BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — An underage Taylor County man has been charged with a DUI after he drove into a deputy cruiser head-on while drunk.
On May 3, deputies with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the area of Corbin Branch Road in Taylor County where another deputy’s cruiser had been hit by a vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
The deputy’s cruiser was traveling in the eastbound lane of W.Va. Rt. 73 when a white Toyota Tacoma had collided with it “head on.” A third vehicle was partly in the ditch at the time, according to deputies.
Sheriff Terry Austin told 12 News that the deputy had been assisting with the vehicle in the ditch when Tacoma came around the turn “at highways speeds” and hit both the deputy and his cruiser. The deputy was sent to Ruby Memorial Hospital for his injuries.
Deputies were able to identify the driver of the Tacoma as Joseph Dingeldein, 19, of Flemington. He said that he came around the turn and didn’t see the vehicle lights until the last minute. He tried to avoid the crash, but struck the vehicle, according to the complaint. Dingeldein also said, “he attempted to provide aid to the injured [deputy].”
Deputies said they could smell alcohol on Dingeldein’s breath and that his eyes were red.
Deputies administered a preliminary breath test, which Dingeldein failed; Dingeldein also failed the “on leg stand” test and “took the wrong number of steps” during the “walk and turn” test, according to the complaint.
When Dingeldein was given a secondary chemical test two hours after the initial accident, his BAC was .127. He declined to answer questions related to alcohol consumption or impairment and claimed that “he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages after the crash,” deputies said.
The injured deputy had two staples put into his head injury, had a gouge in his leg with missing tissue, was suspected to have hip/pelvis injuries and possibly broken bones in both legs. That deputy is still at Ruby Memorial Hospital undergoing treatment, according to the complaint.
Dingeldein has been charged with DUI causing injury. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident was charged with a DUI as a result of the incident, as well, the complaint states. Dingeldein and the other driver were not injured in the collision.