Hartford, CT- So many people don’t think about the ramifications of intoxicated driving when they get behind the wheel, but they soon learn, this charge can have costs beyond the fines and penalties. A Hartford City employee learned this week that drunken driving in a city-owned vehicle can cost a person their job.
Late last Saturday, Hartford Police responded to a two car collision at Prospect and Farmington Avenues. One car was totaled and the other sustained significant damage. Police noticed that one of the drivers had red, glassy eyes, smelled strongly of alcohol and had “thick, slurred speech.”
That driver was identified as Rhonda Moniz-Carroll, the city’s deputy public works director, and she was driving a Ford Escape, owned by the city, which was totaled after she crossed over into the other lane and slammed into a Nissan Altima.
During their preliminary investigation, police discovered Moniz-Carroll was responsible for the collision.
The driver of the Nissan Altima, Caitlin Greenbaum, was taken to the hospital with a minor injury to her ankle.
“Based on the area of the impact, I determined Rhonda Moniz-Carroll crossed the double-yellow line and struck [another] vehicle that was traveling north on Prospect,” an officer wrote in a report, according to the Hartford Courant.
When police approached Moniz-Carroll’s vehicle she showed signs of intoxication including “blood shot eyes,” “droopy eyelids” and slurred speech. Officers also noted that while performing field sobriety tests, Moniz-Carroll “swayed while trying to balance” herself and “would look in the opposite direction of the stimulus in an apparent attempt to sabotage the test,” according to an incident report, per the Courant.
Moniz-Carroll initially told police that she did not have anything to drink that night, but during the course of the interview she finally conceded that she had one glass of wine at a friend’s house at 11 a.m. that morning; the accident took place at 9:30 p.m.
She also got indignant with officers during the interview, asking them: “Are you serious? You’re going to arrest me! Do you know who I am?”
Moniz-Carroll was arrested, but refused to take a breathalyzer test at the police station and continued to be enraged that she was being arrested. She was later charged with intoxicate driving and failure to stay in the proper lane.
Hartford City Mayor, Pedro Segarra, fired Moniz-Carroll on Monday after learning of her arrest and the damage done to the city vehicle.
Moniz-Carroll learned the hard way that driving a city-owned vehicle while intoxicated is an offense that can get you fired. While not all employers take a hardline on DUIs like the Mayor Segarra did, an intoxicated driving conviction can affect a person’s job or jeopardize future job prospects, especially if carrying out your duties involves driving.
In Connecticut, if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test you could automatically lose your driver’s license. If your job involves driving, you could lose that job. Even if you submit to breathalyzer and happen to be convicted of intoxicated driving, you will still lose your license from 6 months to a year, even longer depending on previous convictions and blood alcohol content.