Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s wife was once again arrested for DUI, this time for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs.
Mary Kennedy was pulled over for speeding at 8 in the morning, according to the Journal News, when police decided to perform sobriety tests and made the arrest for driving while impaired by drugs.
According to the police report, she was driving her 2004 Volvo 82 miles per hour when police pulled her over.
The arrest comes on the heels of a license suspension that was handed down to Kennedy just a month ago, after she pleaded guilty to driving while drunk.
At the time of the latest arrest, Kennedy had a conditional license, which made it legal for her to drive in certain limited situations. She told police that she was going to yoga class.
She was taken to a police station in nearby Millbrook, New York, where an expert in drug-recognition determined that she was under the influence of a prescription medication.
This is the latest in an ongoing series of soap opera-like events for Mary Kennedy. In one bad week in May of this year her husband filed for divorce, police responded to repeated calls to her home in Bedford, New York, and she was charged with DUI.
The May 15 arrest came after she was pulled over after police saw her run her car onto a curb outside of a school. Police said that her speech was blurred. She had a blood-alcohol content of .11.
A few days before that, when police came to her house after she called 911, they found that Mary Kennedy was visibly drunk, that she was having trouble gathering her thoughts or letting police know why she called.
A few days after that, her husband filed for divorce, and the day after that the police returned to the couple’s home on a report of a domestic incident.
In mid-July Kennedy was able to plead guilty to a lesser charge for the DUI, and she had to pay a $500 fine and attend DWI classes.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is kicking of this year’s campaign against drunk driving with some new data gathered about the habits of drivers when it comes to alcohol.
One piece of data gathered from surveys released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 8 percent of all drivers have driven drunk in the last year.
That translates into around 17 million people when applied to the population of drivers in the U.S.
The NHTSA’s campaign, called “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit, Under Arrest,” focuses on keeping drunk drivers off of the road. The campaign will include a law enforcement crackdown that will run from now until Labor Day.
Police agencies from all over the country will step up DUI enforcement as a part of the campaign. Their efforts will be aided by $13 million in radio and TV advertisements put out by the NHTSA.
“Drunk driving is deadly, it’s against the law, and unfortunately, it’s still a problem,” said Secretary Ray LaHood of the NHTSA.
“With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior.”
According to the survey data collected by the NHTSA, four out of five people said that drunk driving was a major threat to their own life and to the lives of their families. One out of five people had driven a car within two hours of drinking alcohol over the last year.
Another part of the survey made the distinction between those who said that they had driven within two hours of a drink, and those who hadn’t.
Among the first group, it was determined that they drank more frequently than members of the second group. Among members of the first group, a little more than 25 percent of them said that they drank alcoholic beverages three or more days per week.
The survey results were troubling to law enforcement in part because of the habits that it showed among younger people, and especially among younger males.
Those 16 to 20-year-olds that admitted to driving after they drank said that they drank almost six alcoholic drinks in a sitting. This was not necessarily before they drove a car, but rather it was a generalization about their drinking habits.
Nonetheless, in the eyes of the NHTSA, it shows that should a young person make the poor decision to mix drinking and driving, the drinking side of things is likely to be in the extreme.
Drivers aren’t the only concern. The more drinking that goes on, the more likely it is that someone will be a passenger while a drunk driver is at the wheel.
The survey results indicate that 8 percent of the population that is 16 or older rode with a driver who they though might have drunk too much alcohol to drive safely.
Surveys like this are conducted periodically to keep a tab on the public attitude towards drunk driving.
Here’s a round-up of the latest bizarre DUI news from across the country, including an update the goat rescued in a DUI checkpoint.
Bride-to-Be Gets DUI Hours Before Wedding
According to an Associated Press article, a bride headed home from her bachelorette party was driving drunk with a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. She was arrested only a few hours before she was scheduled to make her vows.
The Seattle Times reports that she was pulled over for going 90 m.p.h. and weaving in and out of traffic on an interstate highway.
When state troopers pulled her over, she said she would be getting married the following afternoon.
This wasn’t her first DUI, and the process apparently went quickly as she was booked and released in time to make her wedding.
