B y Derek Liebig
A long night on the town could lead to a long trip home for an illegal immigrant accused of trying to bribe police officers after he was stopped for a motor vehicle accident and found to be drunk early Sunday morning.
Jairo Figeroa, 22, who lives on Maple Street, was charged with 10 separate violations, including third degree bribery of a public servant, and misdemeanor counts of obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and aggravated DWI, after a vehicle he was operating was involved in an accident at approximately 1:55 a.m. on Smith Street.
Figeroa was arrested after officers noticed the van he was driving swerved and struck a utility pole on Smith Street and continued moving.
He was pulled over a few moments later on Smith Street, and after the vehicle he was driving stopped, he tried to exit through the back door.
Police were able to catch him a few seconds later and based on their observations, concluded that he had been consuming alcohol.
“He tried walking away several times. He was trying to back to his house, but he didn’t make it,” Whitehall Police Chief Matt Dickinson said.
Shortly thereafter Figeroa allegedly offered officers Daniel Price and Jamie Huntington $1400 if they would let him go.
Dickinson praised the conduct of his officers.
“Police are trained not to take bribes. They did the right thing and that’s what police officers are supposed to do.”
He was charged with aggravated DWI after Breathalyzer results revealed he had a blood alcohol level of .22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.
After the arrest, police worked with US Customs and Border Patrol agents and determined that Figueroa was in the country illegally.
Dickinson said the case is an isolated incident and the department has not had problems with illegal immigrants in the past.
Besides the previously mentioned counts, Figueroa was also charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to keep right, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident.
He was arraigned and sent to Washington County Jail pending prosecution.