By Chris Kramer
The charges continue to mount for a man who drove his car into a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in El Cajon, California, killing one unsuspecting driver.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the driver, Richard Alfred Daus, was recently charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence at the time of the deadly accident.
If he is convicted of these crimes, Daus could face a maximum of 15 years to life in prison. His charge falls into a section of the law that calls for a harsher sentence for those who have multiple previous DUI convictions on their record, or a prior vehicular manslaughter conviction.
Daus qualifies for this section of the law because he was convicted of reckless homicide in Cook County, Illinois, in 1952, and he has a drunk driving conviction for 1988, which occurred in Alaska.
Daus had a blood-alcohol content of 0.22 percent two hours after the fatal crash occurred, meaning he was almost three times above the legal limit for blood alcohol content, which is 0.08 percent.
Randy Eugene Smith was the victim in the accident. He was a regular at the Carl’s Jr. restaurant, and he was eating breakfast in a corner booth when the SUV of Daus crashed through the building. The crash was captured on surveillance video from a nearby bank.
Daus had been attempting to pull into an ATM machine at that bank. When he couldn’t get the car into the proper positioning, he finally opened the car door to get himself in position. The car lurched forward with the door open and Daus still in the driver’s seat, traveled 361 feet and collided with the Carl’s Jr. restaurant at 33 miles per hour.
Smith was thrown across the restaurant from the impact, and died before he could be taken to the hospital. According to the Union-Tribune, Daus was wedged between the dashboard and the seat of his car.
Officers on the scene said Daus’ eyes were red and watery, and his speech blurred.
Margot Kassmann is the country’s highest Protestant minister, and she is the head of the Evangelical Church in Germany. And as we’ve seen many times, those in high office are not immune to driving under the influence and the impact that it can have on a life and a public image.
Kassman faces DUI charges after she tested for three times the legal blood-alcohol content level, according to USA Today.
Kassmann was stopped after she was seen running a red light in the northern German city of Hanover. Police gathered a sample of her blood for testing, and her BAC came back at 0.154 percent.
The legal blood-alcohol level to drive in Germany is 0.05, meaning that Kassmann had tripled the acceptable levels.
Jurgen Lendeckel, a state prosecutor, said of the blood-alcohol content that “the value of 0.11 is a threshold. Everything beyond that means absolutely unfit to drive and results in prosecution.”
According to police, Kassmann’s driver’s license was confiscated, and legal proceedings were already moving forward.
About the incident, Kassmann was not hesitant to take complete responsibility for her actions, saying, “I am alarmed at myself at having made such a bad mistake. I am aware of how dangerous and irresponsible drunk driving is. I will of course face up to the legal consequences.”
Kassman was selected to lead Germany’s Protestant church, which comprises some 25 million members, last October. She has faced scrutiny in the past for her position on military issues, with the message, to quote Spiegel Online, “that the military mission in Afghanistan can’t be justified, and calling for withdrawal of German troops.”
She was also a lightning rod choice for the post because she was the first German bishop to file for divorce. However, she had a reputation as a modernizer who supported the improvement of relations with the Catholic church.
In addition to leading the Evangelical Church in Germany, she is still the bishop of the Evangelical Church in Hanover, Germany. She is an experienced theologian, having studied at numerous universities in Germany.
The Protestant church had no additional comments on the situation, other than what Kassmann told the media.
Drunk driving and poor decisions continue to go hand in hand. This week offered several more strange stories, about two DUI suspects who were foolish enough to drink and get behind the wheel.
The first story is that of a Florida woman who was driven by a lusty urge to visit her imprisoned with a man who happened to be an inmate at the local jail.
The Associated Press reports that the woman was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when she drove to the Flagler County Jail in Bunnell, Florida. When she arrived, she demanded to see a particular inmate. Her specific request? A conjugal visit.
According to the sheriff’s office, the woman did have an appointment to visit the jail. She was late, however, so she was turned away from the appointment. She drove off and returned not long after. The guards at the jail called the police, because they suspected that she was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Police found her sitting in her car, and she failed a field sobriety test. When police later tested her blood, they determined that her blood alcohol content was 0.256 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.
