A Phoenix man has been taken into custody by police after a DUI stop led officers to discover the dead body of the man’s mother inside her home, according to a report from Phoenix’s ABC 15 News.
The man, whose name had not yet been released by sources, was arrested by police late Sunday night for driving under the influence of alcohol.
During the course of the arrest, the suspect apparently made bizarre comments about the owner of the vehicle that caused the officers to become “concerned.”
The arresting officers contacted police near the home of the vehicle’s owner, which turned out to be the man’s mother, and the responding authorities discovered the dead body of 46-year-old Danette M. Baxter.
Before they reached the body, police saw blood on the front door and evidence that someone had made a forced entry into the home. In addition, police say that Baxter’s body had obvious signs of trauma, and they are treating her death as a homicide.
The man who was charged with a DUI is being held as a person of interest in the death of his mother, although he has not yet been charged with a crime in relation to the apparent homicide.
Interestingly, neighbors who were interviewed by local sources said they believed that Baxter’s son had physically abused her in the past, but they also expressed their disbelief that he was capable of committing a murder.
But the neighbors also expressed shock at nature of the crime. According to Sydney Swart, one of Baxter’s neighbors, “[j]ust the thought process of a child doing that to their mother is horrifying. It really is,” although she again did not implicate Baxter’s son in the killing.
Sources suggest that Baxter had been living in Long Beach, California before arriving in Phoenix a few months ago. Police are in Long Beach conducting further investigations into the life of the arrested man.
And other neighbors shed some light on the man’s past. One nearby resident claims to have heard he “got into some trouble in California” and that “there was something bothering him,” but he couldn’t tell exactly what is was.
Other neighbors told local reporters that the man was an “interesting character” who mostly “kept his head down.”
It’s not uncommon for routine DUI arrests to unveil evidence of other crimes, although it is rare that a DUI stop leads police to a homicide scene.
Typically, searches incident to a DUI arrest will reveal illegal drugs or unlicensed weapons, but the discovery of a dead body is truly unique.
A resident of Horsham, Pennsylvania was sentenced to eight years in prison this week after pleading felony DUI charges stemming from an accident in which he killed two of his childhood friends, according to a sobering report from the Philadelphia Daily News.
30-year-old Connor McNicholas had previously reached a plea deal with the prosecution that included his admission to committing several crimes, including homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, and recklessly endangering another person.
The accident offered in August 2011, when McNicholas was reportedly driving his Honda Civic more than 100 miles per hour when it veered off the highway and crashed.
At the time, there were four passengers in the vehicle. Of those four passengers, two, Robert Walker Nagel and Edward Taylor Coombs, both only 19, were killed. McNicholas and other two passengers in the car were treated at a nearby hospital, but only sustained minor injuries.
When he was arrested, McNicholas blew a .117, which is well above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08. While his BAC reading is not as high as the level of many other DUI arrestees, it is still at a level where drivers are severely impaired.
Sources say that McNicholas was sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison, but the judge left open the possibility that he could be released after four years, although only time will tell whether he is able to serve the shorter sentence.
As might be predicted, the sentencing hearing was very emotional, especially given the fact that the victims’ families were present.
And the victims’ families did not mince words when discussing the accident. Eric Coombs, the father of one of the teenage boys who died in the accident, told McNicholas that he held him “personally responsible for the death of my son” and said the drunk driver “took the heartbeat out of my life.”
In an equally emotional response, McNicholas told the court at the end of the hearing that “[i]t breaks my heart to know that they don’t have sons anymore and I’m responsible for that.”
The sentencing hearing closes one chapter in a nightmare story for McNicholas, who had just finished his sophomore year at Temple University before the accident occurred.
During his sophomore year, McNicholas had won all-conference accolades for his play on the school’s golf team, and he was named the Most Outstanding Rookie Performer during the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship tournament. Sadly, it will be a long time before he is able to golf again.
New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl made a savvy public relations move this week by issuing a sincere public apology just hours after being arrested for a DUI, according to a recent report in the New York Post.
Sources say that Diehl crashed his BMW into two other vehicles on Sunday night after he had spent several hours drinking at an Astoria bar in New York City.
