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Drunk driver blames crash on “Jerry Garcia�

Kanada Kev

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TOWN OF TONAWANDA — A man tried to blame a weekend drunken driving crash on a drug dealer whom he thought looked like Jerry Garcia, town police reported.

In addition, he asked officers if they’d allow him to smoke the marijuana he was caught with.

Police at 1:05 a.m. Saturday charged Rodney V. Mongold with aggravated DWI, unlawful possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of an accident and moving from his lane unsafely.

At first, Mongold told officers a less drunk guy named “Jerry†was driving his van at the time of the accident on Brighton Road, and that “Jerry†was going to borrow Mongold’s van for the night.

However, Mongold couldn’t answer officers’ questions about “Jerry,†and also couldn’t explain why he was able to provide the keys to his van when police asked for them.

Mongold eventually admitted to fabricating the story about “Jerry†in an effort to avoid being arrested and used that name because the guy he purchased some marijuana from at a bar looked like Jerry Garcia, the late leader of The Grateful Dead.

While searching Mongold for weapons, police found a small bag of pot in his jacket pocket. Mongold allegedly asked officers, “Could I smoke that weed? I deserve it.â€

After admitting he caused the accident, Mongold explained to officers that he tried to pull up alongside a car that had cut him off — to give that driver the finger — when he lost control of his van and crashed it on the lawn of Brighton Community Church on Brighton Road.

Mongold left his van and fled the scene, running through several backyards. Police located him a short time later on a nearby street. He told officers that he left the scene because he was “really drunk†and was afraid of getting arrested, according to police reports.

Police said Mongold failed several field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol content of 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit.

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