Florida Man Gets Arrested for DUI Twice in 48 Hours
The Gainesville Sun released a report on Antony David Dees and his two DUI arrests in two days.
Police were dispatched to a hit-and-run on Thursday, August 19 at 3 a.m. Witnesses and physical evidence linked Dees to the incident which occurred barely 48 hours after being charged with refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Dees was additionally charged with DUI causing property damage, hit and run, leaving the scene of the crime, and driving on a suspended license. He was booked into the Alachua County Jail with a bond set at $170,000.
North Pole DUI Retrial
The Anchorage Daily News reports that a North Pole woman will get a retrial because she claims she was only driving drunk to escape her ex-boyfriend.
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the woman had grounds for an acquittal under the necessity defense. She will be acquitted if she can prove that she felt she had no other option to escape her violent ex-boyfriend and that drunk driving was safer than remaining where she was.
Strange DUI Update: Woman Convicted, Goat Gets New Home
A few weeks ago, we published a story about a routine DUI stop that turned into animal cruelty charges when a goat was found tied up in the very hot trunk of a car during the middle of summer.
If you’re wondering what happened to the goat and the driver, the news is out: The Associated Press reports that Fiona Enderby has been convicted of animal cruelty under Virginia law and has been fined $100.
As for the goat, WSET News reports that he has been adopted by Danny Johnson, owner of Peaks and Otter Winery, and has been named Trunk, in honor of his harrowing ordeal.
According to Johnson, he’s become quite famous and people come to the winery solely to visit him. He’s also become quite popular with the goat ladies, and is expecting kids. Fairy tales do come true.
English cricketer Graeme Swann was recently stopped for drunk driving at 3 in the morning in Nottingham, England.
His excuse for driving under the influence? His cat, which had gotten lodged underneath the floor of his home.
According to his story, as reported by the Telegraph, Swann had returned home from a birthday celebration with his wife at the late hour, and on arriving home found that his kitten was stuck under the floor.
Swann then, according to his side of things, rushed to drive to a 24-hour supermarket to buy some tools to help free his unlucky feline.
Police stopped Swann’s white Porsche Cayenne because there had been robberies in the neighborhood recently. Before the stop was made, police report that Swann accelerated “at speed” before the officer put on his flashing lights and the cricketer stopped.
“A male got out of the driver’s seat,” says Pc Steven Denniss. “I saw something in his right hand and saw they were a set of screwdrivers.”
Swann told the officer about his trapped cat, and according to the report his speech was slightly slurred. Swann apologized and told the officer that he knew that he should not have been driving, but that he “only went to Asda to get some screwdrivers to get the cat out.”
Another officer on the scene reported that he thought that, given the robberies in the neighborhood, she suspected that they had another thief on their hands.
Swann told police that the screwdrivers were not what they thought, and that they should call his wife to confirm his story. Police put a call in for a sergeant to stop by the athlete’s home and make sure that the cat was alright.
“[Swann] was very chatty,” the report continued. “He said he had been out celebrating his birthday with his partner. Mr. Swann was in a panic and seemed very concerned about the cat.”
According to the court that heard the case, Swann was “borderline” over the legal drunk driving limit. In England, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
Swann was named England’s cricketer of the year this year. He is a bowler on the English national team, and took 10 wickets in a test in Bangladesh in March, which propelled him to the award.
No word on whether police ever caught the cat burglars terrorizing the neighborhood, but it’s probably a safe bet that the cat itself was fine.
An elementary school teacher at an elementary school Florida will not be returning to her classroom after she was arrested for DUI. She is also accused of threatening the police during the stop.
Joann Tomas taught third-grade Spanish at Dr. Williams Chapman Elementary school, according to the Miami Herald. She won’t be returning to her regular duties after the incident. Instead, she has been reassigned to an office work position while the case plays out.
Tomas was pulled over on suspicion of DUI in early August by police who saw her car swerving through traffic. When they approached her SUV, police noticed that Tomas appeared to have “watery eyes, flushed face and slurred speech.” She also had difficulty locating her driver’s license, and lost her balance while she was getting out of her car. In order to walk, she had to steady herself on the car, the report said.
