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Judge finds Monongahela man not guilty in DUI case

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 2:26 a.m.

A Monongahela man arrested for DUI two years ago in Forward Township was found not guilty by Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III on Tuesday.

David Jonathan Rae, 39, admitted to the court he was “highly inebriated” on May 7, 2011, when the car he was traveling in struck a gas meter on Williamsport Road in Forward Township, but he denied he was the driver.

He told the court the driver was Charles Ryan, 41, of Monongahela, who was a former roommate of Rae's and testified against him in the case.

Ryan said he and a third occupant were in Rae's red Honda Civic with Rae when the accused man drove off the road and hit the meter. Ryan said he and the other occupant urged Rae to run because of the escaping gas after the wreck but Rae refused, opting instead to get into the backseat of the car and fasten the seat belts.

A police officer who testified in the case said Ryan stated at the time of the accident that Rae had switched places in the car because he was trying to avoid another DUI arrest. It was noted in court that Ryan also had a previous criminal record.

Rae said the accident happened while Ryan was driving on an errand to buy drugs. Ryan had earlier testified that Rae had gone out to buy alcohol and that he had accepted a ride from him because he had no other means of transportation.

A sobriety test following the accident revealed Rae had a blood alcohol level of .339 percent, according to police.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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