Hearing Set for Woman Accused of DUI, Child Endangerment

PUNXSUTAWNEY BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – A hearing date has been set for a 27-year-old woman facing DUI, child endangerment, and related charges following a traffic stop in Punxsutawney.

Court documents indicate 27-year-old Shawna Shay Bortz, of Johnstown, is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 24, on the following charges:

– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– DUI: Controlled Substance – Schedule 1 – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– DUI: Controlled Substance – Schedule 2 or 3 – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– DUI: Controlled Substance – Metabolite – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– DUI: Controlled Substance – Impaired Ability – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Failure To Carry Registration, Summary
– Operate Vehicle Without Required Financial Responsibility, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Operate Vehicle Without Valid Inspection, Summary

The charges stem from a drug incident that occurred in Punxsutawney on July 7 involving Shawna Bortz.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, Corporal Means, of the Punxsutawney-based State Police, was on North Gilpin Street at the intersection of West Mahoning Street in Punxsutawney at a red light when he observed a maroon Hyundai Santa Fe on South Gilpin Street operated by a female whose mannerisms “did not seem normal.”

The female driver seemed to have exaggerated reflexes and movements that appeared to possibly be drug-related, according to the complaint.

When the light turned green, the woman drove through the intersection onto North Gilpin Street and Cpl. Means made several left turns to circle around behind the vehicle. While turning onto Pine Street, Corporal Means noted the Hyundai on North Gilpin Street at the intersection of Pine Street making a right turn onto Pine Street. The driver appeared to make a wider turn than necessary, according to the complaint.

Corporal Means then turned around in the intersection to get behind the vehicle and followed it to the traffic light on Pine Street at its intersection with North Findley Street.

The complaint notes that Corporal Means observed the Hyundai crossing over the double yellow lines near the intersection, then returning to its lane. He also noted that at the red light, the driver of the Hyundai pulled into the intersection rather than stopping behind the crosswalk.

As the light turned green, the Hyundai turned left onto North Findley Street and began traveling northbound. Corporal Means continued to follow and observed the vehicle weaving within its lane of travel. At the intersection with Park Avenue, the driver of the Hyundai executed a right turn and in doing so, again made a wider than necessary turn, the complaint continues.

At the apex of the hill on Park Avenue, Corporal Means activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop. While doing so, he observed the Hyundai continue to weave and nearly strike the curb on the right side of Park Avenue.

According to the complaint, the driver was slow to respond but did pull over into the rear parking lot of the old Wellington Heights Nursing Home. Corporal Means then approached the vehicle where he made contact with the driver, identified as Shawna Shay Bortz, and a female infant, secured in a rear-facing child safety seat in the right rear seat of the vehicle.

Corporal Means noted that when he made contact with Bortz, she seemed indifferent. He informed her of the reason for the stop and requested her driver’s license, registration, and insurance card. Corporal Means noted the inspection was expired in June of 2019, but a line was drawn over the “6” in an effort to make it appear as though it was an “8,” according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that Bortz related she knew that the inspection was expired and that her significant other drew the line after she told him not to. Bortz also allegedly fumbled through her documents and produced her driver’s license, but nothing more.

According to the complaint, Corporal Means noted that Bortz speech was raspy, and she was talkative, but her speech was slurred. After obtaining her information, Corporal Means asked Bortz if she was taking any type of medication, and Bortz said that she was taking Zoloft, Hydroxyzine, and suboxone. Bortz was then asked to exit the vehicle in order to undergo standardized field sobriety testing.

Once out of the vehicle, Bortz performed multiple tests. She showed significant signs and indicators of being impaired by a controlled substance and was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI, the complaint indicates.

Corporal Means requested an additional unit to the scene and made arrangements for the child to be picked up. Bortz was transported to the PSP Punxsutawney station where a drug influence evaluation was performed. The evaluation found that Bortz was likely impaired by at least one CNS Stimulant, at least one narcotic analgesic, and cannabis. She was then transported to the Punxsutawney Area Hospital for a chemical blood test, the complaint states.

The complaint notes that after Bortz consented to the test, several attempts were made with no success due to Bortz having poor veins due to alleged prolonged use of heroin. Bortz indicated she had not used heroin in approximately five years but copes with her addiction through the use of suboxone and marijuana. At a later time, and RN Supervisor was able to extract blood which was labeled and transported back to the state police barracks and entered into evidence and sent to NMS Labs for testing. The lab report from NMS Labs showed Bortz had amphetamine, methamphetamine, Clonazepam, 7-Amino Clonazepam, Delta-9 Carboxy THC, Delta-9 THC, and Norbuprenorphine in her system, the complaint continues.

Charges were filed against Bortz through Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock on Tuesday, August 6.

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