EDGEWORTH BOROUGH (KDKA) — A local fire chief is facing charges after allegedly driving with a blood alcohol content of more than two times the legal limit.
North Franklin Police Department filed charges Monday against John Schwend, the North Hampton fire chief and Edgeworth Borough township manager.
He’s facing two counts of driving under the influence and one count of reckless driving following a crash on Gibsonia Road, just after 2 a.m. on Dec. 15.
Police tell KDKA it all started at a Christmas party at a fire hall in Etna.
Investigators say the two local chiefs drove home after allegedly drinking at that party. A Hampton Township officer stopped them, but didn’t arrest them, and later that night they got into a crash.
Police tell KDKA that Schwend and another local fire chief were pulled over by a Hampton Township officer who did not arrest them, but drove them to Schwend’s home.
According to police, the other chief was behind the wheel at the time. KDKA is not identifying the other fire chief because he is not charged with a crime.
Northern Regional Police say after the officer dropped the two men off, they ventured back out again.
The arresting officer that responded to the crash noted in the criminal complaint that Schwend’s BAC was more than two times the legal limit, and measured .186 within two hours of the crash.
Police say Schwend was behind the wheel when he crashed into two telephone poles, splitting one in half and taking down power lines.
According to the complaint, the arresting officer said: “I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the defendant’s breath, and the defendant exhibited slurred speech and glossy eyes. The defendant stated he had only consumed 5-6 beers.”
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reached out to both fire chiefs for comment but did not hear back by news time.