Florida DUI Suspect Punches Deputy, Slips Out of Handcuffs and Pants

By Mike

In Bayou George, Florida, a woman pulled over for suspected DUI has been arrested on additional charges, after she slipped out of police handcuffs as well as her clothes and allegedly assaulted a deputy following a car crash.

Samantha Wilson, a 22-year-old woman, was put in custody after she crashed her car at 4 p.m. on a Sunday. She was arrested when police suspected her of drunk driving, and that is when the real excitement began.
According to the NWF Daily News, notes from drunk driving police say that Wilson, whose hands were handcuffed in front of her, quickly slipped out of them the first time. Police re-handcuffed her, and put her in the front seat of a police cruiser.

But while highway patrol trooper Ken McNabb was putting her seatbelt on, Wilson, having once again freed herself from the handcuffs, punched him in the head.

McNabb was able to get the door of the cruiser closed, but Wilson escaped from her handcuffs again, and let herself out of the car. It was about then that she dropped her trousers and began to relieve herself next to the police vehicle. Her husband arrived soon after, pleading with her to stop urinating and pull her pants back up.

Wilson was restrained again and put back into a patrol car. On the way to the police station, according to McNabb, Wilson yelled and screamed, asking to see her husband while kicking at the windows behind the officer’s driver’s seat.

She then proceeded to remove her shoes and pants so that she was naked from the waist down. “She stated that she was going to urinate on my seats before launching into a shouting tirade,” said Deputy Randolph Grob.

Then Wilson, already on her way to jail on suspicion of DUI in Florida, began to slam the plexiglass divider with her handcuffs. She had taken them off again and put them on her fist as though they were a pair of brass knuckles.

The officer stopped the car because he thought Wilson would break through the glass, and when he opened the door to the back seat, she punched him in the nose again. He didn’t remove her from the car because he thought he might hurt her, so instead he was able to force the door closed and radio ahead to the police station to have a female officer ready for her arrival.

Once at the jail, officers had to forcibly remove her from the car amidst her continued punching.



Montana Attorney General Wants More DUI Monitoring

By Mike

Montana has a history of a DUI culture that is not as critical of drunk driving offenses as other parts of the country. Recently, the state’s efforts to curb drunk driving have led to more stringent policy.

Now, the state’s Attorney General, Steve Bullock, has proposed the expansion of a pilot program that calls for repeat drunk driving offenders to submit to regular breath tests during their sentence. The program is known as the 24/7 Sobriety Project.

The 24/7 Sobriety Project essentially requires that repeat DUI offenders stay sober all day and all night long, for the duration of their sentence. Whoever fails a breath test would be jailed and have their bond revoked. The idea originated in South Dakota.

Under the program, anyone who is arrested for DUI more than once must take a breath test that measures blood alcohol content twice a day, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

Expanded DUI prevention efforts would also include harsher penalties for those convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content that is higher than .15. Such measures are already in place in most states in the U.S. Such a charge, as proposed, would be an aggravated DUI charge.

In addition to the strengthened DUI laws above, Attorney General Bullock would like to make penalties for refusing a breath test more harsh than they currently are.

The proposals will need approval from the state legislature, which is controlled by the Republican party at the moment. Republican Representative Steve Lavin already plans to sponsor the bill.

Lavin is a sergeant in the state’s highway patrol. He argued that the bill wouldn’t cost anything because those who are required to take the tests would pay for the process themselves. “I just don’t see any opposition to it,” he told the Tribune. “I’ve talked to quite a few of my comrades, and they seem to like it.”

Attorney General Bullock hopes for the necessary political support. “I’m hopeful that all three of them end up with broad bi-partisan support,” he said of the three parts of his proposal for expanded DUI penalties and requirements. “This problem is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. I think these three (proposals) are great parts of what can be done.”



Celebrity Singers Facing DUI Trouble

By Mike

Several celebrity songbirds appeared in the headlines recently for issues related to DUI arrests and DUI charges.

One is a Grammy winning songwriter, producer and actress best known for her soul-pop music, and the other is a one-time teen heartthrob slated to appear in a film about Liberace.

