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Motorist fined in church crash

October 03, 1997

By TERRY TALBERT

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown man whose vehicle crashed into Trinity Lutheran Church on April 11 pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court on Wednesday to driving while intoxicated.

Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III handed Richard Zarobinski a $400 fine and ordered him to pay $255 in court costs.

Wright said Zarobinski, 43, of the 100 block of North Potomac Street, will lose his driver's license as a result of the guilty plea.

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Zarobinski faced a maximum penalty of one year behind bars and/or a $1,000 fine.

Zarobinski was eastbound on West Bethel Street when he ran a stop sign at the intersection with North Potomac Street, was hit by another car, and his vehicle careened into the church, police said.

No one was seriously hurt in the wreck, police said.

Assistant State's Attorney Joseph S. Michael said Zarobinski had a blood alcohol content of .16, which is evidence of intoxication.

Zarobinski's attorney said his client was drunk when he got behind the wheel. He said Zarobinski was driving his girlfriend to the store at her insistence.

When his head hit the windshield during the accident, Zarobinski's foot went down on the accelerator and the car hit the corner of the church, the attorney said.

Zarobinski hasn't had a drink since the accident, and realizes he has a serious alcohol problem, his attorney said. He has been going to Alcoholics Anonymous on his own, and tried to go to the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., for treatment, but was denied because he had been there for the same reason twice before, his attorney said.

"It's two strikes and you're out there," he said. "They won't take him back."

Zarobinski said he intends to enter another drug treatment program in the Baltimore area.

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