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District justice arrested for DUI

Monday, January 15, 2001

By Mike Bucsko, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Less than two weeks before her sentencing on corruption and drug charges, former District Justice Gigi Sullivan was arrested for drunken driving after she reportedly struck a car and fled in West Deer.

Sullivan, 39, was arrested about 8:30 p.m. Friday on Saxonburg Boulevard by West Deer police after she pulled into a volunteer fire department parking lot.

Police were sent to the scene by the regional dispatch center in Shaler after a dispatcher received a telephone call from a driver who said his car had been run off the road and struck by a car whose driver did not stop. The driver, who was not identified in police reports, followed the other car and gave police the license number.

The driver who reported the accident told police he was driving on Bakerstown Road when his car was forced off the road by a car that crossed the center line. The first car was struck on the left side by the second car and the second car's driver did not stop.

Sullivan had a "strong scent of alcoholic beverage" on her when West Deer police arrived, according to the police report. Sullivan was arrested after she refused to take a field sobriety test. Police took her to Allegheny Valley Hospital for a blood test, but results were not available.

Sullivan was arraigned about 2 a.m. Saturday before Senior District Justice Georgina Franci on one count of driving under the influence and three traffic citations related to the accident.

She was released on her own recognizance.

Sullivan is scheduled to appear Wednesday for a preliminary hearing before West Deer District Justice Suzanne Blaschak.

That court appearance is a week before Sullivan is to be sentenced by Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert E. Colville on charges she tipped off a drug dealer about investigations and used her office to offer him leniency in exchange for drugs.

Sullivan pleaded guilty in November to charges of operating a corrupt organization, obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension, bribery, conspiracy to deliver illegal drugs and conspiracy to commit forgery.

She faces a maximum of 60 years in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 24, but her lawyers have said she should receive a minimal sentence because she is a first-time offender.

Sullivan is serving two years' probation on unrelated shoplifting charges to which she pled guilty. Sullivan also had a shoplifting arrest and conviction in 1982 in State College.

Sullivan was the district justice in Springdale when she was indicted in October 1999 in connection with a drug ring police charge was operated by Donald Geraci of Penn Hills, who owned Cheswick Auto Sales. She was removed from office and was defeated in a bid for re-election in November 1999.

Sullivan lived in Springdale Borough at the time of her arrest, but the home was put up for sheriff's sale late last year. She gave police the address of a relative in West Deer when she was arrested Friday.

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