Singer and Grammy-winner Faith Evans pleaded no contest to DUI charges in a Los Angeles courtroom recently, following a DUI arrest back in August. The Grammy Award-winner was stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Marina del Rey on August 21 at around 10:40 p.m.

Evans was subsequently arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor drunk driving. As a part of the no contest plea, Evans will serve three years of probation, pay $300 in fines, agree not to drive with any alcohol in her system and undergo a 3-month alcohol treatment program, according to the Baltimore Sun.

She pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

Evans, well-known after she arrived on the pop music scene in the mid-90s, tweeted to her fans following the DUI arrest, telling them that “After completing a full day of wardrobe prep I was stopped at a random checkpoint. I’m fine and well, and thank you for your prayers, kind words and concerns.” She signed the tweet “- Fizzy.”

Evans and her husband were arrested for drug possession charges in 2004, for which she entered a drug abuse treatment program.

Teen idol David Cassidy also faced DUI trouble recently, when he was arrested for drunk driving in Florida, according to the LA Times.

Cassidy has a court date in mid January for charges that he failed a field sobriety test at around 6 in the evening. Police reportedly witnessed Cassidy weaving on the road and making an erratic lane change.

A Breathalyzer test came back having registered a .141 and a .139 blood alcohol content for the singer and actor.

Cassidy pleaded not-guilty to the charge. He admitted that he was tired, and that he had a glass of wine with lunch and took a hydrocodine pill for back pain.

According to police, there was a bottle of bourbon in the back seat that was half empty.

Cassidy faces a misdemeanor charge of DUI, failure to maintain a single lane and driving with an open container.



NFL Wide Receiver Mike Williams Arrested on Suspicion of DUI in Florida

By Mike

Mike Williams, a rookie wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Florida, early in the morning before he was to show up at practice the next day.

The arrest garnered headlines because Williams has become one of the best players on the Tampa Bay team after being drafted only last year. He has started every game this NFL season.

According to police, the vehicle that Williams was driving, a Cadillac Escalade, was swerving in and out of traffic and exceeding the speed limit when they pulled it over at around 2:30 A.M. The sheriff’s report said that Williams had a glassy look in his eyes, and police smelled alcohol in the car.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, he failed a field sobriety test.

Williams took a breathalyzer test, the results of which showed that he had a .065 blood-alcohol content. This number is below the Florida legal driving limit of .08 percent. Williams was still arrested, however, and taken in, then release on $500 bond.

According to Florida police, they can make a DUI arrest even if the breath test shows a blood-alcohol content below the legal limit if there is evidence that a driver was impaired. Such evidence can include the way the person was driving.

According to officials, Williams also submitted to a urine test. The results of that test are expected within a month to six weeks.

In a peculiar turn, the Buccaneers team also had Williams submit a urine sample to them, to allow them to test for several substances, some of which are banned in the NFL, according to the St. Petersburg Times. They did this, apparently, in order to more quickly obtain results of the tests. Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris was happy with the results of this private test, and told the press that he was satisfied that Williams was “clean.”

He also added that the team will be fining Williams “a lot of money” following the late-night incident. The coaching staff had already expressed their disappointment to Williams himself.

“He was very remorseful, which is a good sign,” said offensive coordinator Greg Olson. “He wasn’t full of excuses, and that’s a good sign. I think it’s obviously unfortunate that it happened. We’re certainly disappointed that he would be out that late knowing that we had a big game and practice.”



California Beach Considers Posting DUIs to Facebook

By Mike

Facebook and other social media sites are playing a much larger role in the way that lawyers and lawmakers publicize information. Now, according to an article in the LA Times, officials in Huntington Beach, California, have sparked a new debate surrounding DUI information and the social media giant.

Officials in Huntington Beach are considering posting the names of suspected drunk drivers on the city’s Facebook page.

This potential tactic of publicly putting those arrested for DUI to shame by spreading their names online would be one part of a broader campaign to discourage drunk driving in the community, according to Lt. Russell Reinhart of the Huntington Police Department.

