Mount Vernon Building Commissioner Arrested, Accused Of Drunken Crash

Here are five things you need to know about crime in Westchester County. Video by Jordan Fenster/lohud Wochit

Daniel Jones was arrested in New Rochelle. It was not his first impaired driving arrest.

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(front) Thomas Vallely, Dan Jones' lawyer, and Jones walk out of the New Rochelle City Court.(Photo: Jon Bandler/The Journal News)Buy Photo

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NEW ROCHELLE - A pedestrian had to jump out of the way of the Mount Vernon building commissioner, who was more than twice the legal drinking limit when he crashed his SUV into a car and a tree and drove onto a sidewalk in New Rochelle on Tuesday, police said.

Daniel Jones was arrested around 6:45 p.m. in the parking lot of the Glen Island Center nursing and rehabilitation facility at 490 Pelham Road, New Rochelle police Capt. Cosmo Costa said.

The crash and arrest occurred a few days after Jones made headlines by launching into an unprovoked rant against Comptroller Deborah Reynolds at Mount Vernon City Hall, part of an ongoing feud in Mayor Richard Thomas' administration.

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Mount Vernon Building Commissioner Daniel Jones (Photo: Mount Vernon city website)

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Mount Vernon Buildings Commissioner Daniel Jones was arrested in New Rochelle on Jan. 8, 2019, on driving while intoxicated charges. (Photo: New Rochelle Police Department)

On Tuesday, Costa said, officers found Jones, a 46-year-old Brooklyn resident, in the 2017 Ford Explorer. Jones struck a parked car, then hit a tree, then drove onto a sidewalk, where a pedestrian jumped out of the way, Costa said.

No one was injured, Costa said. Jones' blood-alcohol content was more than 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 percent, Costa said.

Costa said he did not know if the SUV was owned by Mount Vernon, but that it was released to a Mount Vernon police detective. 

“The City of Mount Vernon takes the reported incident very seriously and is conducting a full investigation into the circumstances," Mayor Richard Thomas said in a statement. "He is receiving the appropriate counseling and care following last night’s incident as well as recent incidents of cyber-bullying and harassment directed at him, which resulted in his filing a police report.”

A request for a copy of that police report went unanswered.

Jones was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors. He was released on $240 bail.

He was arraigned in New Rochelle City Court today and pleaded not guilty.  City Judge Anthony Carbone ordered him not to drive anymore and Jones is due back in court on Feb. 6.

Neither Jones nor his lawyer, Thomas Vallely, would comment as they left court.

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Previous DUI in New Jersey

It was not Jones' first impaired driving arrest.

New Jersey state police said he was charged with driving under the influence on Oct. 10, 2014, following an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike near Secaucus.

In processing that arrest, police learned of an active warrant for Jones from Atlantic City Municipal Court.

That warrant related to his failure to appear in court on disorderly conduct and criminal trespass charges stemming from an incident at Caesar's casino in February 2013.

When Jones again failed to appear at a December 2014 court hearing, a new warrant was issued and was still active yesterday, an Atlantic City court clerk told The Journal News.

The disposition of the DUI charge could not be determined.

Jones has license suspensions from Brooklyn and Suffolk County related to failure to pay child support and traffic tickets. Vallely said in court that Jones was under the impression that his paycheck was being garnished for the child support.

Jones sat in court all morning but when the paperwork had not been completed the arraignment was delayed until the afternoon. He stayed in the hallway and then left the building, walked down the street to Fifth Avenue where he was picked up by Mount Vernon Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio, who drove Jones to Mount Vernon City Hall.

An order of protection was issued barring Jones from any contact with a witness in the case, a man who the prosecutor said worked in the building near where Jones was arrested.

Vallely said Jones does not know that person so there was no need for the protective order, but the judge signed it.

Twitter: @MattSpillane

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