Lewes man charged with DUI in five-car crash

Leif Lupien also faces vehicular assault charge in May 2 collisions
May 5, 2014

A Lewes man has been charged with vehicular assault and DUI in connection with a five-car crash May 2 at Tanger Seaside Outlets on Route 1 that left two cars straddling the median.

Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, spokesman for Delaware State Police, said at 1:15 p.m., Leif Lupien, 44, of Lewes, was driving his 1996 Dodge Ram pickup truck in the northbound lane of Route 1 just south of Sea Air Avenue when for unknown reasons, he crossed the intersection into the southbound turn lanes. Lupien's truck struck a 2009 Audi A4, driven by Angeline Looms, 47, of Boyds, Md., on the driver side.

Fournier said the bumper of the truck was dislodged by the crash and hit a 2005 Mazda RX8, causing minor damage. Lupien's truck continued the wrong way in the southbound turn lanes, hitting a 2004 Lexus 330, driven by Joyce Turpin, 53, of Georgetown, and then a 2003 Saab 93, driven by Catherine Diloretto, 23, of Lewes.

Diloretto's Saab and Lupien's truck ended up straddling the median, while the other cars came to rest in the turn lanes, both with front-end damage.

Lupien, who was not wearing his seat belt, suffered minor facial injuries but did not require immediate medical attention, Fournier said.

According to court documents available at Justice of the Peace Court 2, Lupien was erratic and could not stand still. A search of his car uncovered a hypodermic syringe and three blue baggies commonly used to package heroin, court records state.

Upon questioning, he admitted to heroin use the day before and had taken suboxone, court records state. Lupien could not provide any information about the collision other than he must have fallen asleep, court records state.

He was charged with second-degree vehicular assault, DUI-drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to remain in a single lane and driving on the wrong side of the road. He was arraigned at Justice on the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $4,000 secured bond.

A 77-year-old woman, who was a passenger in the Lexus, was taken to Beebe Healthcare with non-life-threatening injuries. Fournier said May 5 her status is unknown. Everyone else in the crash was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured, he said.

Traffic was backed up as far as the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal in the northbound lane and as far as the Safeway supermarket on the southbound side. Fournier said it took two-and-a-half hours before the crash was investigated and cleared.

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