The idea came up in a City Council meeting, when Councilman Devin Dwyer put the idea on the table for police officials to consider. He posed the idea as a response to the local newspaper’s lapsed practice of publishing the names of those facing DUI charges.

“I didn’t think public shaming for driving under the influence was such a bad idea,” Dwyer told the LA Times. “I would use any tool necessary to bring down the numbers of drunk drivers.”

This isn’t the first time that a police force has had the idea, and it’s part of an aggressively anti-DUI campaign.

Other parts of the campaign include committing more police officers to focusing their attention on drunk driving arrests, and sending written notices to drinking holes and bars when someone is arrested who was patronizing the establishment.

Huntington Beach is known for its alcohol-related incidents, and what the LA Times calls “a sudsy reputation.” There were almost 1,700 DUI arrests in 2009, and 274 collisions that were attributed to alcohol impairment. These figures put it in the top tier for cities around the same size in California in terms of drunk driving and alcohol-related crashes.

A report from the city referred to the situation as “a significant DUI problem in Huntington Beach.”

Understandable, then, that officials would be willing to toss around the idea of a more direct way to get drunk driving suspects into the public eye, in hopes of deterring others from deciding to drink and drive.

Publicizing the information isn’t necessarily scandalous, as it is already public information. “Anybody could go to the counter, get it and put it on their own web page,” said Lt. Reinhart.

These won’t be the first efforts made. In similar attempts to curb the combination of booze and driving, police banned beer pong and other alcohol-related games at bars in the city’s downtown area.

The City’s attorney will review the Facebook proposal, to make sure there are no legal problems with it.



Biker With Cerebral Palsy Arrested for DUI in Utah

By Mike

In Utah, a highway patrol officer arrested a man with epilepsy and cerebral palsy for DUI, after pulling him over as he rode a motorized bicycle, according to an article in CBS News.

Mike Tilt’s disabilities would make it difficult for him to complete a field sobriety test under any circumstances, and he warned the officer who stopped him of that fact.

Nevertheless, he was asked to take the field sobriety test, including walking with one foot in front of the other. As he had predicted, he failed the test.

And when Tilt told the trooper, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lisa Steed, that he takes medication for his ailments, he was arrested for DUI.

The Utah Highway Patrol later called CBS News to say that the arrest of Tilt for DUI was not consistent with the goals of patrol and their DUI prevention efforts, and Tilt was not charged with DUI.

The trooper who made the stop, however, has faced increased scrutiny from the media. According to those investigations, Steed has been chastised in court over several DUI cases. A judge in one case scolded her for ignoring standard Utah Highway Patrol procedures, and he called her actions “especially troubling,” and another judge said that she “lacks credibility,” according to KUTV.

Examples of her disregarding Utah Highway Patrol procedure includes cases in which Steed has conducted field sobriety tests out of view of the cameras installed on patrol cars. This was not the case in Tilt’s arrest, however.

According to a DUI defense attorney who has defended clients whom Steed has pulled over in the past, Steed is a goal-oriented trooper who wants to pull over as many people as possible to make DUI arrests.

Many came to Steed’s support, as well, including the Utah Highway Patrol, which clarified that many people are guilty of DUI when driving with prescription medication in their systems, and that Steed has a long record of success in making DUI stops and arrests.

Steed was also Trooper of the Year in 2007. She has made around 800 DUI arrests in the last eight years.

The Utah Highway Patrol is currently inquiring into Steed’s actions, though they stand behind her arrest record.



Former Yankee Jim Leyritz on Trial for DUI Manslaughter

By Mike

Jim Leyritz once played in the most famous ballparks alongside baseball stars like Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens, but now he is on trial for DUI manslaughter after a tragic night left a mother dead.

The Florida DUI trial has most recently featured the testimony of a witness who testified that Leyritz ran his Ford Expedition through a red light and hit the SUV driven by Fredia Ann Veitch, killing her.

The witness, a bouncer at a bar in Ft. Lauderdale, claimed that Leyritz appeared to be trying to make it through the intersection before a yellow light turned red. He didn’t make it, said the accident witness, as reported by the New York Daily News.

The accident took place in December of 2007, at just after 3 in the morning. Henry also said that Veitch had the green light as she entered the intersection. “She didn’t have to stop because it was green,” he testified.

