Plum foster mom to go to trial on DUI charge

By Paul Peirce, TRIBUNE-REVIEW

An Allegheny County woman accused last summer of driving under the influence on Interstate 70 with five foster children in her vehicle waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Catarina Jean Delgiacco of Holiday Park Drive, Plum, will stand trial in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court on charges filed by Rostraver Police of driving under the influence of alcohol, five counts of reckless endangerment, five counts of endangering the welfare of children and failing to use proper restraint systems.

Delgiacco was charged after a traffic stop at 2:08 a.m. July 15. Police said the woman had been celebrating her 60th birthday two hours earlier with family members in the Mon Valley.

Police Officer Joseph D. Spinola wrote in an affidavit of probable cause that he saw Delgiacco's 2008 GMC Yukon driving erratically -- crossing the white fog lines and nearly hitting a concrete barrier as she drove east near the Arnold City exit.

When Spinola pulled Delgiacco's car over, he noticed a strong odor of alcohol and that her speech was slurred, according to the affidavit filed before West Newton District Judge Charles Christner. In the rear seat, Spinola said, were five young children who he later determined were between ages 2 and 10.

The two youngest passengers, age 2 and 5, wore seat belts but were not properly restrained in car seats as required by state law, according to police.

Spinola said Delgiacco failed three field sobriety tests at the scene.

The children were released to family members. Delgiacco was taken to Mon Valley Hospital in Carroll Township, Washington County, to have blood drawn. Police reported a portable alcohol breath device indicated her blood-alcohol content was 0.16 percent, or twice the legal limit, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Delgiacco's status with the Westmoreland County Children's Bureau as a foster parent in light of the arrest could not be determined yesterday afternoon.

She was ordered to appear Nov. 16 before Judge Debra Pezze for formal arraignment. She remains free on recognizance bond.