A meteorologist who began doing weather reports on Channel 2’s newscasts earlier this year faces a felony charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated in the Town of Hamburg.
Patrick H. Fay – known to TV viewers as Patrick Hammer – was arrested by town officers early on the morning of Nov. 3 after his vehicle left South Park Avenue and landed in a ditch, police said.
The 43-year-old weather forecaster was charged with aggravated felony DWI because he had a high blood alcohol content reading and also because he had a previous conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2014, according to a police report.
Fay, who has not been seen on Channel 2’s broadcasts since the incident, told Officer Jonathan Monaco that he had stopped by the Big Tree Inn on Abbott Road in Orchard Park, according to the report.
“I asked him how he ended up in the ditch, and he could not come up with an answer,” Monaco said in his report.
The officer said Fay told him he had “a couple of drinks,” but could not recite the full alphabet at the officer’s request. He said Fay also had difficulty with several balance tests when he got out of his vehicle. When officers administered a breath test, Fay’s blood-alcohol level was higher than .18 percent, which is more than double the state’s legal limit.
Fay had a previous conviction for driving while under the influence in Minnesota on Feb. 18, 2014, Monaco said in the report.
Sources familiar with the case told The Buffalo News that Buffalo attorney Paul J. Cambria represents Fay, but Cambria declined to comment when contacted. Fay did not return two phone messages left for him. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 8 in Hamburg Town Court.
When asked why Fay has been off the air in recent weeks, WGRZ president and general manager Jim Toellner said he could not discuss the reasons.
“We don’t discuss personnel or personal situations,” Toellner said. “He’s on personal leave.”
Widely viewed as the heir apparent to longtime Channel 2 meteorologist Kevin O’Connell, Fay was hired by the Buffalo station more than five months ago. A native of San Francisco, Fay previously worked at TV stations in San Francisco, Albuquerque, Seattle and Minneapolis.
In an interview with The News earlier this month, he told the story of how he lost a job in Minneapolis and spent much of last year riding his bicycle to work at a Target distribution center, where he made $15 an hour.
He said he was happy to sign a three-year deal with Channel 2 and hopes to work in Buffalo for a long time.
The Nov. 3 incident occurred in the 5100 block of South Park Avenue, near Hilbert College. There was no indication on the police report that Fay, who lives in Hamburg, was injured.
Officers impounded his 2006 Toyota vehicle and Fay was picked up by his wife, police said. Fay also was cited for failure to keep right on a two-lane road.
Buffalo News columnist Alan Pergament contributed to this report.