Henry was cross-examined regarding the timing of his witnessing of the accident, and he did offer that he looked up to see the incident only after he heard brakes screeching nearby.

Some evidence in the case, namely that there were no skid marks before the intersection, could shed some doubt on the timing claimed by Henry. There were screech marks on the road after the traffic lights, which may suggest that Henry did not see what the state of the traffic lights was at the time that he started viewing the incident.

According to the prosecution, Jim Leyritz had been out on the town, taking shots of vodka and tequila to celebrate his birthday when he took the wheel. His blood alcohol content was measured at .14 percent, which is almost double the legal BAC limit of .08.

Leyritz has pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge and to vehicular homicide. If he is convicted of the crime, he could face 15 years in prison.

In addition to Henry’s testimony, the prosecution has said that another witness, a passenger in Leyritz’s vehicle, would also testify that Leyritz ran the red light.

Other evidence in the trial includes testimony from witnesses who say that Leyritz did not appear intoxicated following the accident. One of those witnesses is a police detective.

Prosecutors will counter those accounts by asking jurors to look at police video of Leyritz’s field sobriety test.

“What you will see is a man who is being given instructions and can’t follow those instructions, even though he is not falling-down drunk,” prosecutor Stefanie Newman told the jury.

Leyritz had previously settled a civil suit with the family of the victim, though he did not admit any liability.



Oklahoma State Football Player Apologizes Following DUI Arrest

By Mike

Justin Blackmon, a sophomore receiver on the Oklahoma State football team, was arrested under suspicion of DUI this week, after he was pulled over on the interstate around Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Blackmon announced an apology following the announcement of his DUI arrest. He apologized to his family and friends, and to the school, according to NewsOK.

“I made a mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. I look forward to redeeming myself. This isn’t who I am.”

Blackmon has been suspended for a game by head football Mike Gundy, the match-up between Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

“In our opinion, what he did deserves a suspension for this game,” said Gundy. “It was very easy for us. That’s a decision he made, and he has to suffer the consequences.”

Blackmon was stopped after being clocked driving 92 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone on Interstate 35. He was subsequently arrested for suspicion of DUI.

Blackmon didn’t have to speak to the press so soon after his arrest. However, he appeared at a press conference less than 48 hours. When asked why, he told the press, “to prove I’m not that guy and own up to my mistakes. I did it, and I should be punished for it.”

“6:51,” replied Coach Gundy about when he heard about the DUI arrest, referring to how early in the morning he got the call. “Usually when I get a call that early in the morning it’s not good.” Gundy also said that Blackmon was “a caring person who made a mistake.”

Several other OSU football players were in the car with Blackmon, though no other students have been punished by the football program for anything that occurred that night.

Blackmon has been tagged for speeding in the past, once for driving 20 to 25 miles per hour over the limit, and another time for driving 93 in a 70 mile per hour zone.

The legal investigation is still under way, so Blackmon didn’t answer any specific questions about the case.

According to Texas DUI law, a police officer doesn’t have to place a minor into custody for the Class C misdemeanor DUI.



California Man Charged With Manslaughter in DUI Crash

By Mike

Anthony Guarino, 57, of San Diego, California, will stand trial on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI and other charges, following a deadly crash that killed an area father.

According to an article from 10 News, Marc William Durham was killed in the crash of August 20, 2010. He was a father of five who was driving his family to the movies when they were rear-ended by Guarino’s BMW as they pulled up to a red light. Afterward, Guarino was charged with drunk driving in California.

Durham, a former security chief for General Dynamics, had retired just one week before he was killed in the accident. Other members of his family were in the car at the time of the DUI crash, though they escaped with injuries, saying that their father got the worst of it.

Guarino was allegedly drunk at the wheel of his BMW, and he will stand trial on the felony DUI charges after admitting to police that he had been drinking whiskey at a bar before he took to the roads that night.

The accident happened at about 9 p.m. The accident investigator in the case told the court that Guarino was traveling between 50 and 60 miles per hour in the BMW when it hit the Toyota Corolla owned by Durham.