At the time of his arrest, the police measured his blood alcohol level at .18 percent, which is well above the legal limit of .08 percent.
Diehl was released from jail shortly after his arrest, but he faces his next court date on July 26, which is when the Giants are supposed to report to training camp.
Diehl is one of the most popular Giants players, and sources say that he has mostly stayed out of trouble during his 10-year tenure with the football team.
In order to protect his public image, Diehl quickly went on the offensive Tuesday morning, as he issued a heartfelt apology while standing in front of his locker on the first day of the Giants’ summer mini-camp.
In his own words, Diehl said, “I’m going to make sure I learn from this, it’s a mistake I guarantee will never, ever happen again. I’m going to make sure I help people never make the same decision I made. I’m going to become a stronger person because of it.”
Diehl had the full support of his head coach, Tom Coughlin, who said that his player was “very remorseful” and offered his full support. Coughlin also described Diehl as “an exemplary citizen” and a “very good spokesperson” for the team.
Sources indicate that Diehl will face a fine from the NFL for his actions, but will likely not have to serve a suspension.
Diehl’s arrest is another in a long line of DUI troubles faced by NFL players in the past few years, and sources suggest that the league may soon begin leveling harsher penalties against players who are arrested for drunk driving.
One notable recent incident involved Justin Blackmon, a former collegiate star at Oklahoma State who was arrested for his second DUI last week after being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Blackmon registered an alarmingly high blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest, and his legal troubles led to cries from observers for more action by the NFL to protect the livelihood of its players.
For its part, the NFL is weighing whether to increase the potential penalties faced by players who are convicted for a DUI, but, as it currently stands, most teams simply prefer to let the court system handle the bulk of the punishment.
A Chicago driver made life a bit more difficult for himself after he made an unsuccessful attempt to bribe his way out of a DUI arrest, according to a recent report from the Chicago Tribune.
Of course, trying to bribe the police officer may not have been the dumbest move Martin Johnson made on that fateful night.
Sources say that Johnson was arrested after allegedly speeding past a police station while under the influence of alcohol. When police finally caught up to his car, a brief search of the vehicle revealed that Johnson had an open bottle of liquor in the front seat.
Then things got really interesting. According to the police report, after the police pulled him over, Johnson said, “I’ll give you $5,000 if you’ll let me go.”
In response, one of the officers asked Johnson where he planned to get the money, at which point he handed over a flash drive and told the police officers to look into it.
When the police later went through the flash drive, they were surprised to discover extensive lists of credit card numbers, Social Security identities, and other types of sensitive financial information.
When the police asked Johnson where he had obtained the information, he finally made a wise choice, and simply told them to “talk to my lawyer.”
For his actions, Johnson will be charged with one count of bribery, one count of driving under the influence, and another county of driving on a revoked license.
Remarkably, Johnson has been arrested eight times since 2001 for driving with a revoked license, so he may be facing an eventual permanent driving ban if he finds the right judge.
In addition, Johnson has also been arrested for a DUI three times before. These arrests occurred in 2001, 2003, and 2006, according to a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
And Johnson could face further charges stemming from his possession of all the financial information on the flash drive, although police authorities have not yet decided what they will charge him with.
The lesson other drivers can learn from Johnson’s mishap is that, if you are arrested for a DUI, it’s in your best interests to simply be a good sport and not give the police officers any trouble.
Attempts to bribe the police or escape from them altogether almost never have happy endings, and only compound the legal troubles that the arrestee will eventually face.
A Michigan resident is facing a remarkable seventh drunk driving charge, but his most recent DUI arrest was notable for an entirely different reason.
Raymond Kulma was arrested this week for allegedly driving a stolen motorized wheelchair while under the influence of alcohol, according to a bizarre report from USA Today.
Kulma, a 55-year-old resident of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was arrested in Utica, a northern suburb of Detroit, after he allegedly pilfered a motorized wheelchair from a retirement home and drove it around town while drunk.
Sources say that, at the time of his arrest, Kulma’s blood alcohol level was a staggering .241, which is more than three times the legal Michigan limit of .08, which is the DUI threshold in most states.
And this is not Kulma’s first run-in with the police, as Utica Police Chief David Faber recently told sources that the man has “quite the history and quite the drinking problem.”
