned onto Forty Foot Road, the witness stopped following the vehicle.