By John Clark
A man dressed as The Joker, Batman’s primary villain in the long-running film and comic series, was arrested for a DUI this weekend, according to a report from CBS News.
Sources say 64-year-old Dennis Lalime, a resident of Pittsfield, Maine, lost control of his 2002 Buick Regal and careened off the side of a residential road around 2 a.m. early Sunday morning.
The driver did not suffer any injuries during the accident, which is somewhat remarkable given the condition of his car. The vehicle was reportedly severely damaged after striking several trees and a large rock, according to Sgt. Timothy Roussin of the Pittsfield Police Department.
The accident took place on a rural road, and Lalime may have escaped without a drunk driving charge if not for a phone call from a nearby homeowner who heard the crash and called police.
And when police respond to the scene of a DUI accident with severe car damage, they often encounter grisly scenes. This scene, however, was unique not for the driver’s injuries, but for his attire at the time of the accident.
According to reports, the mugshot picture taken of Lalime by police shortly after the accident shows a man with white face paint, green hair dye, and black circles around his eyes. The mask is unmistakably that of The Joker, the unhinged villain who has made Batman’s life miserable for several decades.
Sources say Lalime told police that he was driving home from a Halloween party, which certainly gives a plausible explanation for his unique driving attire.
Of course, the fictional Joker is renowned for his ability to escape the scenes of crimes without being captured by police, so Lalime’s costume seems not to have granted him any additional skills.
As a result, Lalime will soon stand trial for his crime, which sources indicate will be one of more than 1,000 DUI-related crashes in the state of Maine this year. Sources note, however, that drunk driving accidents in Maine have declined by roughly 40 percent in the last seven years.
This is likely a result of heightened enforcement efforts, as more than 7,000 people were arrested in the small state last year alone. These figures mirror those in other states, as several legislatures have recently raised the penalties for DUIs and added new laws that give police more freedom to arrest suspected drunk drivers.
By John Clark
A 21-year-old college student living in Columbia, South Carolina has been charged with a felony DUI after his car killed two motorcyclists late Monday night, according to a report from The State.
Sources say the alleged drunk driver, Sean Aston, was charged with two counts of felony DUI, as well as a single count of driving under suspension, after the tragic accident.
According to the police report from the incident, Aston was driving north on a state highway Monday night when his 2008 Saturn veered across the center line and struck two BMW motorcycles in a direct, head-on collision.
The accident was certainly one-sided, as the motorcyclists, Francis Smith, 43, and Mary Green, 50, both died immediately as a result of blunt force trauma, according to the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office.
Aston also had a passenger in his vehicle at the time of the accident, but the passenger was unharmed. The driver suffered an injury, but he was treated and released at the Regional Medical Center.
The driver, who is a senior at the University of South Carolina, has already mounted his defense, as his DUI attorney told the judge at an initial hearing that Aston works two jobs to support his education and is not a “threat to the community.”
During the hearing, Aston’s DUI attorney was trying to reduce the size of the bond, which was set at $15,000 for each felony count. Aston must may the bond before he is allowed to leave jail during the interim period before his trial.
The driver’s DUI attorney also noted that his “family has good jobs,” that he is a “person here trying to get an education,” and that his “secure” ties would keep him from fleeing the state if released on bond.
During the same hearing, however, South Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. William Rogan Jr. told the local magistrate that Aston had an extensive criminal background, including previous alcohol-related charges and a charge for marijuana possession.
In addition, a family member of one of the victims told the judge that the court “has a right” to keep Aston “out of society,” and that the bond should be significantly higher.
After all this debate, the court finally settled on a $15,000 bond for each felony count, which, according to reports, is a fairly standard bond for a felony case in South Carolina. In the meantime, Aston will begin worrying about his substantive DUI defense.
By John Clark
A Pennsylvania driver was arrested for allegedly causing a fatal DUI accident just three days after a judge allowed him to remain free despite a violation of his parole, according to a report from the Allentown Morning Call.
Sources say 21-year-old Francis Roscioli was in Northampton County Court last Thursday to determine whether he had violated his parole, which stemmed from a DUI arrest in June when he was caught driving the wrong way down a street in the town of Easton.
During the hearing, Administrator Jill Cicero ruled that Roscioli had indeed violated his parole due to his failure to stay away from drugs and alcohol, but she allowed him to remain free, according to sources.
But just three days later, on Sunday morning, Roscioli’s SUV allegedly struck a 35-year-old pedestrian who was walking on the shoulder of an Easton road. The accident immediately killed the pedestrian, who died from multiple blunt force trauma, according to sources.
Sources say police suspect that Roscioli was driving while intoxicated, but the results of the driver’s toxicology tests have yet to be released. But police say he showed signs of intoxication after the accident, and is believed to have been drinking at a local bar before the accident, sources report.
The accident has obviously led to some second-guessing about the court’s decision to allow Roscioli to remain free after his parole violation, but Cicero defended her decision by saying he had “had done what he needed to do prior to the violation hearing to rectify his violations.”
Cicero’s decision to let him remain free was based in part on his recent successful urine tests, and his consistent participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program that had been mandated as part of his parole.
In the DUI case last summer, Roscioli was arrested for driving drunk down the wrong side of the street. Roscioli was also later charged with assault after breaking another man’s eye socket during a fight, according to sources.
Now, in an ironic twist, the driver is back in Northampton County Prison, where he will once again be tried for a violation of his parole. If he is found to have violated his parole, he could face an extra two years in prison, sources report.
