Driver gets probation for May pileup

August 5, 2014
The driver who caused a May 2 pileup in front of Tanger Seaside Outlets received probation on charges of reckless driving while intoxicated and third-degree vehicular assault. Leif Lupien, 44, of Lewes, could face jail time if he fails to meet the requirements of his probation. BY RYAN MAVITY

A Lewes man who pleaded guilty to reckless driving while intoxicated and third-degree vehicular assault was sentenced to probation for causing a five-car accident in front of Tanger Seaside Outlets May 2.

Leif Lupien, 44, of Lewes, entered a guilty plea on the two charges; he was sentenced to six months probation on the vehicular assault charge and 11 months probation for reckless driving.

As a condition of probation, set by Delaware Court of Common Pleas Judge Rosemary Betts Beauregard, Lupien must complete a drug and alcohol rehabilitation course; pay restitution to Angeline Looms and Catherine Diloretto, two of the drivers involved in the accident who sustained injuries; and refrain from using drugs.

If he does not complete the conditions of his probation, Lupien could go to jail. Beauregard said Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles could also suspend his driver’s license. The Department of Justice has 60 days to determine the cost of Lupien’s restitution.

Lupien was originally 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.

Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said on May 2, Lupien was driving northbound on Route 1 before swerving into the southbound turn lane for the Seaside Outlets.

Lupien’s car struck a 2009 Audi A4, driven by Looms, 47, of Boyds, Md., on the driver side.

Police 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 Diloretto, 23, of Lewes.

A search of Lupien’s car uncovered a hypodermic syringe and three blue baggies commonly used to package heroin, court records state.

Upon questioning, Lupien 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.

Lupien, clad in a blue shirt and tie at his Aug. 5 court date and flanked by attorney Michael Capasso, pleaded not guilty after the accident and requested a nonjury trial before changing his plea to guilty under reduced charges.

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