Tomas managed to threaten one of the police officers, the report indicates, before she was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail. According to that report, Tomas threatened the officer by saying “I am taking your job. I am going to say you took my shirt off, lifted my skirt and touched my (expletive).”
Tomas’ combative behavior did not end with those remarks, however, police say. They say she also, at the jail, managed to work her way out of the handcuffs she was wearing and throw them at an officer, who she then allegedly kicked in the groin area.
In response, the officer Tased Tomas in the chest. That didn’t stop her, though, as she got up and tried to punch the officer, who Tasered her again.
More kicking and punching ensued as officers did what they could to restrain the feisty teacher after her DUI arrest.
Not to be deterred, Tomas continued to make offensive and threatening statements. “I am going to take your jobs,” she is reported to have said. “I have a Jewish lawyer.”
Also noted were additional racially disparaging remarks made to police officers.
Tomas is disputing the reports by officers, saying that she was “unnecessarily roughed up,” as the Miami Herald puts it. “All my knees are bruised from putting me on the floor,” Tomas stated.
She did admit to cursing at the officers, but said that she hadn’t eaten for 12 hours at the time she was pulled over.
When 19-year-old Benjamin Repinski asked someone to drive him home he may have thought he was doing the right thing. After all, he knew he had been drinking and shouldn’t be driving.
Unfortunately, the driver who agreed had also been drinking – and was only 12-years-old.
On the way home down County Road 12 in Minnesota, she mistook the brake pedal for the gas, veered off the road, and drove through a garden. Repinski then got behind the wheel to drive the two out of the garden and hit a shed, reports CBS News.
The homeowners called the police at about 11:30 pm. When police officers arrived on the scene, they asked to see her license, but she didn’t have one.
Police were surprised to learn the girl Repinski asked for a ride is only twelve years old. They were further stunned when she submitted to a breathalyzer test and was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.09, according to the Boston Herald.
She was taken to a local hospital because she was complaining of back and side pain, where she was released to her mother. She refused to submit to a blood test.
Even though his blood alcohol level was not over 0.08, Repinski has been cited for underage drinking and driving, consumption by a minor, and allowing an unlicensed person to drive. All of these charges are misdemeanors.
He will be expected to attend an August 27, 2010 court date, reports WQOW. The twelve-year-old was cited for a fourth-degree DWI and for refusal to submit to a blood test, says WCCO.
However, those are not the only two people cited in this peculiar event. While a deputy sheriff was on his way to the hospital to interview the girl about the accident, he noticed a moped wobbling down Highway 43 while driving down the road.
The driver of the moped was wearing sunglasses even though it was the middle of the night. The deputy stopped the moped and cited Daniel G. Arndt, age 21, for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. When the deputy asked why Arndt was driving while intoxicated, Arndt replied that he was going to pick up his friend Benjamin Repinski who had been in a car accident.
Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand acknowledged the peculiarity of the event in an interview with WKBT News.
“It’s something you don’t come across every day. In my forty years of law enforcement, I’ve only come across it once or twice.”
One would hope that to be the case.
Captain Scott Patrick Sciple, a Marine Corps captain who has been decorated with three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service, has been charged with DUI manslaughter after a fatal crash on the Florida highway.
Pedro Rivera, 48, was killed in the crash, which occurred at around 4 in the morning on April 25, on Interstate 275, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Court records revealed that police measured Capt. Sciple’s blood-alcohol content T .255, which is three times the legal driving limit. It was while behind the wheel in this condition that he allegedly drove his Chevy Impala the wrong way on the interstate, and collided with Rivera’s Chevy Malibu.
Rivera was pronounced dead after he arrived at the hospital following the crash.
“This is a horribly tragic case for everyone involved,” said attorney for Sciple John Fitzgibbons.
Sciple was a veteran of four tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was planning to return to the battlefront to serve a fifth tour of duty at the time of the accident. He was home recovering from injuries before deploying again. Fitzgibbons would not elaborate on Sciple’s war wounds.
