N.J. attorney facing drunk driving charges appears for initial court appearance

ST. CROIX – Christopher Coleman, a New Jersey lawyer, made his 1st court appearance in V.I. Magistrate Court on Thursday morning. This time he was not representing any individual but he was a defendant charged with causing an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol in which police said he struck a parked vehicle and two bystanders.

None of the bystanders suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash.

On Thursday morning, a long-time compliance attorney for HOVENSA was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and negligent driving.

2 men told police officers that they were doing some work under a friend’s vehicle outside a Gallows Bay bar around 3 a.m. on Thursday. When a vehicle driven by a white woman approached, the driver lost control, spun out and struck the car with them under it, as shown by the court documents filed in the case. One of the men told police officer that Coleman’s vehicle did not stop immediately, so the man scrambled out from under the car and pursued as Coleman’s vehicle went over a concrete hump in the road and slowly came to a stop several yards away from the accident spot. After that, they called the police at the scene.

The bystanders initially thought Coleman was a woman due to the reason that when he was taken into custody, he was wearing a wig and lipstick and was dressed in women’s clothing.

According to the police, when they arrived on the scene, they found Coleman and the two bystanders who sustained minor injuries waiting at the scene for them.

The booking pictures, that V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said she could not provide on Thursday evening, show Coleman was wearing a long patterned skirt and jacket and was wearing women’s shoes. He wore a short blonde wig and bright red lipstick.

Coleman appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from him, said the police.

Coleman told the officers that he did not lose control of the vehicle due to the reason that he was under the influence of alcohol but because his shoe had gotten stuck under the gas pedal, causing the vehicle to accelerate and he lost control due to which the accident happened.

According to the police, Coleman was issued field sobriety tests. He failed the 3 standard field sobriety tests and refused to blow into the machine and give a breath sample to comply with the chemical breath test.

Coleman posted bail which had been set at $1,000 and during his advice-of-rights hearing, Magistrate Miguel Camacho ordered his driver’s license to be suspended for a time period of ninety days because of a mandatory local penalty for any individual who refuses to comply with taking the sobriety test. Coleman was permitted to retain his driver’s license because he uses it as his only source of identification when he travels. He was given permission to return to New Jersey once his duties on this trip are complete and can come back for his next court date.