The woman had little chance of success in having her request filled as conjugal visits are not allowed at the jail.
In Pittsburgh, another story that seems improbable was reported by WTAE. A Pennsylvania firefighter was accused of stealing a casino security truck, driving it while intoxicated, and attempting to run over a woman with it.
William White was found by Rivers Casino security guards urinating in the casino’s parking garage. They stopped him, and he was too drunk to provide his name, according to the guards. Then White stole their security truck and drove off.
Later, White was seen by police driving on the wrong side of the road, observing that he almost hit a patrol car.
When the police attempted to arrest White, he fled on foot, then spit in an officer’s face.
White’s attorney expressed regret on his behalf, and apologized. White has been in a rehab program for alcohol addiction, and is on unpaid suspension from the fire department.
Washington State Trooper Scott Johnson is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the head early on a recent Saturday morning. After all, the bullet was still in his head when he was released from the hospital.
As officials work to solve the case, a recent turn has thrown some light on who may be responsible. The latest suspect in the shooting, court papers revealed, is the husband of a woman that Trooper Johnson was investigating for DUI.
That suspect, Martin A. Jones, is in jail facing attempted murder and assault charges.
At midnight, just before the shooting, trooper Jesse Greene stopped a black van driving over the speed limit on a state road. He pulled over the woman and gave her a battery of field sobriety tests. She failed the tests, and was arrested for DUI. She was by herself in the van.
Scott Johnson arrived on the scene following the arrest, to help process the vehicle in question and to wait for a tow truck while Greene took the woman to the station.
At that point, Martin Jones approached the scene and asked a tow truck driver what he was doing. The driver replied that he was taking the vehicle to an impound lot. Jones then disappeared.
A short time later, Jones returned, walking up behind Scott Johnson, who was taking inventory of things inside the van. Jones shot Johnson twice in the head, took a step back, and chuckled, according to the tow truck driver.
The driver thought it was a toy gun, and only realized the severity of the situation when Jones fired several rounds at him, breaking out a window in the van. “I’ve been shot!” yelled Johnson, who was able to fire off several rounds at Jones as he fled the scene.
Police dogs tracked Jones’ scent back to his house. Johnson identified a sketch of Jones, who was then placed under arrest. When police arrived to arrest him, he had several suitcases packed.
Police then discovered that the van’s driver was Jones’ wife, which seemed to provide a motive in the shooting.
Jones is now in jail on $5 million bail.
A Canadian man has been arrested for drunk driving so many times the courts didn’t just suspend his license: They banned him from driving for life.
According to an article in the Canadian Press, Nova Scotia resident Terry Naugle has racked up a total of 68 convictions in past 32 years. Of these, 22 were DUI related and 14 charges were for driving on a revoked license.
So far he has served 22 years in prison for all his separate convictions, with no sentence lasting more than three years. His driving privileges have also been revoked many times, but he continues to ignore these sentences. Thus, it’s unclear if the lifetime driving ban will have much impact.
Naulge never stayed in jail too long because he never seriously injured or killed someone while drinking and driving.
His latest arrest occurred in March 2009 when he hit a parked vehicle on an off ramp. The McMillan family had pulled over their car because they ran out of gas.
Mr. McMillan walked to the gas station leaving behind his wife and teenage daughter. Naugle drove his car onto the off ramp and side swiped their vehicle, and then proceeded to leave the scene.
David McMillan was walking back when he saw Naugle hit the car. He jumped into the driver’s seat and the family followed Naugle into a gas station.
They claimed that Naugle reeked of alcohol while staggering and slurring his words. He then fled again, but was later arrested by RCPM officers who were at the gas station.
Naugle pleaded guilty to driving with a restricted license, refusing to take a breathalyzer, and fleeing the scene of the accident. He was sentenced to eight and half years for driving under the influence.