Kulma reportedly has been arrested six previous times for driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In the past two and a half decades, Kulma has had his license suspended four times and revoked twice, according to sources.
And Kulma may also have violent tendencies. Sources say that the man stole the wheelchair from a senior living center after “a couple of punches were thrown.”
According to James Konkel, the understated man from whom the wheelchair was stolen, a brief period in jail might help Kulma “learn his lesson.” In an act of undeserved magnanimity, Konkel decided not to press charges against the drunken wheelchair thief.
One other interesting note from this case is that driving a motorized wheelchair in public while drunk does, in fact, amount to a DUI, at least in Michigan.
In many states, DUI laws are drafted in a way that makes it illegal to drive any motorized vehicle while drunk. So, in many jurisdictions, it may be illegal to be drunk while driving a scooter, a wheelchair, or even a motorized bike.
Granted, while drunk drivers are behind the wheel of a wheelchair or golf cart, they may be less of a threat to other drivers, but they can still be a threat to themselves, as well as pedestrians.
The primary focus of DUI laws is to prevent injuries and fatalities, which is why they extend to motorized vehicles that are smaller than typical passenger cars. So, joyriders be warned: If you’re going to ride around in a motorized wheelchair, it’s best to do so while sober.
This week, a member of the Ying Yang Twins, which gained notoriety for their controversial rap lyrics and hard-partying lifestyles, was arrested in the most predictable way imaginable: for partying too hard.
The Ying Yang Twin’s D-Roc, whose birth name was Deongelo Holmes, was arrested in Georgia for drunk driving after Gwinnett County police pulled him over for swerving between lanes, according to a report from MTV.com.
In addition to the DUI charge, D-Roc is also facing charges that he possessed drugs and that he endangered his children, sources say.
The child endangerment charge might be the most disturbing. Sources indicate that D-Roc was allegedly driving with his two children, both of whom are under the age of three, who were reportedly asleep in the back seat of his 2002 GMC Denali.
In addition to the discovery of the sleeping children, arresting officers also discovered two alprazolam pills in D-Roc’s pockets, and found two grams of marijuana in a grinder inside the car.
According to the police report from the incident, when asked about his activities by police, D-Roc admitted that he had “a few beers at a friend’s house,” and he also confessed to smoking some marijuana earlier that day.
While such confessions are often enough to prove a person’s guilt, they are not always express tickets to jail. Numerous procedural errors can occur during a DUI arrest, and if the police interrogate without first informing them of their right to remain silent, such confessions may be inadmissible in court.
When looking to help their clients, DUI attorneys often scour the police report for such mistakes, which could help a defendant his or her punishment.
Of course, DUI attorneys may also help defendants seek a lesser punishment, even in the absence of mitigating circumstances. For example, judges tend to be more lenient with first-time offenders, although this varies from judge to judge.
And if you’re going to be arrested for a DUI, it doesn’t help to have a reputation as a hard-partying rapper. For his part, D-Roc may have to defeat some stereotypes during his DUI defense.
He may best to refrain from informing the judge about the Ying Yang Twins’ past hits, which include popular singles like “Whistle While You Twurk,” “Salt Shaker,” and a guest appearance on Lil Jon’s hit song, “Get Low.”
The rapping pair released platinum albums in both 2003 and 2005, but their latest album, which was released in 2009, failed to achieve the success of their first two efforts.
A bus driver from Utah was arrested this weekend after allegedly driving under the influence while hauling a bus full of young students on a school trip to Disneyland, according to a report from the Deseret News.
Sources say that 30-year-old Brandon Mark Gilman, a resident of South Jordan Utah, was also allegedly carrying drugs on the bus. Fortunately, Gillman was caught by police before the group of Canyon View High School graduates left for Disneyland.
Interestingly, police officers had already grown suspicious of Gillman, and they headed to the high school to search Gillman and his Utah Trailways bus before the group left for California.
When police officers arrived, Gillman and the two other bus drivers on the trip allowed police to search their buses, with the aid of police dogs that were specially trained to search for illegal substances.
According to the police report, when Gillman was told that dogs would be accompanying the police during the search, he “became very nervous.”
