OAKLAND — A local man who was killed in a suspected drunken-driving accident early Saturday in Smithfield six hours after he was charged with operating under the influence in Oakland, had been charged, released and driven home by an Oakland police officer.
Paul L. Caret, 26, of Oakland died after his car left East Pond Road in Smithfield, struck some large rocks and hit a tree, according to Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.
Caret had been stopped by Oakland police on Smithfield Road about 1 a.m. and charged with OUI and operating after suspension, Sgt. David Savage of the Oakland Police Department said Monday.
The stop was close to the home of a friend of Caret’s, who allowed him to leave his 1995 Honda Civic there while police took him to the station to be processed.
Caret was booked and driven home about 2 a.m. to Oak Street, where he lived with his mother, Savage said.
“We have no idea what he did from 2 o’clock to 6 or 6:30 when he picked his car up,” Savage said. “We have no idea how he got there or what he had done in those four or five hours.”
Savage said Caret was issued summonses on the charges and was not arrested and taken to jail because he was a local man who had lived his whole life in Oakland and there was no concern that he would not show up for court.
Savage said Caret’s home on Oak Street is a couple of miles from the friend’s house where Caret had left his car.
“The police gave him a ride home so he wasn’t out walking around intoxicated,” Savage said.
Caret was driving north on East Pond Road in Smithfield on the wrong side of the road about 6:45 a.m. when he apparently lost control of the car on a gradual curve and went off the road, Lancaster said.
Lancaster said speed and alcohol appear to have been factors in the crash. A blood-alcohol test will be performed, as is standard procedure in a fatal accident, he said.
Lancaster said Caret was alone in the car at the time of the accident. He was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
Lancaster said there were skid marks on the road where Caret had attempted to stop.
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