He joined the military in 2001, and was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
“We are presently examining some very compelling circumstances,” he said of the injury situation, “which may involve legal and medical matters, but I’m not going to discuss those at the present time.”
Rivera’s wife, Carmen, was also injured in the accident, as was Sciple. They were both taken to the hospital in serious condition.
It took so long for Sciple to be charged because the court was awaiting the results of the toxicology tests in the case. This was explained as a standard procedure, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Larry Kraus.
Sciple was also charged with DUI with property damage or personal injury to go along with the DUI manslaughter charge. He was released from jail with a $25,500 bail.
After the military learned of the accident, Sciple was switched to an administrative role, where he now manages paperwork. This move was not viewed as a punishment, which would allow him to more easily deal with legal issues.
Lawrence John Doheny, a sheriff’s department officer in Anoka County, Minnesota, has been charged with DUI and with attempting to grab a police officer’s gun after he was stopped on the highway.
While he was awaiting a blood-alcohol test, police had to Taser Doheny three times to get him to submit, according to Fox 9 in the Twin Cities.
Police saw Doheny’s car make a wide U-turn at a traffic light, then speed and cross over the center line before they stopped him on the highway. When the officer pulled Doheny over, he noticed that there was a smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle, and he saw signs that the driver was drunk.
Doheny said at that point that he had drunk a “couple of beers.”
Doheny got out of his vehicle willingly, but allegedly stumbled as he did so. He did not, however, agree to take an alcohol test, and he was placed under arrest, then transported to the Jordan Police Department and read the implied consent advisory.
Doheny then asked for a lawyer and to be allowed to make a telephone call. He then refused to take a urine or a blood test. He offered to take a DUI breath test, but Scott County, where he was being held, does not offer breath tests as an option in these situations.
Finally, Doheny agreed to take a blood test at the St. Francis Medical Center. “You guys nailed me,” he reportedly said. Doheny was not handcuffed as police transported him into the hospital, but that is when things started to get dangerous.
At that point, Doheny allegedly tried to grab a police officer’s handgun. He then threatened the officer by stating, “you really shouldn’t test me.” The police officer was able to secure his gun before Doheny shoved him in the chest, and took off on foot, ignoring the police’s commands that he get down on the ground.
When Doheny kept running, the officer Tased him. Doheny kept at it, and ended up getting Tased three times as back-up arrived on the scene.
Finally he was handcuffed, put on a stretcher and taken to the emergency room, where staff reported that he was belligerent. They were able to get a reading on his blood-alcohol content.
Doheny, who has been with the sheriff’s department in Anoka for 18 years, has been placed on administrative leave from his civil division post.
A bill advancing through the New Jersey legislature could make DUI testing mandatory in any fatal or serious car crash.
According to NJ.com, the legislation was prompted by a fatal one-car crash in Southampton, New Jersey in July 2007. Anthony Farrace, a passenger in the car, was killed when it hit a tree, and his body was tested for drugs and alcohol like in any autopsy.
The seventeen-year-old driver, however, was not required to submit to testing and was cited for careless driving and received a $200 fine and her license was suspended for six months. The accident incited Farrace’s father to push for a change in the New Jersey DUI laws.
Currently, drivers can only be tested when there is evidence or a strong suspicion that the driver is under the influence.
The new DUI law would require drivers to submit to a breath test or a blood test. If drivers refused to submit, then they would be subject to the same penalties as drivers who refused to submit in a DUI stop. First offenders could face fines of up to $1,000 and have their licenses suspended for up to two years.
A similar law is currently being considered in Illinois.
According to the New Jersey News Room, the bill is being sponsored by Democrats Nelson Albano and Paul Moriarty. Albano believes that the bill “makes common sense,” and that police would be able to “determine whether a driver was under the influence, and would be able to insure that impaired drivers don’t get back behind the wheel and will face serious charges.”
Moriarty is quoted as saying that “ testing for potential alcohol or drug use should be the rule when accidents result in death or serious injury, not the exception.”