Most sentences for DUI charges in Nova Scotia are short term, but when viewed in light of his prior convictions the judge thought a longer sentence was necessary.
Judge Frank Hoskins, who oversaw the court case, said “Mr. Naugle’s record for impaired driving is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Julia McMillan and MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) hoped that the judge was going to classify Naugle as a dangerous offender with his long history of DUI convictions. Instead, he received only the longer sentence and lifetime ban.
Do you feel you were pulled over for DUI for no reason whatsoever? It’s possible that is the case, at least in Illinois, where lawsuits and internal investigations are looking widespread charges of false DUI arrests.
According to Chicago’s ABC7 news site, around 40 lawsuits were filed against Richard Fiorito for alleged false DUI charges. They claimed that he targeted the gay and lesbian community after they left from gay bars.
The lawsuits also claim that Fiorito stopped drivers for “bogus” traffic violations. The plaintiffs say he then made up false reports claiming they were intoxicated.
But recently the charges against Fiorito were dropped by Cook County’s State Attorney Anita Alvarez. She said there was not enough evidence to convict him, even with the surveillance video.
The surveillance video was put in Fiorito’s police car in March 2009 because he had several complaints about him making false arrests.
According to the lawsuits, these videos contradicted Fiorito’s arrest reports. Alvarez still said it was not enough evidence to present a case against the police officer.
The plaintiffs disagreed and claimed that the video tape proves the officer made false DUI reports.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney claimed Alvarez dropped the charges because the allegations were inconsistent and most of the drivers refused to give bloods samples to determine their BAC.
Alvarez’s chief of staff said that “based upon that investigation, it was determined that there were a number of inconsistencies. And it was ultimately determined we wouldn’t be able to meet our burden which in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Since the investigation, Fiorito no longer patrols the streets but works behind a desk. He will continue to do so until Internal Affairs completes their investigation. Also, Fiorito will no longer be a witness in DUI cases.
But Fiorito was not the first Chicago police officer to be accused of making false DUI arrests. Two officers were previously accused of the same offense. One officer even retired early instead of face criminal charges and an investigation for allegedly making these false claims.
While millions of Americans were enjoying the excitement of a thrilling Super Bowl, Ryan Larson of Elkhart, Indiana, was allegedly enjoying a different kind of excitement.
The roller coaster ride of the game between the Saints and the Colts was quite different from the cop car joyride Larson experienced.
According to the Elkhart eTruth, Larson was arrested on preliminary charges of stealing a police car and ramming it into a barrier, as well as DUI, resisting law enforcement and leaving the scene of an accident. The Elkhart County Sherriff’s Department released the statement outlining the charges.
The original call came in for a domestic disturbance at around 7:30 p.m. Larson’s parents were there to respond to officers. They claimed to believe that their son was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication.
According to the press release, as police were talking to his parents, Larson jumped into Elkhart County Patrolman Brandon Denesuk’s patrol car and drove off down the street.
Police used GPS locators in the car to find it almost immediately. They were attempting to intercept the stolen vehicle when Larson allegedly crashed it into a construction area near the Johnson Street bridge. The crash caused minor damage when the police car ran into barricades that were set up around the construction site.
Larson fled the scene of the patrol car accident on foot, though police were able to locate and apprehend him fairly quickly. The ordeal lasted about fifteen minutes from the time police approached Larson’s parents to the time he was apprehended on foot.
Larson was checked for injuries at a nearby hospital, and then he was taken to jail.
According to police, all of the weapons that were in the car were secure, so a thief could not have gotten to them. Police are investigating whether the officers procedures and policies were effective.
Larson’s blood-alcohol level was .10 percent — .02 percent over the legal limit for DUI – at the time of his alleged escapade through the streets of Elkhart. Since he was driving – albeit a stolen cop car – he was still charged with DUI.
There is no word on whether Larson was allowed to watch the end of the game from jail, though the Colts loss may have been tough for the Indiana resident to watch anyhow.
Law enforcement agencies often target holidays and popular party days as a time to step up DUI check points and DUI enforcement.
