Amagansett School Board President Charged With DWI

Amagansett School
Amagansett School

Two one-vehicle crashes over the weekend resulted in the drivers involved being placed under arrest by East Hampton Town police on drunken driving charges.

The first arrest was that of Amagansett School Board President Kristen Peterson. The 52-year-old Amagansett resident was driving a 2008 Mercedes Benz on Abrahams Landing Road a little after midnight Friday, April 3, when she allegedly lost control of the car and crashed near Scrimshaw Lane. An officer responding to a 911 call reporting the incident said he found Peterson intoxicated behind the wheel. She failed sobriety tests and was placed under arrest.

At police headquarters, she allegedly refused to take a breath test. Peterson was arraigned by East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky Saturday morning via a Skype teleconference. Peterson was represented by Carl Irace for the arraignment. Irace first conferenced with Peterson after she was placed in a private room at police headquarters. Police are not allowed to be present during a lawyer’s conversation with a defendant.

Because Peterson allegedly refused the breath test, Tekulsky suspended her driving privileges during the arraignment, pending a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles on April 17. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that hearing likely will not happen. Irace said Monday that, under those circumstances, the suspension of a defendant’s license would no longer be in effect after 15 days. Peterson could continue driving after that until a DMV hearing were to be held.

Peterson’s criminal charge was as a first-time offender at the misdemeanor level.

The second incident that led to DWI charges involved two crashes, police said. They occurred a little after noon on Sunday.

Jonathan Ivan Pena-Tacuri, 24, also of Amagansett, was driving a 2015 Chevrolet pickup when he veered off Alewive Brook Road in Northwest Woods, striking a tree. According to the police, Pena-Tacuri left the scene of the accident, despite having a badly-damaged front end. He left his front bumper behind, and drove to Damark’s Deli in Springs. In the parking lot, police said he T-boned a Chevy pickup that was parked there.

Police were called, and Pena-Tacuri was eventually placed under arrest. Besides a misdemeanor DWI charge, he was hit with felony unlicensed driving.

It is the third time East Hampton Town police have arrested Pena-Tacuri on misdemeanor DWI charges since 2017, though he has never actually been convicted of the criminal charge. After his 2017 arrest, he plea bargained down to a simple violation of driving with ability impaired. Three months after entering that plea, on July 4, 2018, Pena-Tacuri was arrested again on a misdemeanor DWI charge after an incident on Napeague Stretch. The legal outcome of that arrest is not clear.

After Sunday’s arrest, Pena-Tacuri also refused to take a breath test. A DMV hearing was scheduled during his Monday morning teleconferenced arraignment. Unlike Peterson, however, Pena-Tacuri’s driving privileges will remain suspended no matter the outcome, unless he manages to undo his three-times-over suspensions and revocations of his driving privileges currently in place.

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana presided over Kristen Peterson’s arraignment.

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