October DWI Not Rooney’s First Arrest

T. E. McMorrow
Lisa Rooney, being led into East Hampton Town Justice Court

October 30 was not the first time Lisa Rooney, the Montauk woman who allegedly was drunk when her vehicle struck and killed a bicyclist, had been arrested by East Hampton Town police.

On the night of August 10, 2018, Rooney was tending bar at Liar’s Saloon in Montauk when she allegedly served two beers to an 18-year-old undercover agent. Rooney failed to proof the young woman, police said. The arrest was part of a sweep in Montauk that night by the town police to enforce State Liquor Authority regulations regarding the sale of alcohol to minors.

Rooney was placed under arrest, charged with a misdemeanor crime for selling alcohol to an underage buyer, the police said. She was taken to headquarters, processed, and released, with an appearance ticket, to be arraigned in front of Justice Lisa Rana August 29.

Her attorney on August 29 was Christopher Carillo, the same attorney who represented Rooney after her October 30 arrest. Carillo’s family owns Liar’s Saloon.

Rooney’s initial case was adjourned to October 11, 2018. At that point, it was agreed that as long as Rooney stayed out of trouble for six months, the case would be dismissed, which it was in April of this year. The court file was sealed. None of this was unusual for a first-time offender. Three others arrested at other Montauk bars that night on the same charge received the same treatment.

On October 30, starting at 6:04 PM, after the accident which killed John James Usma-Quintero, a Colombian in Montauk on a work visa, police received two calls reporting the accident. Police were on the scene at 6:08, and an officer questioned Rooney, who apparently had exited the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado police said she was driving. “I swerved to avoid a car in the middle of the road,” she allegedly told police.

At 6:34, after failing sobriety tests, Rooney was charged with driving while intoxicated, and was taken to headquarters. There, she was asked to take a blood test. She wrote on the request form, in large, scrawling script, “Refuse.” On another form, an officer notated that Carillo arrived at police headquarters in Wainscott at 7:56 PM, and “advised no further questions for his client.”

Police later obtained a warrant from a judge, forcing Rooney to have blood drawn. At 9:33 PM, three and a half hours after the accident, blood was finally drawn.

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