This was the case for the most recent Super Bowl Sunday, as cops stepped up their presences on the nation’s highways, hoping to cut down on DUI and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the more dangerous days to drive as a result of impaired driving. The administration notes that almost half of fatal accidents in that time period are a result of impaired drivers with a blood-alcohol content above .08. The NHTSA’s message on Super Bowl Sunday: “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”
The message may be working, as early reports show a relatively safe and quiet Super Bowl weekend.
In Oregon, there were 58 drivers arrested for DUI across the state on Super Bowl weekend. This figure is similar to numbers from last year around the same time, according to Oregon State Police.
There were 14 arrests in the Springfield area, 8 around Salem, and 7 each in Portland and Tualatin.
There were no fatal accidents in Oregon.
Even north of the border DUI patrols were heightened surrounding the Super Bowl. The Toronto Observer called it “one the largest RIDE blitzes in the city’s history.”
Despite the large effort, only three arrests were made for drinking and driving on Super Bowl weekend. Seven cars were towed in that time. The previous year, nine arrests were made for DUI.
Said Sergeant Jack West of the Super Bowl patrols: “We know that people are going to be celebrating and including alcoholic beverages. So knowing that, we want to go out there and keep the roads safe. This is all about saving lives.”
Las Vegas DUI
As some 300,000 people descended on Las Vegas for the big game, police stepped up their DUI patrols. These efforts resulted in 29 drunk driving arrests in the Las Vegas area. Most of these arrests came from traffic stops, and only three came after traffic accidents.
Experts believe that the man charged in a fatal DUI from 2006 may have had a BAC four times the legal limit, NJ.com is reporting.
On April 20, 2006, a car hit two teenage girls as they walked down the side of a New Jersey road coming back from a movie theater. They were killed, and now the driver of that car faces trial in Morristown, New Jersey.
Medical experts recently testified about the state of the driver in the case, which moved into its fourth day at the time of the testimony. Their determination was that Eugene Baum, who was driving the vehicle that struck the girls, registered a blood-alcohol level of .305, which is four times the legal limit, when measurement was taken several hours after the accident.
Using a technique called “back extrapolation,” another forensic scientist estimated that Baum’s blood-alcohol level could have been as high as .376 at the time of the accident.
The girls, Athear Jafar, 16, and her cousin, Mayada Jafar, 15, were walking down the shoulder of a two-lane road after going to the movies together.
Baum allegedly struck them at dusk while driving his Kia Optima down the road’s shoulder at forty miles per hour. He did not brake, even as he struck the girls. They were terribly wounded past the point of recovery.
Baum faces charges of vehicular homicide and DUI. He could face up to 60 years in prison if he is found guilty.
Baum’s DUI defense centers around complications from treatment for his alcoholism. While he admitted that he was driving the car, he claims that a reaction between prescription medication and alcohol caused him to lose his senses.
A few weeks before the crash, Baum went to the hospital with severe symptoms caused by an attempt to stop drinking alcohol, including withdrawal. He spent three days in the hospital, and when he was discharged he was told to undergo outpatient alcohol detoxification.
Baum was prescribed a drug called Librium when he left the hospital. He claims that he didn’t know he shouldn’t have combined that drug with alcohol consumption, and that he therefore didn’t know the ill effects it would have on his body and his mind, and that he couldn’t know the harm that he might cause.
A Florida woman’s decision to drink and drive is once again highlighting the unexpected consequences a DUI can have.
Tampa Bay Online reports a that a 39-year-old woman is accused of driving an 11-year-old child to school while under the influence of illegal drugs. According to police, she crashed her car into another car, and into a fence.
The child was in the passenger seat of the car when the incident occurred. She was not injured, though she was too upset to go to school and went home with her father.
The incident surrounds the mother, Lena K. Maki, who was driving her child to Chasco Elementary at around 9:30 in the morning when she collided with the other car. Maki, seeing what she had done, attempted to leave the scene of the accident. She drove over a curb and into one of the school’s fences in her attempt to flee.
