The Cranston man charged with causing the death of a 24-year-old woman after he drove drunk and crashed his car Sept. 9 in South Kingstown was reportedly drinking and acting belligerent shortly before the crash at a wedding party, police said.
Zachary I. Kahan, 23, of 39 Lantern Lane, Cranston, was arrested at about 1:22 a.m. on Sept. 9 and charged with felony drunken driving – death resulting – and felony reckless driving.
According to South Kingstown Police, patrolmen Gary W. Marquis and Robert Costantino were dispatched to 669 Moonstone Beach Road after receiving a report of a car striking a telephone pole. The 911 caller was identified as the 65-year-old male homeowner, Joseph W. Daniels.
Marquis wrote that when they arrived, off-duty Cranston firefighter Jeffrey T. Rayner, 47, of 680 Moonstone Beach Road, was performing CPR on Tanya Chabot, 24, of 95 North Hill Road, Burrillville. Marquis said he assisted, but Chabot was unresponsive.
After rescue personnel arrived on scene and transported Chabot, Marquis said he and Costantino then identified and interviewed the driver of the car, Kahan.
Marquis wrote that the accident had caused the trunk of the vehicle to open, revealing alcohol containers. When asked if he had taken any drugs or drank that night, Kahan repeatedly told police that he had had three drinks at a wedding hosted at Theatre by the Sea.
Marquis noted that Kahan was confused, disoriented and unemotional, and that he didn’t ask about Chabot’s condition. When asked about his relationship with the victim, Kahan told police that they worked together and once dated, but they were just friends now.
According to Marquis, Kahan submitted to field sobriety tests, which he failed. He was arrested at this point, and given Chabot’s condition, Kahan was transferred to South County Hospital in anticipation of needing blood drawn.
Marquis said that while waiting with Kahan at the hospital, Kahan spontaneously uttered, “I don’t know why we decided to get back in the car,” and, “I was being dumb and getting behind the wheel.”
According to Marquis’ report, while he waited with Kahan, patrolwoman Rachel Soltysiak remained on scene with Kahan’s car.
Costantino and patrolman David Marler then began an accident reconstruction examination of the scene. Results were not included in this report, only Marquis’ narrative.
According to Costantino, he interviewed two guests from the wedding, Ronald and Taleen Gonsalves of Johnston, who had stopped when they saw the accident scene.
The guests told Costantino that they had observed Kahan drinking throughout the wedding, and they claimed that he was very drunk and belligerent.
Marquis said that Kahan agreed to have blood drawn shortly after midnight while at South County Hospital. The blood was taken at about 12:25 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., and Kahan and the blood vials were then transported to headquarters by Marquis.
According to Marquis’ report, police seized a bottle of Bacardi rum and a bottle of Captain Morgan rum from Kahan’s car. Both were logged into evidence, along with the blood. Results from testing on the blood were not yet available.
Marquis said that during processing, Kahan told them that he had had three hard liquor drinks at the wedding, and three hard liquor shots. His charges were elevated to felonies when police received word of Chabot’s death.
According to online records, Kahan is scheduled for felony screening on Oct. 10. He was arraigned at police headquarters on Sept. 10 and released after posting bail. According to online records, he does not have any previous arrests.