When Guarino rear-ended the car, it started a chain reaction of collisions, and ultimately four other vehicles were involved, with additional injuries to passengers in those vehicles, including an 8-year-old boy.

Guarino told police that he had consumed around five Jack Daniels before he headed home from the bar. He admitted to police also that his driving was affected by how much alcohol he drank, but, according to the article, “he didn’t know how.”

Officers at the scene determined based on their judgment and observation that Guarino was intoxicated. When his blood alcohol content was measured several hours later, he registered a BAC of .15 percent, which is well over the .08 legal limit for driving while intoxicated. And it is likely, according to the claim of Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer in court, that it was much higher at the time of the accident.

The defense for Guarino made the argument that his client was not guilty of gross negligence, and that a sleep apnea condition may have contributed to Guarino passing out while at the wheel.

The trial is set for early December, and Guarino is free on $100,000 bail, but he is not allowed to drink alcohol or drive.



California City Council Candidate Cleared of DUI Checkpoint Misconduct

By Mike

A DUI checkpoint was the scene of what some call a local politics power play, but the local government candidate in question was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing after interacting with police at the checkpoint.

Planning commissioner Jim Righeimer is a candidate for the City Council of Costa Mesa, California, in the upcoming elections. Righeimer was recently involved in an incident that came under fire, not for being under suspicion of DUI, but after he talked with police officers at a DUI checkpoint in a way that some saw as an abuse of power, according to an article in the Orange County Register.

After the incident – which was investigated by city officials – critics said that Righeimer attempted to misuse his power as planning commissioner to confront the police officers at the DUI checkpoint and to direct them to discontinue their activities.

City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow, however, recently concluded that Righeimer’s behavior, while it may have fulfilled some of the characterizations pushed forward by opponents of Righeimer, did not appear to show that he had abused the power granted to him by his position as planning commissioner.

The issue was not a matter of criminal wrongdoing, according to the City Attorney.

The determination came after an investigation and then a report, though the report was not released to the public. Several Councilman told the press that the report wasn’t released because it was exempt from public disclosure as part of an investigation.

The City Council voted on whether to release the record of the investigation to the public, and ultimately shot down the idea with a 3-2 vote against disclosing it.

At least one resident of the city, though, thinks it should be available to the media and the public.

“I have some really serious questions about why this information is being held back from the public,” said Costa Mesa local Regina Mundekis. She went on to say that, though the report is private because, as Councilmembers claim, it is in her words a personnel issue and a “public safety matter.”

Several weeks before the vote, however, the city released a recording of the incident in question at the DUI checkpoint. The recording was of Righeimer talking to the police at the DUI checkpoint in what the Orange County Register called “a taut but even voice, objecting to the timing of the checkpoint and asking who authorized it.”

In the past, Righeimer has criticized how much money the police and other public servants make. The president of the police association, Allen Rieckhof, said outright that Righeimer had abused his power with “thug-like tactics.”



Drunk Drivers Endanger Children, Steal Police Car

By Mike

Unfortunately, as we’ve chronicled many times before, driving under the influence and poor decision-making tend to go hand-in-hand.

In a couple of incidents reported in the news recently, alleged drunk drivers endangered children — a far too common occurrence — and police in two separate incidents stemming from DUI.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that a man is accused of driving drunk and texting, all with four children in the back seat of his SUV.

Ruben Rodriguez was seen by police to be speeding and texting on a Sunday. They pulled him over and determined that he was driving under the influence.

They also learned that he had four children in the back seat of his Kia sport utility vehicle.

The man was also driving with a driver’s license that required him to drive only vehicles with an ignition interlock device to measure his blood alcohol content before starting the car. The Kia that he was driving did not have the interlock device.

Because of that violation, police charged him with a driving with a suspended license charge.

Rodriguez has been charged with several crimes, including four counts of child endangerment, speeding, improper lane usage, driving with a suspended license and texting while driving.

In Missouri Valley, Iowa, a man faces charges that could land him in jail for up to a decade after he allegedly stole a police car after being pulled over from DUI.

