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Drunk PA DOC Attorney Charged in Hit-and-Run

Michael Farnan, 40, chief counsel for the Pennsylvania DOC, resigned from his job after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in his state car. Farnan had been drinking heavily when he ran into the back of Tamara Hughes? minivan on November 8, 2006. Hughes, seven months pregnant, was returning home from the hospital after receiving an ultrasound. She was accompanied by her mother, Cindy McGee, her three children and a friend.

After the collision Farnan did not stop. Instead, he crossed the road and drove over some shrubs before continuing down Route 15. According to one witness Farnan then exited at State Hill Road, ran a stop sign and almost hit another vehicle.

A second witness followed Farnan to the Camp Hill State Correctional Institution, where he parked his car and managed to pull some of the branches out from underneath it. Farnan called his wife to come get him and then returned to the scene almost an hour later. After inquiring about the occupants of Hughes? vehicle, Farnan told police he did not initially realize that he had hit anyone.

Farnan was arrested after he staggered so badly that he could not complete the field sobriety test. Police said the gum he was chewing did little to mask the ?one beer? Farnan initially admitted to drinking. He later claimed to have had several beers. A subsequent test showed Farnan?s blood alcohol level was .149 ? almost twice the legal limit of .08.

Hughes? 12-year-old daughter suffered torn ligaments in her back. All three children, including her 5 and 6-year-old sons, suffered back and neck injuries.

?It upset me very much that anyone could have left the scene of the accident. It upset me even more to know that we are taxpaying citizens paying for him to ride around in a state car drunk and hitting people and leaving.... What kind of people are we hiring for these positions or what kind of people are we placing in these positions in our society? It?s pretty distressing,? said Ms. McGee.

The former chief counsel is charged with driving under the influence, failure to give information and render aid, having an accident involving death or personal injury, two counts of failing to obey a traffic control signal, and careless driving and duties at stop signs.

On May 4, 2007, Cumberland County District Judge Charles A. Clement, Jr. ordered Farnan to stand trial on the charges. Although Farnan?s attorney argued that Farnan had fallen asleep at the wheel and only awoke after the accident, Judge Clement found that Farnan?s actions of speeding from the scene and running a stop sign demonstrated ?consciousness of guilt.?
Farman is free without bond pending his trial.

Source: Patriot News

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