A suspected drunk driver straightened out the curve on Highway 101 at Case Street, plowed through a fire hydrant, took out a stop sign and monument pole, damaged the Dutch Brothers landscaping and came to rest against the Dutch Brothers sign. Inside the SUV police say driver Tina Gembala was trying to get out of the wreck, rocking the vehicle back and forth. Firefighters were telling Gembala to stay in one place because the vehicle was unstable. Eventually they got her out and on the lawn. That’s when the police took over.
Police officers talked to Gembalafor a while, then put her through a sobriety test. At the end they placed her in handcuffs and took her to the Lincoln County Jail and booked her for drunk driving, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and three counts of criminal mischief – damage to a fire hydrant, destruction of a stop sign and damaging Dutch Brothers landscaping and sign.
Meanwhile Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross was assessing the damage to the street sign and the hammered fire hydrant. He ordered replacements for both. He then reached inside his personal vehicle and pulled out a temporary stop sign and placed it on the sidewalk at Case and 101, so motorists on Case will stop prior to entering 101.