RadioIowa features an article reporting that Richard Garule was pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving early on a Tuesday morning. The police officer saw firearms of some kind in the vehicle, so he put Garule in the front seat of his police cruiser.

Garule then apparently hopped over to the driver’s side, locked the doors of the patrol car and drove away, escaping attempts by the the deputy to keep him from leaving.

Garule allegedly wrecked the cop car in another town, then stole another SUV. That SUV was found in Blair, Nebraska. Garule was taking a nap inside.

The series of charges that he faces after his apparent joyride could lead to ten years in prison.



Florida Dealership Markets a ‘DUI scooter’

By Mike

In Clearwater, Florida, a motor scooter dealership decided to implement an aggressive campaign to meet the needs of “specialized” market by offering what they call “DUI scooters.”

These “DUI scooters” are small, electric mopeds that are bright red and blue, with pedals, headlights and windshields. They don’t go more than 20 miles per hour, though, and they meet the federal description of a “low-speed electric bicycle,” according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.

In other words, you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one, and those who have had their license suspended because of DUI may have another way to get around.

Doug Vitello and Gary Parr are the owners of Sunset Scooters. They were finding that they couldn’t quite meet the needs of their potential customers, so they did a little research into the DUI laws.

It turned out that the motorized scooter in question was an attractive option for those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor DUI, who had their driver’s license suspended and needed everyday transportation.

And while current Florida law may allow these scooters to be driven without a license, a driver could still face DUI charges if found to be driving one of these under the influence. DUI laws, afterall, apply to the operation of any vehicle, including scooters, boats, lawn mowers and more.

When Vitello and Parr learned this fact, they went searching for a scooter that was legal to drive without a license. They found one, made in China and distributed out of California. Then they put a sign in their window that said “DUI Scooters.”

When they sell a “DUI scooter” to a customer, Sunset Scooters provides customers with a copy of the law that says they are legal to drive without a license. They also recommend that customers laminate the law and carry it with them, to avoid misunderstandings with the police.

“At first we had some trouble with law enforcement basically not understanding what these were,” said Vitello. “Even some judges were completely mystified. But now they all seem to be on board.”

The so-called “DUI scooters,” made by X-treme Scooters and costing upwards of $2,000, look similar to regular motor scooters, if a little smaller, with narrower wheels and the pedals sticking out of the side.

The police in Clearwater were not so sure about the vehicle. Sgt. Tom Nestor told the St. Petersburg Times, “We’ll just say they’re under review for now.” The agency was, according to the article, “trying to determine exactly what these scooters are and how to handle them.”

Word of mouth has spurred the scooter sales. Sunset Scooters now sells around 10 per month. Parr and Vitello say that they came up with the “DUI scooter” term themselves.



DUI Trial for Driver in MLB Player’s Death Continues

By Mike

The trial of DUI defendant Andrew Gallo is now focused recently on whether Gallo knew that driving drunk was a dangerous decision just before he hit and killed Nick Adenhart, a pitcher for Major League Baseballs’ Anaheim Angels, and two other people.

The prosecution in the case, in its closing statements, made the claim that Gallo knew the dangers of what he was doing, and that he cared only about himself, according to an article in the Associated Press.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Price told the jury in the California DUI case that Gallo “made the decision to get intoxicated beyond the point of any reason.”

The defense argued that Gallo did not act out of malice, and did not mean to kill anybody. According to the defense, Gallo thought that his stepbrother would be the designated driver, and only drove after his stepbrother became intoxicated as well.

Gallo was in a state of blackout brought on by excessive drinking.

Price replied by saying, “He doesn’t get rewarded for three free murders because he chose to get too drunk. The car keys weren’t forced upon him. They weren’t glued to his hand.”

The prosecution allege that Gallo and his stepbrother drank beer and took shots at three different bars over the course of several hours before he ran a red light at 65 miles per hour and struck the car in which Adenhart was a passenger.

Adenhart was killed, as were his friends Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson. Their car was allegedly T-boned by Gallo’s car. Stewart and Pearson were killed instantly, while Adenhart died while in surgery. Earlier that evening Adenhart had pitched his first game of the season for the Anaheim Angels.

