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DWI conviction upheld for Edgewater man who said he thought he’d been kidnapped

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CVP: An Edgewater man who police said they found urinating next to his pickup truck failed to have his drunk driving conviction overturned in Hackensack.

Pyong Chun Hwang did get his driver’s license suspension reduced from a year to seven months and the time he must use a breath-alcohol interlock device from a year six months.

“It’s reasonable for a first offense,” Superior Court Judge James J. Guida said Friday.

Hwang had testified during his Municipal Court trial in Edgewater trial on April 24 that he couldn’t clearly recall what happened the night of Oct. 29 after he got drunk at the Crowne Plaza in Palisades Park.

An acquaintance testified that he summoned car service because his friend wasn’t fit to drive.

Hwang got into the passenger seat of his own pickup truck, and a driver took him home, with a chase car behind.

Hwang told Municipal Judge Robert Cohan that je awoke in his truck in Edgewater 16 minutes later believing he’d been kidnapped. He said he struggled with the driver, who stopped the truck in the parking lot and left.

He then got out to relieve himself, Hwang said.

Edgewater Detective Sgt. Steve Tibus found the car keys 10 feet or so away in some weeds when he pulled up a short time later, Hwang’s defense attorney said, adding that this client was struggling to fasten his pants when the sergeant arrived.

Tibus said he passed Hwang’s truck on River Road a short time earlier and “there was only one person in the vehicle.”

The officer testified that he saw someone “drive over a curb into the parking lot of the Chase Bank. It was about 9:30 p.m., and there were no other vehicles or people in the parking lot.”

Hwang’s blood-alcohol level also tested at .21, two and a half times the legal limit.

Guida called Hwang’s account “unbelievable.”

“Something happened between Palisades Park and Edgewater, but what Mr. Hwang says isn’t credible,” the judge added.

Hwang “has admitted in the past drinking a full bottle of Jamesons by himself,” Guida said, “and he probably did so on that night.”

STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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