Rip Torn Asks for Trial in New York DUI

By Mary Ann

Actor Rip Torn has asked for a trial before a judge on his DUI charge in North Salem, New York.

Torn’s strategy is unusual. Most DUI defendants going to trial demand a jury.

The 76-year-old actor was arrested after he lost control of his sedan and struck a tractor-trailer. Torn was acquitted of DUI in 2004 after jurors decided that the prosecutor had not proven he had been drinking before a fender-bender with a taxi. Police videotape had shown Torn arguing with police officers and refusing a sobriety test, claiming he was angry, not drunk.

Torn’s screen credits include the Men in Black movies and The Larry Sanders Show.



Airline Blames Pilot’s Diet for Breath Test Failure

By Mary Ann

A Virgin Atlantic pilot was arrested just prior to takeoff on suspicion of being over the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for operating a commercial jet.

Virgin Atlantic asserted that the pilot’s breath test failure was caused by his diet. The pilot has been cleared of drinking and flying charges.

Police arrested the pilot at London’s Heathrow Airport before a New York bound flight. Security staff had tipped off police to their suspicion that the pilot had been drinking. An initial breath test showed the pilot to be over the legal limit for drinking and flying. A follow-up blood test showed “the amount of alcohol in the blood was consistent with that of a non-drinker.”

A Virgin Atlantic spokesman blamed a diet the pilot was on for the mistaken breath test result. He said some diets lead the body to generate increased levels of acetone. “It smells like alcohol on someone’s breath.”



Second Breath Test Shows Arizona Police Chief’s Daughter Not DUI

By Mary Ann

Cody Nicole Rodbell, daughter of Scottsdale Arizona’s police chief, may not have been DUI after all.

In most states, police officers take two breath samples, one they test, the other they save for later testing. Rodbell’s first test showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.081 percent, slightly above Arizona’s legal limit for DUI.

Her second sample was a blood draw taken at a health clinic soon after her arrest. The second sample showed a BAC of only 0.072 percent, below Arizona’s limit for per-se DUI.

Rodbell has not been charged. She could be convicted of a DUI offense, but her second BAC test would refute the State’s argument that she was DUI per-se. The State would have to provide additional evidence she was DUI.



Arkansas Driver Turns DUI Into Felony

By Mary Ann

An Arkansas driver being arrested for DUI, decided it might be a good idea to pretend to be his brother. Sebastian Nabor gave police his brother’s name, instead of his own, after he was stopped for DUI. The ruse was discovered when Nabor’s brother arrived to bail him out of jail.

Nabor now faces charges of a second-offense DUI and felony criminal impersonation.



Horseback Alabama Woman Charged With DUI

By Mary Ann

An Alabama woman was charged with DUI after she allegedly crashed her horse into a police car.

Unlike drinking and operating a Zamboni in New Jersey, riding a horse under the influence in Alabama can lead to a DUI.

Melissa Byrum York allegedly decided to go for a midnight ride on her horse. After a call about a woman riding a horse on city streets, Sylvania, Alabama police attempted to stop York who tried to spur her horse to escape. After ramming into the police car, she tried to jump off the horse and run, but got her foot got caught in a stirrup. York was arrested.

Police found crystal meth, marijuana, pills, and a narcotic pipe in her possession.

The rider has been charged with DUI for allegedly riding the horse under the influence of a controlled substance. She was also charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, assault, attempting to elude police, and cruelty to animals.

Police Chief Brad Gregg said the horse, which belonged to York, “wasn’t in the best of health, but it’s still alive.”



New Jersey Judge Overturns DUI While Operating Zamboni

By Mary Ann

A New Jersey judge overturned John Peragallo’s DUI conviction for operating a Zamboni with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit for DUI in New Jersey.

His BAC was 0.12 percent when arrested, well over New Jersey’s limit of 0.08 for DUI. He was not, however, driving.

Peragallo was charged with DUI after a fellow employee told police that Peragallo was speeding and nearly crashed his huge ice scraping machine into the boards at an ice rink in Morristown, New Jersey.

Peragallo appealed his conviction and a New Jersey Superior Court Judge overturned his license suspension. According to the judge, Peragallo was not operating a motor vehicle because a four-ton Zamboni is not usable on highways and cannot carry passengers.



Pennsylvania Man Gets Through His Preliminary DUI Hearing, Then Gets Busted for DUI

By Mary Ann

A Pennsylvania man has shown up at DUI court under the influence, again.

Paul Zeigler of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania appeared at his preliminary hearing for a DUI arrest in December. Police say he appeared to be intoxicated at the hearing. After his court appearance, Zeigler failed a breath test, taken on a portable breathalyzer device. Officials say his blood alcohol content (BAC) was twice the legal limit for DUI in Pennsylvania.

He was charged with another DUI.