Stories written by Jo Ciavaglia, award-winning multimedia newspaper reporter at the Bucks County Courier Times in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pa.
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Saturday, October 6, 2012
Bucks man facing 7th DUI charge since 1993
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012
Seven is considered a lucky number, but not for Richard Derik Collins.
Seven is the number of times the 41-year-old Yardley man has been charged with driving under the influence in less than 20 years.
Collins’ latest arrest was Aug. 31 in Bensalem, when he was stopped by Pennsylvania State Police on northbound Interstate 95 just north of the Street Road exit, police said.
Mug shots of Richard Collins for DUI arrests
Charges were filed Sept. 12 against Collins for DUI highest rate, meaning his blood alcohol level was above .16, two times the legal driving limit. He also was charged with five summary offenses, including driving while uninsured and speeding.
Court records show that Collins was convicted of DUI in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2005 and 2008.
Seven DUI arrests for one person might sound like a lot, unless you are Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Robert James.
“Unfortunately, not very (unusual),” he said, adding that prosecutors typically see one or two individuals with four or more DUI charges come before the court every three weeks.
Collins is serving his final year of probation stemming from his last DUI-related conviction for fleeing the scene of a two-car crash in 2007 on Route 413 in Middletown that sent three people to the hospital.
Witnesses told police that they saw the driver of the striking vehicle -- later identified as Collins -- get out, walk around the wreck, then run away.
Police apprehended Collins a short time later, walking along the road. Police said he smelled of alcohol, and he refused a blood test to determine how drunk he was. His driver's license had been suspended for DUI-related arrests at the time of the crash.
In November 2008, he pleaded guilty to drunken driving, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, hit and run, driving without a license and related crimes. Bucks County Judge Albert Cepparulo sentenced Collins to 18 to 36 months in prison and four years of probation and fined him $2,500.
At his sentencing, Collins apologized and said that he has not touched alcohol since the crash. His attorney, Ray McHugh, told the judge that his client completed an intensive alcohol rehabilitation program after his arrest.
Collins has been incarcerated in Bucks County prison since Sept. 4 on a detainer, according to online county prison records.
DUI is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, so Collins faces a prison sentence of 2½ to five years, if convicted.