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Police: Nazareth Councilman Found Drunk in Car with Vodka Nearby

Chris Audenried, a newly appointed Nazareth councilman and longtime Nazareth School Board member, was allegedly found drunk behind the wheel of his car with a bottle of vodka nearby.

One day after Chris Audenried took his newly appointed seat on Nazareth Borough Council, he was allegedly found slumped behind the wheel of his car with a bottle of vodka nearby, according to police.

After more than 10 years on the Nazareth Area School Board, Audenried said he was ready to be "part of the solution" for Nazareth Borough and was prepared to handle "fiery arrows."

Now he's preparing to face a summary charge of public drunkenness, court records say. The charge was filed Jan. 17 through District Judge Joseph Barner's office in Lower Nazareth Township.

According to Colonial Regional Police Chief Roy Seiple, an officer was dispatched to the area of 859 Nazareth Pike -- Giant Food Stores -- for a report of a 911 hang-up.

During a routine check, Officer Christopher Templeton found Audenried slumped over the wheel of his car, which was parked and not running, Seiple said. Audenried was slow to respond when Templeton knocked on the driver's side window.

Audenried had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, according to Seiple, and a bottle of vodka was found nearby. Seiple said he did not know if the bottle was open.

Templeton cited the councilman with public drunkenness and contacted a friend or family member, who drove him home.

Seiple said he trusts his officer's judgment in deciding between a DUI charge and a public drunkenness charge.

"There is nothing to indicate that it was or wasn’t [a DUI], quite honestly," Seiple explained. "He was in a private parking lot, he was parked, he did not have physical control over the vehicle. [The charges] fall where they fall, and that’s it."

Seiple added: "Bottom line is, my officers are professional, they know what they’re doing. They’re on the scene, they know what transpired."

Nazareth Borough Council on Dec. 6 unanimously appointed Audenried to fill a seat left vacant by the Rev. William Matz. He was also appointed to Council's Police and Law committees.

Matz, a Republican from the First Ward, was in the third year of his third term. Audenried will serve out the remainder of his term, which expires at the end of 2013.

This is just the latest run-in for Nazareth's councilmen. The borough's police chief has demanded the vice president of council resign from his post amidst allegations he obstructed a state police investigation, according to a report in The Express-Times.

Councilman Larry Stoudt was charged Oct. 9 with allegedly trying to interfere with a state police undercover investigation. According to a criminal complaint, he allegedly asked Police Chief Thomas Trachta to run the driver's license of a suspected liquor enforcement officer in an attempt to protect the local American Legion post from undercover, prying eyes.

Stoudt has applied for acceptance into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for first-time offenders.

michelle January 20, 2013 at 06:34 PM
We are all so quick to judge him and the police for their actions. We all have made bad judgments, no one is perfect--including all of you who have commented. I'm just glad that no one was physically hurt. He and his family are dealing with the emotional hurt and we should all pray that they heal from this. I for one wish them the best.
Kaos8 January 20, 2013 at 08:33 PM
I would like to put my 2 cents in on this. I can tell you, that you can get a DUI just for having your car keys on you and being in your car or around your car- legally standing...However, it could also be public drunkenness- depending on the situation. Officer Templeton- probably did what many officers do, when the person in question is not argumentative or causing a problem and already not known as a "Frequent Flyer"- by calling someone to come get him..It does not mean that he won't be charged with anything..Being that there was a bottle of liquor visible and probably within reach, and he had AOB (alcohol on breath)- that he definatley got darn lucky..And I would bet that Officer Templeton did not know who he was, or cared... CRPD is not known for giving people a break because they pull the "Do you know who I am?" card.. If Templeton knew who he was, someone probably heard the name run on radio and contacted him to say who it was.. And with CRPD- this does not mean that meant anything different would happen-than if it was just "Joe Public" he was charging. Unfortunately, it would seem that no BAC was taken or blood draw, so it may never be known how drunk was he. And technically the charges that could be associated w/ DUI will be null..A Blood Draw needs to be done w/in 2hrs of PD being involved. The charges of a DUI depend on your BAC and how many times have you been charged w/ DUI..Most include jail time now.- needless to say it definately can ruin your life.
Kaos8 January 20, 2013 at 08:42 PM
I do however, find it appalling that Audenried was found in this predicament, so shortly after being put in this position of council...One because he is the Police/Law Enforcement Liaison for Nazareth Boro now and; Two because he was part of the Nazareth School Board, previously- What kind of message is he sending to kids and the public!!! The 2 things he supposedly has stood for- he just spit in their faces. (law and kids)... I don't know the man- but I would say that he is definatley off to a very bad start...Everyone has problems- but this was very poor judgement to go on a binge in public... I hate to say it- but if this is how he starts his "council seat"- I would say get rid of him now...Imagine how he will be if kept around as long as Stoudt!
Dave January 20, 2013 at 09:36 PM
I think most people have a problem that he had a bottle in the car. He was evidently driving while drinking vodka. That is a sign of alcoholism, not a person who made a simple mistake. If he is an alcoholic, the officer is basically allowing him to do it again. If he were charged with a dui, maybe the court required rehabilitate would help him. This is not normal behavior to drink vodka from a bottle in a car. I agree he needs helps but now it will have to be voluntary not mandatory.
me January 23, 2013 at 11:09 PM
oh well if it was anyone eles they would have been charge with dui

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