Frank F. Guddo, 57 of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was convicted by a Queen Anne’s County jury on Friday, February 22, 2019 of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. The case was successfully prosecuted by Michael “Mick” Cuches, Deputy State’s Attorney.
The case arose on May 21, 2018 at approximately 4:53 PM when a concerned citizen called 911 to report seeing the driver of a vehicle slumped over in the driver’s seat at the Welcome Center on Route 301 in Centreville. The Citizen also reported that the driver’s door to Mr. Guddo’s vehicle was wide open, the engine was running and loud music was playing.
Maryland State Police Trooper Corey Thomas responded to the Welcome Center and saw Frank F. Guddo passed out in the driver’s seat with his head hanging down, and chin resting on his chest as well as vomit on his chin, shirt, and pants. Trooper Thomas was able to wake Mr. Guddo up after several attempts and inquired if he needed medical attention. Mr. Guddo said that he did not need medical attention and was “just relaxing.” Trooper Thomas smelled the strong odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the car. The Trooper saw an open beer can in the cup holder of the center console and another beer can on the passenger floorboard. When questioned, Mr. Guddo said he consumed “a lot” of alcohol that afternoon and was coming from the Dover Casinos heading to work at Colosseum Pizza in Centreville. He further stated that he pulled over in the rest area because it was the right thing to do.
Trooper Thomas observed that Mr. Guddo’s speech was slurred and that his movements within the vehicle were slow and lethargic. He then requested Mr. Guddo to step out of the vehicle. Mr. Guddo turned the vehicle’s engine off, took the keys out of the ignition, and dropped them on the passenger’s side floor. Mr. Guddo used his left arm against the car for balance as he walked to the back of the car. While at the back of the car Mr. Guddo submitted to standardized field sobriety testing. Due to his inability to perform these tests satisfactorily, the strong odor of alcohol on his breath and person, and his obvious inebriated state, he was arrested for driving under the influence, read his Miranda warnings, and transported to the State Police Centreville Barracks where he refused to submit to a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol content.
Mr. Guddo elected to be tried by a jury on February 22, 2019. Mr. Guddo argued at trial that he was not ‘driving’ the car when he came in contact with Trooper Thomas; he was not impaired by alcohol; and, that he had been merely sleeping in his car in the Welcome Center parking lot for about 22 hours, since 7:30 PM the night before. On cross-examination Mr. Guddo admitted numerous inconsistencies with his story, his employer’s testimony, and his statements to Trooper Thomas.
Mr. Cuches successfully argued to the jury that overwhelming circumstantial evidence established that Mr. Guddo drove from the Dover Casinos earlier that day, as opposed to the night before, was substantially impaired by alcohol, and was in actual physical control of the vehicle when Trooper Thomas responded to the scene.
This was Mr. Guddo’s second alcohol related driving offense. He was first granted a probation before judgment in 2008 for driving under the influence, per se. In this case, the Honorable Thomas G. Ross sentenced him to serve one year of incarceration at the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center, with all but thirty days suspended, and thereafter placed on thirty six months of supervised probation.