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CMU prof charged with three DUIs enters rehab

| Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008

A Carnegie Mellon University professor who was arrested three times in eight days for drunken driving has checked into a Virginia treatment center for alcoholism, his attorney said Friday.

Because Jeffrey Hunker, 51, of Squirrel Hill will spend 28 days in the Mt. Regis Center in Salem, Va., an Allegheny County judge declined to send the professor to jail pending his preliminary hearing as prosecutors had asked.

"I am in agreement that he is a danger to the community," Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani said. "Since he appears to be addressing his issues, I don't want to put an onus on somebody who is voluntarily addressing the problem."

James Cirilano, Hunker's attorney, said his client is getting the treatment he needs.

"Mr. Hunker is a very talented individual, but this sort of thing cuts across society," Cirilano said. "He intends to get his behavior under control."

Assistant District Attorney Bob Linsenmayer was unaware Hunker had checked into the treatment center on Wednesday until yesterday's hearing. Linsenmayer said Hunker is a danger to himself and the community but agreed that the Mt. Regis Center's program was sufficient as long as Hunker was off of the streets.

"We know he drinks in excess and gets behind the wheel of a car," Linsenmayer said.

Hunker was arrested Aug. 17 after he drove through a neighbor's yard, ran over a small tree and hit another neighbor's porch railing and house, police said. Two Breathalyzer tests showed his blood alcohol level at .262 percent and .271 percent, police said. The legal limit is .08 percent.

The next day, Hunker was arrested at 11 a.m. after one of the same officers involved in the previous day's arrest noticed Hunker's BMW traveling on North Craig Street with heavy rear-end damage and no brake lights. Tests showed Hunker's blood alcohol level at .173 percent and .167 percent, police reported.

Officers responded on Sunday to Hunker's home for a report of a suicidal male. When they arrived at the house, Hunker had already left. An officer spotted Hunker driving and pulled him over.

Hunker told police he drank a pint of vodka. He failed his field sobriety tests but refused a Breathalyzer test, police said.

Mariani ordered Hunker not to drive and not to drink as a condition of his bond. Hunker must provide documentation to county officials as proof he completed his program and submit to weekly urine screens to test for alcohol.

Teresa Thomas, a spokeswoman for Carnegie Mellon, said Hunker is an adjunct faculty professor of technology and policy at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

Hunker has not taught any classes since he went to adjunct status on Aug. 1, 2007, Thomas said.

He was the dean of the school in 2001, but took a personal leave and was replaced by Mark Wessel, who resigned earlier this month.

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