Former Whitpain Police officer, Gerald John Schwartz, will find himself in an odd seat at the courthouse. Instead of testifying against a criminal, he is the accused.
The officer was cited by Whitemarsh police for allegedly driving under the influence back in 2011. All told, he'll face charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of a combination of alcohol and the controlled substance oxycodone and harassment in connection with the alleged 3:16 a.m. Aug. 27, 2011, incident in Whitemarsh, according to police reports.
According to an article in the Ambler Gazette, Schwartz will face a non-juried trial on Feb. 20. Schwartz, 47, of Burholme Avenue, Philadelphia, will have to stand trial before Montgomery County Judge Joseph A. Smyth, said the article.
"With the charges, authorities alleged Schwartz had a blood-alcohol content of 0.26 percent, which is more than three times the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent for Pennsylvania drivers, at the time of the alleged incident in Whitemarsh," said the Gazette. "An analysis of a blood draw also found traces of oxycodone in Schwartz’s blood sample, according to the criminal complaint."
According to the report, Schwartz had been with the Whitpain Police Department since Aug. 1, 1988, where he worked as a patrolman.
The prosecution in the case alleges that Schwartz was drinking prior to an argument with his wife.
"He was slurring. He had bloodshot eyes and he did smell of alcohol," Whitemarsh Police Officer Michael Hannon testified for Assistant District Attorney Wallis Brooks, according to the Gazette report.
Another Whitemarsh officer also testified in the pretrial.
"[The victim] stated she was struck several times: three times on the left shoulder, once on the jaw and once on the left leg,” Cpl. Howard Laskey wrote in the arrest affidavit. "His eyes were glassy and bloodshot. I believe he was intoxicated, under the influence of alcohol."
Schwartz was also observed, according to testimony, to be driving erratically and swerving. He stopped in the area of the 500 block of Bethlehem Pike, when a woman passing by asked if he was alright.
"Schwartz allegedly called the woman a derogatory term and she took the keys, got out of the vehicle and called 911, according to testimony," said the Gazette.
Schwartz was released by the Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors in February of 2011 in a "settlement and release agreement," said the story.
Following the pretrial, a date was set for Schwartz's courtdate.
"The judge set the trial date after finding prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to support Schwartz’s arrest, essentially denying Schwartz’s request that the evidence be suppressed and the charges dismissed," said the Gazette. "Schwartz remains free on $2,000 unsecured bail pending trial."
For the full account of the alleged events and upcoming court case, visit Ambler Gazette story here.