Sparta man charged after DWI in school zone

Farrell, 18, due in court April 28

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— A Sparta man is facing several charges after police say he drove his car while under the influence of alcohol in a school zone and crashed into another vehicle.

Raymond J. Farrell, 18, is charged with driving while intoxicated in a school zone during school hours, reckless driving, operating an unsafe vehicle and using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

According to the Sparta Police Department, around 7:44 a.m., April 21, Farrell was driving west on South Shore Trail in a Nissan Altima. He drove at a high rate of speed passed a bus stop with children standing there, police said.

Several witnesses told police that Farrell was talking on his cell phone while driving, according to police.

Farrell lost control of the vehicle when he entered a turn near the parking lot at the Lady of the Lake Church, causing his car to lift off the ground, go into a partial spin and cross over a solid yellow lane, according to police.

The vehicle then crossed a section of grass entering into the church parking lot and crashed into the side of a 1994 Ford Pick-Up Truck, police said.

Farrell fled the scene in his vehicle following the crash, according to police.

The parking lot is used for parents to drop off their children who attend the Rev. George A. Brown Memorial School.

Police pulled Farrell over a short time after the incident when Cpl. Robert Fraser spotted his damaged vehicle on North Shore Trail.

According to police, Farrell failed a series of field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest.

His blood alcohol concentration was more than double the legal limit, according to police.

Farrell was released to a sober adult and is scheduled to appear in Sparta Municipal Court April 28.

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