2 arrested after drunk driving damages crops

Recorder Staff
Thursday, June 14, 2018

DEERFIELD — An alleged drunken driving incident in the farm fields behind Deerfield Academy during alumni weekend led to an estimated $10,500 in damage to crops between a handful of farmers.

John D. Gray, 28, who lives in Chicago, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday to four charges from two arrests — one from Friday, over malicious destruction of property over $1,200, operating under the influence of liquor and trespassing with a motor vehicle, and the other from Sunday, for trespassing at the school. He will be back in court Aug. 6.

Deerfield Police Department officers arrested Gray allegedly after doing “doughnuts” in a Jeep Friday through the freshly planted fields.

In addition to Gray, the passenger, Christopher J. Daiber, of Greenwich, Conn., was arrested for the malicious destruction of property of $1,200 of property, trespassing with a motor vehicle and possession of a Class B drug.

Deerfield Police reported the following damage to crops, as estimated by the farmers the same day: $5,000 of damage to hay fields for the Yazwinskis; $3,000 of damage to squash for Mike Antonellis; $1,500 of damage to potatoes for Jay Savage; and $1,000 of damage to sweet corn for Justin Galenski.

Some of the farmers had recently seeded the land, including Antonellis’ squash which was put down the day prior. When police arrived to the scene Friday around 5 p.m. the fields were muddy.

The two Deerfield Academy alumni were spotted by an individual walking his dogs in the Meadows as they sped by in a yellow Jeep with New York plates. The person, along with a local farmer, found the Jeep in the fields and the witness said that Gray was clearly intoxicated, according to the police report by Officer Jennifer Bartak.

A field sobriety test was not conducted by Bartak because the field was too muddy to do one, she said in her report.

Bartak and Officer Adam Sokolowski found Gray and Daiber out of the Jeep. Gray repeatedly denied to Bartak that he had been driving the vehicle. Baggage, personal belongings and several cases of beer were found in the Jeep by police.

Police received a report of trespassing at one of the school dormitories, leading to Gray’s second arrest on one charge.

The Deerfield Police often work hired details for the private school during events there.