Western Wayne School Director Sentenced to Prison

By Eric Deabill | edeabill@pahomepage.com

Published 08/28 2014 05:16PM

Updated 08/28 2014 08:17PM

A Western Wayne School Board member is behind bars tonight for driving under the influence of alcohol but he says he has no plans to resign.

A.J. Guadenzi was sentenced Thursday morning for a drunk driving crash where he was three times the legal limit.

It wasn't his first brush with the law.

Guadenzi apologized in court just before his sentencing, saying he has a problem with alcohol and is already seeking treatment.

A judge sentenced him to between 30 days and six months behind bars.

The judge indicated this was his second DUI, in addition to seven other summary convictions for alcohol-related incidents since 2005.

As he was led out of the Wayne County Courthouse, Guadenzi offered an apology.

"I'd like to apologize to the entire Western Wayne School District and community for the act that I've committed," Guadenzi said. When asked if he hopes student learn from his mistakes, Guadenzi said, "Yes sir, I do."

Guadenzi's attorney was hoping his client could avoid jail and serve his sentence under house arrest.

"I'm disappointed in today's outcome just because of the fact that I know A.J. I know the type of kid he is when he's not drinking," defense attorney Bernie Brown said.

The 28-year-old admitted he was drunk when he crashed into a fire hydrant on Gravity Planes Road in Waymart in January and left the scene.

He was tracked down by police. His blood alcohol content at the time was .246.

"I like the guy. I mean, he's a good guy, a good friend and it's sad," Dawn Lepkowski said.

At the Belmont Café in Waymart, many people know Guadenzi and like him. They know he's a school director but say he's human just like everyone else.

"He does have a lot of good ideas. He's a very intelligent man and it all comes down to the voters. Nobody's asked for a resignation as of yet, that we know of, so it's up to everyone," Lepkowski said.

After hearing this DUI was Guadenzi's second DUI conviction and that he's had even more incidents in the past, many people weren't surprised he went to jail.

"I didn't totally know about all of his record but with this DUI, at this particular point, by the sounds of it, it would have been anybody else. We would get the same treatment," Lee Bender of Waymart said.

With Guadenzi looking to stay on the school board, some don't know if they'd vote for him again.

"That would be something that I would have to sit down and think about for a bit," Bender said.

Gaudenzi's 30 day to six month prison sentence is the mandatory minimum allowed under law because it's his second conviction for DUI in less than ten years.

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