Clarion-Limestone School Board Member Arrested for DUI

LOWER BURRELL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – A member of the Clarion-Limestone School Board was recently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in relation to a traffic stop that occurred last month in Westmoreland County.

Court documents indicate the Lower Burrell Police Department filed criminal charges against 68-year-old Gary Lee Sproul, of Clarion, on September 1.

Sproul serves on the Clarion-Limestone School Board, representing Region I, Clarion Township. His current term is set to expire at the end of 2021, and he is seeking re-election in the November election as a Republican candidate.

According to a criminal complaint, shortly before 1:27 a.m. on August 21, Lower Burrell Police were patrolling the City of Lower Burrell when they observed a 2017 Subaru Forester traveling westbound on Leechburg Clarendon Avenue traveling half in the center left turn only lane and half in the westbound lane.

Police turned around and caught up to the vehicle. The vehicle traveled back into the westbound lane and nearly struck a curb, then made a left turn from the westbound lane, rather than the center turning lane, without utilizing a turn signal, the complaint states.

A traffic stop was then initiated on the vehicle, and police approached the driver, identified as Gary Lee Sproul.

According to the complaint, as soon as police approached his window, Sproul stated, “I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and I have to go to the bathroom.”

The complaint states that while speaking to Sproul, the officers detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and noticed that his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. The complaint also indicates Sproul’s speech was noticeably slurred.

When asked how much alcohol he had consumed that evening, Sproul responded with “one New York,” according to the complaint.

Sproul was then asked to step out of the vehicle to undergo field sobriety testing.

During the first test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, Sproul displayed four of the six possible clues of impairment, and during the second test, the Walk and Turn Test, he displayed eight of the eight possible clues, the complaint indicates.

During a third test, the One Leg Stand Test, the complaint states Sproul skipped a number while counting, put his foot down four times, and almost fell over, displaying a total of three of the four possible clues. He was subsequently advised he was under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence, handcuffed, and placed in a patrol vehicle while police waited for a tow truck to take custody of his vehicle.

While waiting, Sproul discussed his fitness habits with the officers, saying he rides a bicycle approximately 60 miles per week and lifts weights. During the conversation, he reportedly spoke about how much he rides bicycles and how physically fit he is multiple times, according to the complaint.

Sproul was then asked and reportedly agreed to undergo a chemical blood test. He was subsequently transported to the Allegheny Valley Hospital for a legal blood draw.

The complaint does not include the result of the blood testing, but the charges allege his blood alcohol content was .16 percent of higher “pending blood results.”

The following charges were filed against Sproul through Magisterial District Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec’s office (Leechburg, Westmoreland County) on September 1:

– DUI: General Impairment/Incapable of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+), Misdemeanor
– Turning Movements And Required Signals, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on October 19 with Judge Peck-Yakopec presiding.

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