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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.

Dave January 18, 2013 at 03:52 PM
So instead of leaving the interpretation of the law for DUI to a judge, an officer gives him a slap on the wrist. This is not normal behavior being drunk passed out in a parking lot with a bottle of vodka. This is a sign of alcoholism. I find it even worse that the chief thinks the officer's actions are defensible.
Eric Harding January 18, 2013 at 04:36 PM
AMEN!
PoppyDeb January 18, 2013 at 07:10 PM
If this is how wanting to be "part of the solution" is, who needs him?? Straight alcohol?? ...throw him out!! Don't need an alcoholic on the council!!
Kris January 19, 2013 at 12:48 AM
First off if anyone else was drunk in giant parking lot behind the wheel. We would cuffed and charged with DUI and public drunk he should be in jail .... He should get the maximum punishment because of being a role model to Nazareth ... This is total crap he gets off with nothing
Nazarrth jax January 19, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Did anyone check the video camera at giant or anyother store to see what time he drove in to the lot
Jane January 19, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I don't know Chris personally, but I do know his wife and children. They are the BEST people you'd want to meet. Something must be terribly wrong. Instead of being judgemental, I plan to offer his family my support.
Nazarrth jax January 19, 2013 at 01:21 PM
So everyone remember this in case your ever slumped over in your car .did they get video from the liqueur store? We have 2 not far from giant . IT IS TIME THE PEOPLE START STANDING UP TO COUNCIL. REMEMBER YOU ARE THE TAX PAYER . YOU CAN DEMAND THE GOVERNOR DO SOMETHING ABOUT A RE-ELECTION OR DISMISS THEM ALL.
Cara January 19, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Ahhh, the luxury of speculation! When the opinionated ppl who read about it in the news somehow know better what happened than those who were actually there. Come on guys, give the officer a little bit of credit - the councilman probably looked dead, all slumped over. The officer would have done the community a disservice if he assumed the man was drunk, left him alone & "staked him out", hoping to get him on a DUI when he attempted to drive away. And, otherwise, how could he be charged with Driving Under the Influence when he wasn't actually driving? I would expect that the cop didn't even know who the councilman was & treated the situation like any other he were to come across.
Jeepers63 January 19, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Speculation? What's the law is the law. A DUI is a must cause anyone else would get a DUI. An alcoholic on council? Isn't something wrong with this picture?
Dave January 19, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Yikes! They charged him with public drunkenness. There was no speculation on whether or not he was drunk. Seriously, how did you miss that in the article?
Jeepers63 January 19, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Audenried had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath......is what it says in article.
Cara January 19, 2013 at 09:49 PM
A little clarity on my original post...I wasn't referring to speculation on determining that the councilman was in fact drunk - I agree that that seems pretty clear. I was referring to the individuals who posted on this article and were speculating that the officer let the councilman get off easy b/c of his position in the community. A charge of Public Drunkenness makes sense to me...he was drunk...in a public place. To say that the policeman should have charged him when a DUI...when the man wasn't driving...that seems illogical. I admit that it is a personal pet peeve of mine when ppl make overarching assumptions about certain groups of ppl - cops and military men/women especially. It is often projected that if a cop was too harsh, they were abusing their power; and if they go too easy - then they must be "on the take" or showing specialty. The officer knows what happened the best in this situation as he was actually there. His police chief and anyone else who got a first hand report from him also has a better handle on the situation that the general public. If you want to accuse the officer of lying and say that the councilman was indeed driving, then...that's a different argument. But, with the facts laid out in this article, I don't get how ppl jump to a "bad cop let him get off easy" scenario.
rick troxell January 19, 2013 at 10:11 PM
a good lawyer will get him off. the story is over. give it up. nothing anyone can do about it. decades of politics dictates the outcome. colonial did their job. now the justice system takes over and given the charges and circumstances he will walk away legally clean and free. just sayin . just remember this if he runs for council or has a vote on council concerning police dept matters.
george January 19, 2013 at 10:27 PM
was shift supervisor advised? was an ambulance called? open bottle of alcohol in a motor vehicle is illegal any other time. occupant not responsive? get real .
Jeepers63 January 19, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Amen to that rick.
george January 20, 2013 at 04:22 AM
sworn in as councilman on Jan 7th per article found allegedly drunk the day after or Jan 8thth. charges filed Jan17 . 9 days later??????
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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