Gillman, it seems, had a good reason to be nervous, as he appeared to hiding something. When police entered his bus, Gillman reportedly picked up his backpack, opened the bag, pulled out an item, and placed it in his pocket.
After viewing this “suspicious” behavior, the police officer then asked Gillman to leave his backpack on the bus while the dogs conducted the search. When the dog entered the bus, it “quickly indicated on the bag left on the driver’s seat by Brandon.”
The police then asked Gillman to empty his pockets, which reportedly contained 17 Endocet pills and two Zolpidem pills. Sources say that Gillman did not have a prescription for either drug.
In addition to the presence of these allegedly illegal narcotics, Gillman also had three plastic bags filled with powder, which is never a positive sign for a bus driver.
For his alleged crimes, Gillman is being charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance (one of these counts is a misdemeanor, while the other two are felonies), and with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While DUI arrests often involve the use of alcohol while driving, drivers should also remember that driving under the influence of many controlled substances also qualifies as a DUI offense.
Gillman learned this lesson this weekend, and he will likely face a serious fine or substantial jail time for his actions, which could have jeopardized a busload of young high school graduates, had it not been for the quick response of local police.
Jenna Jameson, a retired adult film star, was arrested early Friday morning for a DUI after allegedly running her car into a light pole, according to a report from Reuters.
Sources say that Jameson reportedly steered her car into a light pole in the town of Westminster, California at roughly 1:30 a.m. When police officers arrived on the scene, they believed that she was showing signs of intoxication.
According to the police report, Jameson failed a field sobriety test, after which police took her into custody under suspicion of a misdemeanor DUI. Six hours after her arrest, though, Jameson was released on bail.
And the news isn’t all bad for the former adult film star. During the accident, she only suffered minor injuries, and when police officers offered her medical treatment, she politely refused.
During her career in the adult film industry, Jameson appeared in more than a hundred films, and became a mainstream celebrity by the time she retired from acting in 2008.
A recent post on Jameson’s personal website says that she is in good health and is back at home, although it did not specially mention the DUI incident, nor did it say if she had hired a DUI lawyer.
The consequences of her DUI arrest may be fairly serious, although misdemeanor DUI arrests, especially first-time offenses, typically have lighter punishments. DUI laws, though, vary widely by state.
And Jameson still faces a wide range of potential penalties, including the suspension of her driver’s license, a brief stint in jail, or a hefty fine.
In addition to jail time, fines, and license suspensions, people who are arrested for drunk driving often have to perform community service or attend alcohol rehabilitation classes, as well.
In recent years, many people have claimed that celebrities often receive lighter DUI sentences than non-celebrities, but this theory has yet to be proven through any rigorous statistical analysis.
Celebrities may seem to receive lighter DUI sentences simply because their legal dramas are widely documented for the world to see. When regular people receive light sentences, or have their DUI charges dropped, reporters are rarely interested in the story.
And if you are ever arrested for a DUI, remember that there are a number of reasons why a DUI charge may be dropped, including faulty breathalyzer tests, improper police procedures, and other police mistakes. This is why many people turn to DUI attorneys to help them fight their charges.
Police in California’s Santa Clara County reported a 44 percent decrease in the number of DUI citations they issued during this year’s Memorial Day weekend, compared to the number of similar incidents in 2011.
And the DUI statistics in this California county mirrored similar figures in other parts of the country, as holiday travelers were on their best behavior in 2012, according to a recent report from Patch.com.
Of course, the healthy decrease in the number of drunk driving incidents wasn’t solely a result of Californians embracing sobriety. In recent weeks, state officials launched a widespread ad campaign aimed at stopping people from drinking and driving.
And, more importantly, police officers also deployed a series of extraordinary moves for the holiday weekend in order to prevent DUI accidents.
In Santa Clara County, for example, local police added a sobriety checkpoint on a key street, and placed seven DUI control officers on the roadways, according to a press release from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office.
DUI checkpoints have long been loathed by holiday drivers, but many studies show that they successfully reduce the number of DUI accidents where they are used. Santa Clara County’s experience seemed to support this theory.
Over this year’s Memorial Day weekend, officers made only 80 DUI arrest , which is significantly lower than the 144 drunk driving arrests Santa Clara police made during Memorial Day weekend in 2011.
