Laughlintown man faces trial on multiple counts
By Nicole Chynoweth
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A Laughlintown man will face trial for charges related to a traffic accident that occurred June 30.
Alexandre Gennadiy Raine, 19, was charged by Ligonier Township Police with corruption of minors, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, careless driving and driving at an unsafe speed after allegedly losing control of his vehicle and wrecking into an embankment along Route 30 near Ligonier Beach.
According to an affidavit filed by Officer Amber L. Noel, Raine told police he lost control of his vehicle coming around a curve after hitting loose gravel.
At a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel, Noel testified when she responded to the accident, the vehicle was overturned in an embankment, and Raine and a passenger were outside of the vehicle.
Noel said both Raine and the passenger appeared to possibly have head injuries. She said his pupils appeared constricted, his speech was slurred, and he did not smell of alcohol, leading her to believe that he could have been under the influence of a controlled substance. She said an EMT unit arrived on scene a few minutes later and transported both Raine and the passenger to Latrobe Area Hospital.
Noel testified that she consulted with her chief about requesting a K9 unit to search the vehicle, as she said Raine had previous incidents in the township, and both Raine and the passenger appeared intoxicated at the time of the accident. During an exterior search, Noel said K9 Blek did indicate a presence of a controlled substance on the front passenger side door.
After impounding the vehicle at Ligonier Township Police Department and obtaining a search warrant, the vehicle was searched, and paraphernalia was found in the passenger's purse, such as one bag of heroin and needles, Noel said. She said a small amount of marijuana was found in the headliner of the vehicle, and empty stamp bags, syringes, razor blades and antidiarrheal caplets were also found within the vehicle.
Noel testified that when she interviewed Raine at the hospital, he admitted to using heroin earlier in the week and marijuana earlier that day. After a blood test, Noel said Raine tested positive for heroin and marijuana.
During a cross examination, Attorney James Fox, representing Raine, asked Noel how she concluded that Raine was under the influence of drugs when she responded to the accident. Noel cited the constriction of Raine's eyes, demeanor and past incidents as her reasoning. When Fox asked Noel if taking a prescription medicine or having a migraine could have caused Raine to have constricted pupils or slurred speech, Noel said such factors could have been a possibility.
Fox requested the charges be dismissed, stating that there was not evidence to substantiate the charges. Thiel denied the motion.
Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti asked on behalf of the Commonwealth that Raine's bond be revoked since he was arrested for another alleged DUI offense in August. Thiel chose to put Raine on pre-trial services.
Raine's formal arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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