A nearby individual ultimately pulled their car in front of Maki’s, to prevent her from leaving the scene of the accident. According to the police report, Maki also attempted to flee on foot but troopers prevented her from doing so. One sheriff saw her throw her keys into the grass, but he was able to retrieve them as they returned to the school.
When police were finally able to interact with Maki, she nodded off several times as they spoke to her. Her words were slurred, and she attempted to lean against her Jeep for support. Instead, she fell over in the grass, where she proceeded to urinate on herself.
Maki failed field sobriety tests, and it was the observation of the police that she was under the influence of a controlled substance.
The Florida Highway Patrol is reporting that Maki is charged with DUI, child neglect, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI with damage to property or person.
From actors to athletes, local police departments show no favoritism to those that drink and drive.
Rey Maualuga, a linebacker for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals,- was recently arrested in Covington, Kentucky, for allegedly driving under the influence.
The New York Times reported that Maualuga was arrested last Friday morning and held in the Kenton County Jail for seven hours before he was released.
Responding police officers said that Maualuga admitted to drinking “six captain and cokes,” a popular alcoholic beverage containing Captain Morgan spiced rum and Coca-Cola.
When he was arrested his blood alcohol content was .157, which is twice the legal limit of .08.
Police confirmed that Maualuga’s 2003 Pontiac hit a parking meter and two parked cars. There was minor damage to his car and no injuries were reported.
According to a USA today article, Maualuga made a public apology on his twitter account: “Sorry for bringing humiliation n embarrassment to this Organization n to dis great city of Cincinnati.” He later pleaded not guilty to the charges of drunken driving and careless driving.
But Maualuga was not the only one recently arrested for DUI.
Adrian Pasdar, the actor who played Nathan Petrelli on the popular NBC TV show “Heroes,” was also recently arrested for driving under the influence.
Pasdar was pulled over on Freeway 405 in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Highway Patrol clocked the star driving 90 miles per hour at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday. They also reported that Pasdar failed to maintain his lane.
The officers said they could smell alcohol as they approached his car. They requested Pasdar take a sobriety field test. Pasdar refused to take a breathalyzer to determine his BAC.
He was then arrested for suspicion of a DUI and was taken to the nearby county jail. Since he refused to take the breathalyzer test his bail was set at $15,000. No court date has been set for the actor at this point.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can dramatically increase with multiple convictions. But one woman in New Hampshire pushed these laws to their limits recently.
The Associated Press recently reported that a woman in Concord, N. H. was arrested three times in one week for allegedly driving under the influence.
Patricia Mondro now faces a $50,000 cash only bail on three separate charges of a driving under the influence issued within just days of one another.
On January 16, Mondro was arrested in a parking lot in Londonderry after she crashed her vehicle. Witnesses then contacted the local police department because they said that Mondro looked disoriented.
She was then arrested and charged with a misdemeanor DWI, but was release from jail the next day.
Five days later, she was arrested and charged with an aggravated DWI after crashing into a guardrail on Interstate 93 in Concord. Mondro suffered a few injuries from the crash, but was released from jail.
Shortly after Mondro was released she was arrested for a third time. She had allegedly hit a pick-up truck on the same highway where her she was charged with her second DUI offense.
She was driving with her headlights off when she hit the other car which then collided with a third vehicle. No injuries were reported in the incident.
After the first two arrests, Mondro still had her driver’s license because neither case had moved through the court system yet.
Lt. Tim Jones of the Londonderry Police Department said “that the problem is [that] all these license issues kick in after the conviction, [and] she’s in the interim state.”
Judge Gerald Boyle said at Mondro’s arraignment that he was concerned with the public’s safety as she had received multiple DWI’s in a very short period of time.
He further said that Mondro was “an extreme danger” not only to herself but to others as well. So he imposed separate cash only bails for each offense.
According to the Concord Monitor, Mondro made very few remarks during her arraignment. But she said that her husband had recently left her.
Her legal aid stated that Mondro’s family is going to get her the help she needs. Her court date for her third DWI charge is February 9.