In addition to the reduced number of arrests, the sheriff’s office also reported that this year’s holiday weekend did not have a single DUI-related injury accident or fatality. This, of course, is the purpose of DUI laws and special checkpoints: to keep people safe.
Because of the success of this year’s Memorial Day program, the Santa Clara police department plans to use similar tactics during the weekend of July 4, which traditionally sees a rise in DUI accidents and injuries.
Santa Clara’s success with lowering its rate of drunk driving, however, may not be a sustainable method for police departments in other counties. Santa Clara had the benefit of procuring a special grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.
Assigning special police officers to detect drunk drivers, and placing limited police resources at DUI checkpoints, can be very costly for local police departments, which often have multiple different crime priorities.
So, an increase in funding at both the local and state levels may be necessary for other counties to match the success of Santa Clara.
Strange DUI stories happen all the time. People often do exceedingly bizarre things during DUI incidents, like run from the police, drive down roads in reverse, and offer arresting officers a drink. But rarely do the passengers take center stage.
One such incident took place in Dubuque, Iowa last week, when a man was reportedly arrested for drunk driving while a zebra and a parrot occupied the front seat of his truck.
The man, 55-year-old Jerald Reiter was charged with drunk driving as he was leaving a Dubuque bar in an apparent state of inebriation, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News.
When they approached the vehicle, officers were stunned to see a pet zebra and a macaw parrot in the front seat of the car. In a picture, the zebra appears to be relatively small, so it was able to fit in the front of the small truck.
Sources say that Reiter and his girlfriend, Vickey Teters often take their pets for car rides. On this particularly Sunday, Reiter and Teters decided to take their pets to a bar that often allows them to bring their so-called children inside.
However, on this night, when Reiter tried to bring his animal friends into the bar, the owner said they couldn’t bring the zebra inside because the bar was serving food that night. This, apparently, would violate a municipal food safety ordinance.
Duly chastened, Reiter turned around and placed the animals back in his truck while several onlookers took pictures of the bizarre scene. Reiter told reporters that he believes one of these onlookers called police to let them know Reiter was drunk.
Unfortunately for Reiter, he was stopped by police before he was able to drive away. In his defense, Reiter claims that he never intended to actually drive, and that he was going to let a passenger take the wheel, but this defense likely won’t hold water in court.
In most states, a person can be charged with drunk driving if they are behind the wheel of their car with the key in the ignition, even if they are not actually traveling anywhere.
After police officers pulled Reiter from the car, he reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .14, which is significantly higher than Iowa’s legal limit of .08.
Sources say that Reiter was released from jail shortly after his arrest. At that time, he presumably went home to commiserate with his zebra and parrot, which were likely shaken from the whole ordeal.
A wild DUI arrest occurred this week in Orland when a doctor allegedly bashed his head against the back seat of a police cruiser and spat blood in an officer’s face, according to an alarming report from the Palm Beach Post.
Sources say that video footage from inside a police cruiser capture Zach Bird losing his temper after officers from the Florida Highway Patrol threw him into the back of their car.
Bird, who works as an anesthesiologist in central Florida, reportedly had $40,000 in cash that police officers found after searching him. The police also found “unknown” pills and two handguns in Bird’s car when they conducted their search after his arrest.
In the video recording, Bird can be heard yelling, “[a]ll the officers are stealing my money!” After making this announcement, Bird started kicking and screaming, and eventually began beating his head against the Plexiglas divider in the police cruiser.
After several bashes against the divider, the video shows blood running down Bird’s face as he continued to accuse the police of stealing his money.
The arresting officers, quite naturally, were worried that Bird would injure himself, so they pulled him out of the cruiser and back onto the road.
According to the police report, when Bird was escorted out of the cruiser, “he swallowed, took a deep breath” and “spit blood all over” one of the arresting officer’s faces. Needless to say, this was not a wise decision.
Sources say that, in addition to his DUI charge, Bird now faces an additional charge of resisting arrest with violence, as well as a charge of property damage, due to the damage he inflicted on the glass in the police car.
The price tag on the damage to the car alone may be very steep, as the Florida Highway Patrol had to hire a team of biohazard specialists to clean the interior of the car.