Jon Wilhite was the fourth passenger in the car and the only survivor. He has endured a long rehabilitation after skull and spine injuries.

Gallo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second degree murder. According to the prosecution, his blood alcohol content was three time over the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

If he is convicted of the charges, which include others for fleeing the scene and DUI-related charges, he faces 50 years in jail.



Another DUI with Baby on Board and A Man Faces 3 DUI Charges in One Night

By Mike

This week’s DUI stories feature a poor parenting decision, and an active night for a man charged with 3 DUIs in a single evening of driving.

Baby On Board

It is all too common in the world of DUI news to hear about a parent’s use of poor judgment. Not only do they allegedly drive drunk, but they do so with a child in the car with them.

In Fort Myers, Florida, Brittney Locke is charged with DUI and other crimes, after police say she was stopped on the interstate while driving under the influence, according to ABC 7.

According to police, Locke was stopped after witnesses called police, having witnessed an accident on the highway. The driver left the scene, witnesses said, and police found Locke parked along the side of the road near an exit, with metal sheared off the side of the car.

She also had an infant in the car with her, in a car seat.

Police noted that she appeared to have trouble keeping her eyes open, and said she didn’t know what she’d hit to cause the damage to her car. She failed a field sobriety test.

She claimed to be on the way to see the child’s father, to get money from him. She also told police she was exhausted, and that she had to be up early to visit an area methadone clinic as a part of addiction treatment.

Police allegedly found a Xanex tablet in the car, a prescription bottle of ibuprofen and a plastic straw that, according to ABC, “appeared to be coated with drug residue.”

A relative took control of the child. Locke is charged with DUI, DUI property damage for the guard rail she allegedly hit, child cruelty, drug possession and drug equipment possession.

A 3 DUI Charge Night

According to KGMI in Whatcom County, Washington, a man is facing 3 DUI charges after a single night of activity.

Tommy Ryser allegedly wrecked his pickup truck on the road, where police found it at around 8 p.m. on a Monday night. Then, police received a call that another accident had been reported.

It was a red VW Golf that had crashed into a guardrail.

Who pulled up to that accident site but Ryser, driving a tow truck. He had a cut on his face, according to police, and was found to be intoxicated.

According to KGMI, Ryser was arrested for and charged with crashing both disabled vehicles, and with driving drunk to the crash sites, in order to tow them back home.



Kentucky DUI Case Put Breathalyzer Burps Under the Microscope

By Mike

In a DUI case in Kentucky, a judge in the case acquitted a man suspected of DUI because of a burp.

According to the Courier-Journal, a judge found Bertrand Howlett not guilty of DUI because the judge had a personal recollection from his experience as a prosecutor of DUI cases years ago that a burp at the wrong time could skew the results of a Breathalyzer test.

Based on that recollection, Howlett was acquitted of the charge that stemmed from when police pulled him over after, according to officials, he was seen speeding and almost driving off the road. Police said he smelled like booze and that he failed a field sobriety test, and they charged him with DUI.

However, Howlett claimed that he had burped just before his blood alcohol content was tested back at the jail—a test in which he blew a 0.15. That burp, he contended, was enough to skew the results of the test. The judge in the case agreed. Police had not, in the judge’s mind, waited long enough after Howlett’s burp for the test to be accurate.

In testimony, Howlett said that the burp wasn’t a loud one, and that in fact no one may have been able to hear it. The machine used to measure his blood alcohol content stated in the manual that police should observe a suspect for 20 minutes before a test is given, in order to make sure that the only substance tested is air from the lungs.

If the test subject regurgitates, for example, police should wait 20 minutes before proceeding.

The DUI case in Kentucky was without a jury, so the judge was left to decide on the matter. He sided with the idea that the burp had skewed the test results, based on his time as a DUI prosecutor for six years while he was an assistant county attorney.

That decision has since moved to the Supreme Court of the state, not to appeal the DUI case decision, but to question whether a judge can admit as evidence a piece of his or her own knowledge. The county attorney’s office called the judge’s use of his own personal knowledge a “manifest injustice.”

Clearly Howlett wasn’t the only one left with a bad taste in his mouth.