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Buffalo's chief auditor arrested in Lancaster 3rd drunken driving charge for official

Buffalo's chief auditor had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit when he was arrested on a drunken driving charge in Lancaster earlier this month, according to a police report.

Darryl N. McPherson, who has two previous convictions for driving while ability impaired, registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 percent after he was pulled over on Transit Road near Genesee Street in the early morning hours of Feb. 16, according to the report.

McPherson, 42, was convicted of driving while impaired in October 2000 and July 2007, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles records.

At about 2:10 a.m. Feb. 16, McPherson's black Jeep Cherokee was observed by police traveling south on Transit Road. The vehicle crossed the lane marker and went onto the shoulder three times, according to a police report.

McPherson told the officer he had been drinking vodka and appeared to be intoxicated, the report said.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated DWI and driving on the shoulder. He is scheduled to appear before Lancaster Town Justice Mark A. Montour at 11 a.m. March 10.

McPherson was reached by phone Monday, but he did not immediately comment for this story.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, City Comptroller Andrew A. SanFilippo, McPherson's boss, said he told McPherson that while his contributions to his office have been valued, "I cannot and will not tolerate any future transgressions."

"Mr. McPherson has apologized to me for his conduct and has advised me that he has voluntarily sought the assistance of the New York State Bar Association's Lawyer Assistance Program and also will be attending [Alcoholics Anonymous] meetings," SanFilippo said in a statement.

McPherson, who became the city's chief auditor in 2007, previously worked as chief counsel to the city's control board for nearly three years and spent 10 years working in the corporation counsel's office under former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello.

McPherson was promoted to deputy corporation counsel in 2003, according to his biography on the city's Web site.

He briefly worked in private practice before Masiello appointed him, according to the Web site.

A driving-while-impaired charge is issued when a driver's blood-alcohol content is more than 0.05 percent, while a driver with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or above is considered legally intoxicated under state law.

McPherson was sentenced to five days in jail after his Oct. 25, 2000, conviction in Buffalo.

A driver facing his or her first driving-while-impaired conviction in five years could have received a sentence of up to 15 days in jail, a fine of $300 to $500 and 90-day license suspension, said DMV spokesman Nick Cantiello.

After his July 25, 2007, conviction, McPherson was issued a $300 fine and had his license suspended, though he was issued a conditional driver's license, according to records.

A person facing his or her first DWI conviction faces up to a year in jail, at least a six-month license revocation and a fine of $500 to $1,000, Cantiello said.

The first conviction for a charge of aggravated DWI, which is issued when a blood-alcohol content is higher than 0.18 percent, carries a possible sentence of up to a year in jail, a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 and a minimum one-year license revocation.

McPherson's driver's license was fully restored Jan. 7, 2008, after he completed a safe-driving course.

SanFilippo added that he supports McPherson's efforts to deal with both his personal and professional problems.

"I hope that he's successfully able to succeed in these assistance programs that he will be taking," SanFilippo said in a statement, "and that he can continue to serve the City of Buffalo and my office during this difficult time."

McPherson has hired defense attorney Joel L. Daniels, who could not be reached to comment.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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