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Night of Drinking for Palmer Officer, Court Records Say

Veteran Palmer Township police officer had blood-alcohol content four times legal limit.

A veteran Palmer Township police officer admitted to a night of beer drinking, but said she doesn’t remember what happened when the Jeep Wrangler she was driving slammed into a tree not far from her home, shearing off the tree completely and uprooting it.

Court records also say the following about the Saturday night crash involving Susan E. Siegfried:

--Her blood-alcohol content was 0.32 percent – four times the legal limit.

--Two women who witnessed the crash found Siegfried with a bloodied face, stumbling in front of the Jeep, falling to the ground and repeatedly trying to stand back up as she kept stumbling.

--Siegfried “continually” told a township officer who spoke to her after the crash, “I’m f----- up.” The officer said she had red, glassy eyes, he could smell a strong odor of alcohol from her breath, and she talked with “incoherent and slurred speech.”

--One of the women came out of her house in her pajamas to assist the driver, whom she recognized as her neighbor, Susan Siegfried. The woman said Siegfried “had blood all over the right side of her face and she was intoxicated.” She helped walk Siegfried to her apartment and drove the Jeep to Siegfried’s residence.

--A rescue crew took Siegfried to an ambulance “as she stumbled and swayed from side to side, almost falling over,” the officer said.

Siegfried, 49, of the 300 block of S. Nulton Avenue, has been placed on administrative leave, township police Chief Larry Palmer said Thursday.

Siegfried was charged with two counts of DUI – one for property damage and one for the 0.32 percent blood-alcohol content. Both DUIs are first-time offenses, Palmer said in a news release. She also was charged with careless driving.

The charges were mailed to Siegfried in a summons. Police filed a criminal complaint Thursday with District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer.

Other details from the complaint, filed by township Lt. Thomas Trinchere, include the following:

--Siegfried’s red 2000 Jeep Wrangler was going south on S. Nulton Avenue when it crossed over the northbound lane into a field, then traveled back across both lanes of S. Nulton, went up over a curb along the southbound lane and struck and knocked over the tree.

--Officer Patrick Clinese was dispatched to 351 S. Nulton at 11:14pm. He saw the uprooted tree lying across the sidewalk but did not see a vehicle. The tree is owned by Vance Pfeiffer of Springfield Way – the north-south street just west of S. Nulton.

--Clinese talked to Jaime Stewart, one of the two women who witnessed the crash. Stewart said she was driving home about 11:20pm when she saw the Jeep on the side of the road and a “tall blonde woman [Siegfried] stumbling.” She later saw a woman in pajamas come out and sit next to Siegfried. The two crossed S. Nulton and entered a building.

--The woman in pajamas, Stacey Dravuschak, told Clinese that around 11:15pm, she noticed headlights flashing in her home’s window. She looked outside and saw a red Jeep hit a tree across the street from her home. She went outside to help and saw the woman involved was Siegfried, her neighbor.

--Dravuschak said Siegfried asked her – and she agreed -- to drive the Jeep to Siegfried’s home, “around the corner from where the crash occurred.”

--Stewart directed police and an ambulance crew to Siegfried’s apartment. The Jeep, registered to Siegfried, had damage to the right front bumper.

--Clinese found Siegfried sitting in a stairwell. Another officer asked Siegfried “if she was drinking and driving tonight.” She acknowledged she was but had no passengers in the Jeep.

--Siegfried said she didn’t remember what happened, only that her neighbor who was wearing pajamas had moved the Jeep from the roadway.

--She was taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital, Fountain Hill, where Trinchere interviewed her. She said she was drinking beer. She also remembered driving on S. Nulton. “When asked about the accident, she stated she did not know what happened,” Trinchere said.

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