MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) - The North Collins Fire Chief has had two DWI arrests in the last ten years and Sunday was arrested on his third. On top of answering felony charges, he could lose his job and has a lot of explaining to do.
Michael Mooney, 58, was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with DWI after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident at the Lakeview Hotel in the Chautauqua County Village of Mayville. Authorities say he backed his car into another vehicle in the parking lot and then drove away.
Undersheriff Charles Holder said, "We had a good description of the vehicle, found him behind the wheel."
Holder says Mooney has been twice convicted of DWI and had his license revoked after the latest conviction. Mooney refused to take a field sobriety test.
Those two other convictions were never revealed to neighbors in North Collins, where Mooney has served as fire chief for at least two years.
Fire department applicants are given a background check, prior to joining the squad. But those checks only screen for weapon and drug charges, so Mooney's two other DWI convictions would never have been detected.
Heather Conklin lives in the village.
"He preaches don't drink and drive. We're supposed to count on him to save lives and there he is driving around with no license and getting DWIs," she said.
News 4 tried to reach Mooney, who was bailed out of jail on Monday, but he was nowhere to be found.
Mooney is facing a laundry list of charges, including failure to have an ignition interlock device, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, parking on a highway, felony DWI, and felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.
Mooney is the second public official in the same community to land in trouble with the law recently. Last month, we reported North Collins Highway Superintendent David Winter was arrested on a felony charge of criminal mischief.
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