By Emma Way
Student Life Editor
On Saturday, Sept. 20 at approximately midnight a car allegedly accelerated into a telephone pole and fire hydrant near the intersection between Washington Avenue and Greenwood Avenue. Gwendolyn Hintz, 22, of Davidsonville was driving the vehicle. She graduated in May, 2014 from Washington College.
According to Lieutenant John Dolgos of the Chestertown Police Department, Hintz was placed under arrest and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, failure to drive right of center, and failure to control speed to avoid a collision. “Once she was charged, she was released,” Lt. Dolgos said.
Public Safety along with a handful of nearby students were the first to reach the scene according to sophomore and witness Anna Zastrow. “I heard a crash behind me and turned around. There were a few people around and everyone started running to see if they needed help,” she said. “The hood was all crunched up, the telephone pole was at a 60 degree angle, and there was smoke coming out of the hood.”
Officers assured students that no one was injured and cleared the scene. Tim Renner, patrol officer in Public Safety, was on bike patrol in the area and was the first to call in the accident.
“People in the car was conscious and were able to start getting out of the vehicle. At that time the Chestertown Police arrived on the scene and took over the investigation,” said Director of Public Safety Jerry Roderick.
Hintz and one passenger refused treatment and had no visible injuries. “It’s a miracle that no one was there and no one was injured,” said Zastrow.
A court date has not been set for Hintz yet, but according to Lt. Dolgos it will be in about a month and a half in the Kent County District Court. If found guilty of a DUI, Hintz could face $1,000 in fines and a suspension of her license for a minimum of six months, according to DrivingLaws.org.
Almost one-fourth of all drunk driving is done by 21 to 25-year-olds, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In a 2010 study, the Center for Disease Control found that the average drunk driver has driven while intoxicated about 80 times before his or her first arrest. 29.1 million people admitted to drunk driving in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“I can’t imagine [driving]…intoxicated because you’re not just hurting yourself with that. What if someone was standing on the sidewalk,” said Zastrow. “Think about other people more than yourself if you’re going to do that.”
In the hour after the car accident, traffic had to be redirected, which according to Roderick, tied up officers for quite a while.
Lt. Dolgos said, “It was bad but thank goodness there wasn’t another car…and nobody got hurt.”
Hintz declined to comment.
If you see or know of anyone whom you believe could be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol call 911. According to the DUI Foundation, “Leaving a tip at an emergency hotline can lead to faster response time by officials.”