Felony Drug Charges Leveled Against Sag Harbor Man


A late-night, high-speed car chase down Route 114 eventually led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Sag Harbor man by East Hampton Town Police on October 16 just after midnight.

Joseph R. Dowling, a former football player at East Hampton High School and a Pierson High School graduate, was arrested on Swamp Road near Landing Road in Northwest and charged with two felonies and seven misdemeanors, including criminal possession of heroin, criminal possession of cocaine with intent to sell, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless diving, fleeing a police officer and resisting arrest, among other charges.

Police said they approached Mr. Dowling while his 2014 Mazda was stopped in the roadway by an officer on routine duty. Mr. Dowling then sped off in his car, driving more than 100 mph on Route 114 northbound, they said. Then he turned around and drove south on Route 114 in the middle of the road, forcing another driver to pull into the shoulder to avoid a collision, police said.

“I just wanted to go home,” Mr. Dowling said of his attempt to flee, according to his arrest report. “I knew I was f—-d, I just didn’t want to get in trouble.”

After finally stopping the vehicle, police said they found a small wax paper envelope containing a whitish-gray substance on the floor of the car, which tested positive for heroin. They also found two small glassine envelopes of cocaine, which Mr. Dowling attempted to put in his waistband before being arrested. A larger glassine envelope was also recovered from the passenger seat, police said, along with nine small glassine envelopes used for packaging drugs, a digital scale, and one large Ziploc bag of marijuana under the passenger seat.

“Yeah, that’s my weed, but it’s not for sale,” Mr. Dowling told police, according to the arrest report. “It’s for my personal use.”

Mr. Dowling also admitted to selling a bag of “fake coke”—which was later tested and discovered to be real cocaine—to a group of people he “didn’t trust from the get-go,” according to his oral admission. “I don’t even know these guys,” he told police. “I just sold them fake coke. I’m telling you, I didn’t trust ’em from the get-go, so I sold ’em a bag of fake shit.”

Police said Mr. Dowling refused to be handcuffed, placing his hands underneath his body, until officers were able to control him. Police also confiscated a spring-assisted gravity knife in the center console of the car, and they charged Mr. Dowling with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Dowling was arraigned at East Hampton Town Justice Court later that afternoon by Justice Steven Tekulsky. Wearing a hoodie, sagging shorts and sneakers, with his head of orange curls bowed, Mr. Dowling stood beside Brian Francese, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society.

Mr. Dowling, who has no prior convictions, told Justice Tekulsky he lives with his girlfriend in Sag Harbor and plans to go back to Suffolk County Community College and eventually transfer back to Pace University, where he had played football for the past three years.

His bail was set at $2,500, despite the assistant district attorney’s request to set it at $15,000. After posting bail, Mr. Dowling is scheduled to return to court on November 20.

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