The opposite side, of course, is that this is a bad road to head down. Landline, a magazine for truckers, points out that this expansion of implied consent laws and repudiation of probable cause is troubling, and would open the state to numerous headaches down the road because it is so invasive.
However, the article also notes that this is the second bill, and an identical effort died a year ago in committee.
This time around though, things look like they’re going differently. The New Jersey Assembly’s Law and Public Safety committee approved the measure in June, and forwarded it to the full Assembly in June, but a date for a final vote has yet to be decided.
What do you think? Is this an appropriate measure that will protect citizens and should be more widely adopted? Or is it an invasion of privacy which New Jersey should avoid putting into law?
A San Ramon, California, man is suspected of drunk driving and hit-and-run after police arrested him in the wake of what CBS 5 is calling a “drunken driving rampage.” The man, Cainan Schierholtz, is the brother of a pro baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, Nate Schierholtz.
Cainan Schierholtz was arrested on a recent Sunday morning, after, according to police, he hit a bicyclist, a pedestrian, a light pole and two cars.
The call came it at about 10 in the morning, with reports that a car was driving recklessly on Danville Boulevard, in Danville, California.
Then came the report that the driver allegedly hit a cyclist riding in a bike lane on the same road. Schierholtz allegedly did not stop, though, continuing down the road. Soon after that he allegedly hit a pedestrian who was standing in the bike lane.
Again, he didn’t stop to offer assistance or acknowledge either of the accidents. Instead, he allegedly continued driving, then swerved into traffic and hit a pickup truck. Not done yet, police said that he kept on driving still, until he veered up onto the sidewalk and rammed into a light pole, which fell to the ground.
Even after all of that, Schierholtz still kept driving, according to police. He rear-ended a sport utility vehicle, and then drove down a dead-end street.
The driver of the pick-up truck who had been previously hit followed Schierholtz, and then used his truck to pin him into the dead-end street so that he couldn’t get away.
According to a witness, the suspect’s airbags had deployed, so that he was awkwardly pinned in the car. And yet, despite even that, he was still driving.
Eventually Schierholtz realized he couldn’t get past the makeshift blockade, and he stopped in front of the pickup truck. The truck’s driver and several other bystanders pulled the suspect out of his car and restrained him until the police got there.
Schierholtz was booked on suspicion of four counts of DUI causing bodily harm, three counts of hit-and-run causing injury, two counts of hit-and-run causing property damage, and driving without a license, according to CBS. He was held on $350,000 bail.
When the newly adopted Leandra’s Law goes into effect, New York will be the 10th state to require that anyone convicted of misdemeanor or felony drunk driving will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car, the New York Times is reporting.
An ignition interlock device keeps a car from starting until the driver proves, via a breath test, that he or she does not have any alcohol in their system. The new law in the state is Leandra’s Law, named for a young girl who was killed in 2009 by a drunk driver. Her father, Lenny Rosado, became an outspoken advocate of tougher DUI laws after he lost his daughter.
The law will also make it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 16 in the car.
Those required to install the ignition interlock device will have to keep it installed for a minimum of six months. The device must be installed at the driver’s expense. They are leased to drivers for a monthly charge of $70-110, according to the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. Installation of the devices can be free, or can range in cost to up to $100.
According to the director of the OPCA, Robert Maccarone, an average of 25,000 drunk driving convictions come down every year in New York State – 4,000 of which occur in New York City.
The ignition interlock devices, which must be purchased from one of several state-contracted manufacturers, have a very low tolerance for alcohol levels in the breath of drivers. A car with the device won’t start if it registers anything that is above a .025 percent blood alcohol content. The legal limit is .08 percent.
There are a number of ways to deter falsified tests, as well. To keep a sober accomplice from blowing into the device, they have rolling retests, which administer another test every 5 to 15 minutes. This means that, to cheat the device again, the drunk driver would need to have the same sober friend with them.
When a retest fails, the horn starts to beep, and then a loud noise is admitted from the ignition interlock device.
There are also devices that snap a photo of the driver at the time the test is administered. Devices can also be configured to limit the hours a driver can drive the car, and they can resist hot-wiring and push-starting.