And Bird’s odd behavior did not start after his arrest. According to sources, Bird was initially pulled over by police after he almost ran a state trooper off a local highway. When he was pulled over, Bird immediately failed a sobriety test, which is when police took him into custody.
Interesting, police also found an extra $14,000 in Bird’s car, which was separate from the $40,000 he had in his pockets. It can fairly be said that Bird may have to answer for the gun, cash, and drugs in his car, as well as his behavior after the arrest.
A South Carolina state representative who is currently running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has been arrested for drunk driving and illegally carrying a handgun, according to a report from Columbia’s WACH News.
Ted Vick, a 39-year-old resident of Chesterfield, South Carolina, was being held earlier in jail this week on charges of speeding, committing a DUI, an carrying a pistol without a valid permit, sources say.
Shortly after his arrest, Vick was given a personal recognizance bond on the speeding and DUI charges, but the court has not yet set a bond for the weapons charge.
Vick was arrested by the Columbia Police Department after he was caught driving more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.
When the officer pulled him over, he detected a “strong high odor of an alcoholic beverage” coming from the car, according to the police report.
When asked to perform a field sobriety test, Vick refused. The state representative also refused to take a breathalyzer test before he was hauled off to jail.
Police also found a .380 semiautomatic pistol in Vick’s front right pocket, and they eventually learned that his concealed weapons permit had expired in 2007. In addition, Vick did not tell the officer who pulled him over that he had the handgun in his pocket.
The police report written after the incident says that Vick had a few drinks with a female student from the University of South Carolina at a local pub before heading to another bar, where they continued to drink.
Needless to say, the DUI and weapons charge, as well as the information that Vick was drinking with a young college student, amount to a public relations nightmare for a man who is running for federal office.
His campaign, however, did not immediately offer any comments on Vick’s arrest, and sources do not say whether he has hired a DUI attorney.
According to his campaign website, Vick has a wife and two daughters. His website also describes him as a “trained minister” who “is a strong believer in traditional southern family values.”
Vick is one of five Democrats who are vying for the nomination to represent the 7th Congressional District, a newly minted political district.
For his alleged crimes, Vick is facing potentially hefty fines, a possible loss of his license, and perhaps even jail time, although it’s too early in the process to gauge exactly what his punishment will be. In the meantime, Vick will have to determine whether he should continue his campaign.
Drunk drivers typically meander their way beyond the bars they leave, but some drivers aren’t able to resist returning to their watering hole, as evidenced by the recent actions of a woman in South Carolina.
73-year-old Ellon Williams was arrested for drunk driving after she drove her car through a restaurant into a pub in South Carolina last week, according to a recent report from WECT News.
Sources say that Williams was trying to leave the One More Grill and Pub shortly after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday night when she unceremoniously slammed her car into her favorite dining sport.
According to the police report, Williams told investigators from the South Carolina Highway Patrol that she thought she had put her car in reverse when she stepped on the gas, but it appears that she actually had her vehicle in drive.
Miraculously, no one involved in the accident was killed, despite the fact that the pub had a relatively full house that Thursday night.
The owner of the restaurant, Rebecca Stallings, says there were more than 30 people singing karaoke in the building when Williams drove her 1989 Mercedes-Benz through two plate glass windows in the front of the building.
After slamming her car into the pub, Williams was able to bring her car to stop in the front portion of the building, which may have spared a few lives.
Sources say that three people who were in the building were taken to the hospital, but all three injured parties have been treated and released.
One of the injured people, Lin Shelton, a regular at the One More Grill and Pub, reportedly lost a tooth and injured her leg in the incident, and she provided reporters with a harrowing story about the crash.
In her words, “[i]t sounded like an explosion. My back was turned so my instinct was just jump in the air because I felt stuff coming toward me, and it clipped me in the leg, threw me up in the air.”
After she was struck by Williams’ car, Shelton crawled through a back door, but she quickly ran back into the building to help free one of her friends who had been pinned between a pool table and a wall.
Fortunately, the wild DUI accident did not kill anyone, nor will it close the business. The owner of the restaurant, which has been at its current location for 13 years, plans to re-open the business soon.