Niagara Gazette

November 25, 2013

Two charged with aggravated DWI in separate Newfane crashes

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara County Sheriff's deputies charged two people with aggravated DWI after two separate accidents in Newfane this weekend.

About 7 p.m. Saturday, deputies were sent to a West Creek Road home for a hit-and-run accident. Once on the scene, deputies noted a vehicle left the road on the east side, struck two mailboxes, reentered the road at an angle and hit and a fence on the opposite side of the road before driving off.

While on the scene interviewing a witness deputies were informed that a W. Main Street woman had called dispatch to report that her boyfriend had just returned home with her car and it was heavily damaged.

Deputies hurried to the residence to talk to the woman and found Charles R. Hawk. He admitted he was driving the vehicle and caused the damage, explaining he was trying to avoid a deer. Damage was found on the right side of the car and a piece of the fence from West Creek Road was still stuck in the front fender. Deputies also noted Hawk drove the car home on a flat tire. 

Deputies said Hawk appeared intoxicated and he failed field sobriety tests. An open container of Hurricane malt liquor was found inside the vehicle.

A chemical breath test showed his blood alcohol to be 0.26 percent.

Deputies also noted Hawk was driving with a restricted license for failure to pay child support and there was a limited order of protection against Hawk, protecting the girlfriend. A specific condition of the order of protection states that Hawk must refrain from drinking alcohol.

Hawk, 52, 5771 W. Main St., Olcott, was charged with aggravated DWI (BAC over 0.18 percent), drinking in a vehicle, DWI, license restriction violation, criminal contempt, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and a traffic count

Nearly 24 hours later, deputies were called to Coomer Road for a vehicle that had driven into a ditch. The driver was uninjured but stuck in the vehicle because the doors would not open. 

When deputies arrived about 7 p.m., Julie Ann Austin was still trapped in the vehicle but they noted she showed signs of intoxication. She said she'd been drinking at a Lockport bar prior to the accident. When asked how many drinks she had consumed, she replied, "Too many."

Once free of the vehicle, Austin was asked to perform field sobriety tests, which she failed. A chemical test showed her blood alcohol content to be 0.28 percent.

Deputies noted she was convicted of DWI in 2007 in Newfane. 

Austin, 55, 2596 Coomer Road, Burt, was charged with two counts of aggravated DWI (prior conviction, BAC over 0.18 percent), DWI and a pair of traffic counts.