Denna Cohen, the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Long Island chapter, says that the new law going into effect will save lives. “This is absolutely effective,” she said. “One drunk driver is all it takes to wreak havoc on a family.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety agrees that the devices are effective. “We know that alcohol interlocks do work to reduce recidivism, and strengthening interlocks to include first offenders is the logical step to curb alcohol-impaired driving,” said Russ Rader, a spokesperson for the group.
Maccarone said that, in New Mexico, a similar program reducing repeat DUI offenses by 37 percent between 2002 and 2008.
Jamie Hicks was driving erratically when her daughter called police from the backseat of the car to report her mother driving drunk with herself and her 10 year old brother in the car.
Hicks was driving down I-84 and was weaving in and out of traffic. According to CNN, Hicks’ daughter was frantic the first time she called, because her mother was “driving erratically and speaking incoherently.”
The cell phone cut out, which prompted 911 operators to call back several times, trying to reach Hicks’ daughter so that the car remained monitored. By the time, they managed to contact her again, all they heard was an argument.
Hicks was apparently furious at her daughter for telling the police about her intoxicated state. Thankfully, the car was pulled over by this time. Operators for 911 were able to locate the cell phone signal of the vehicle and the police arrived soon after.
According to the New York Post, Hicks made some admissions to the police about the fact that she had been drinking. Her blood alcohol level was .18, which is more than twice the legal limit of .08 in New York State.
Hicks was charged with a felony DUI for violating Leandra’s Law, a New York statute that makes driving intoxicated with children in the vehicle a felony. She has been released on $2,000 bail and is due back in court next month. The children have been released into their grandparents care, according to ABClocal.com
Stephen Hicks, the grandfather, is quoted as saying “The family is very grateful my granddaughter had the common sense to make that call . . . The situation is — how can I put it — a terrible lapse in judgment.”
Hicks had been driving her children back from the grandparents home in the first place. The drive between Southbury, Connecticut where the grandparents live and Brewster, New York, where Hicks was arrested is about 45 minutes long.
Regardless, this twelve year old girl is incredibly brave to go against her mother and do what was best for everyone in the car. Police will not be releasing the tapes, but they do recognize the fact that if more children “told” on their parents there may be fewer DUI crashes.
The bottom line is that if you see someone behaving as though they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, do not let them behind the wheel.
When there is a chance to affirm justice, and to see that a criminal gets their due, it is often the victim of a crime who raises the loudest voice and brings safety and security concerns into the public sphere.
That is the case in Tennessee, as a woman who had to struggle to survive after being hit by a drunk driver is raising the alarm and attempting to keep the perpetrator of that DUI behind bars.
Eveylen Turner, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was in a coma for three weeks after Joseph Chimahosky crashed into her. Chimahosky was drunk when he hit Turner. He was found guilty of the crime, and he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
He has so far served five months of that sentence as part of his DUI penalties, but is now facing a parole board that will determine if he stays inside the joint or heads back out into the world.
With the parole hearing offering a place for Turner to state her views and potentially impact his stay in prison, Turner vowed to Channel 4 News in Nashville that she would do whatever it would take to keep Chimahosky behind bars.
“I don’t think he has served his time,” said the victim of the man’s drunk driving crash. “I think that he will get out and do the same again. The next person might not be as lucky as me.”
This was not Chimahosky’s first conviction for drunk driving, either. He had two previous convictions for DUI before his third, in the crash that almost killed an innocent person.
Turner made sure to be at Chimajosky’s parole hearing recently, bringing along pictures, X-rays and her medical bills, which totaled more than $1 million, as she built her case against him.
According to Channel 4 News, her and her family pleaded with the hearings officer to keep Chimahosky in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Dotson held a similar position. “I have no faith in him getting out of here,” he said, “and endangering everybody in the roadway in this county.”
Chimahosky has been in trouble even while in jail. There are reports of an incident on four occasions. He told the parole officers that “not a day goes by I don’t think about my actions. As much as I want to, I can’t change what happened that night or what bad decisions I made that night, but I can change the decisions I make in the future.”
The parole board’s decision should take 3 to 4 weeks.