But the potential sentence for his parole violation pales in comparison to his likely punishment if he is convicted of causing a fatal drunk driving accident.
By John Clark
A Las Vegas stripper will face trial this winter after being accused of killing a young father while driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana in March, according to a report from the Las Vegas Sun.
Sources say 26-year-old Shauna Diane Miller pleaded not guilty to several counts of felony DUI during her arraignment this week in Clark County District Court. The judge set a trial date for December 9, sources note.
The tragic accident occurred on March 23 when Miller was driving home from her shift as an exotic dancer at the Spearmint Rhino, a strip club in the Las Vegas area.
At roughly 7 a.m., Miller’s Hummer H2 slammed into a Ford Escort driven by 33-year-old James Joseph White, who was less than two blocks from his house when the collision happened, according to the police report.
The collision killed White, but mercifully spared White’s 2-year-old son, who was in the backseat at the time of the accident. The child, however, suffered a skull fracture and several serious bruises as a result of the collision.
Because of the tragic nature of the accident, Miller and her local DUI attorney may have a difficult time proving her innocence to the Clark County court.
According to the police report, Miller claimed that her traffic light went from green to yellow as she was driving down Spring Mountain road. When she saw White’s car turn right on to her road, she failed to brake in time, and struck the Ford Escort at a high speed.
But some witnesses dispute Miller’s claim that her light was yellow at the time of the accident. In addition, prosecutors claim that her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, even though she told police she’d only had two beers at work.
The alcohol, however, isn’t Miller’s only problem. Sources note that prosecutors also claim the amount of marijuana in her system was more than five times the legal limit.
It’s important to note that alcohol, marijuana, and a wide range of prescription narcotics are all potential causes of a DUI arrest, depending on the nature of state drunk driving laws.
Sources note, though, that Miller has already started to mount a defense. During a preliminary hearing, Miller’s DUI attorney asked why police failed to check White’s past driving record after the accident.
It appears that Miller and her attorney will argue that White’s poor driving was the cause of the accident.
By John Clark
Drunk driving is never a good idea, but if you do get behind the wheel after a few drinks, the most reasonable course of action is to avoid driving directly into a parked police car. Alas, some drivers fail to follow this simple advice.
An Illinois driver was arrested for a DUI this week after crashing into the back of a police cruiser, injuring two police officers, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
Source say 47-year-old Christopher Slotwinski, a resident of Chicago, drove his car into the back of an unmarked police vehicle early Saturday evening on a busy surface street on the south side of the city.
The two officers who were in the vehicle both suffered injuries, although sources say their conditions were stabilized shortly after being treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center. The driver of the car that caused the accident was also treated at the same hospital.
According to sources, Slotwinski was driving relatively fast when he struck the police car. The impact of the collision sent a headlight flying at least a block away from the collision, sources report.
In addition, the accident reportedly caused extensive damage to the rear of the unmarked police car, which was forced onto the sidewalk and completely off the road due to the impact of the collision.
Not surprisingly, Slotwinski’s car, a four-door sedan, also suffered extensive damage to the front end of the vehicle, although sources suggest that the driver’s injuries are not life-threatening.
Recent reports also indicate that debris from the accident flew across a broad stretch of the road on which the accident occurred.
But while Slotwinski will likely survive the accident, he and his personal DUI lawyer will have a difficult task ahead of them in criminal court.
Sources say the driver has been charged with misdemeanor drunk driving, driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance, and reckless driving, according to Lauras Kubiak, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department.
According to the police report, alcohol “may have been involved” in the high-speed accident, although the fact that the driver has already been charged with a DUI suggests that prosecutors are fairly confident that the drunk driving charge will stick.
And the prosecutors are likely to pursue the strictest possible punishment against Slotwinski, who did not have a sterling driving record even before he made the ill-advised decision to slam directly into the back of a police car.
By John Clark
A former police officer in Newport Beach, California, was sentenced this week to nine years in prison after causing a fatal accident while under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News.
Sources say Katherine Ann Heinzel, a 51-year-old resident of Winchester, California, was convicted a few months ago for gross vehicular manslaughter after causing a fatal DUI accident in November 2011.
As is customary, however, Heinzel had to wait several weeks for her sentencing hearing, which finally happened this week and revealed that Heinzel would have to spend nearly a decade behind bars to pay for her actions.
The former police officer’s legal saga started on November 19, 2011, when Heinzel slammed her 2003 Nissan Altima into the back end of Davionne Kelly’s 1991 Toyota Camry while traveling 90 miles per hour on Interstate 15.
The wreck caused Kelly’s car to flip end-over-end down a 350-foot hill. Kelly, who was only 20 years old at the time of the accident, died shortly after the accident.
In addition to Kelly’s tragic death, two passengers in the fallen car were also injured. Sources say Kris Walker, 21, suffered relatively minor injuries, while his companion, Brian Morast, suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a severe brain injury.
Remarkably, Walker was able to escape the wreckage of Kelly’s car through a window and quickly climbed up the hill to seek help.
When he reached the road, Walker heroically pulled an injured Heinzel from her car, which had become engulfed in flames. Later, Walker and a passerby returned to Kelly’s car to hear the driver’s last words and to help the injured Morast.
The accident was also notable due to the nature of Heinzel’s former profession. From 1986 to 1994, the convicted drunk driver had served as a police officer. One of her primary duties was investigation traffic accidents, including drunk driving collisions, according to sources.
At the time of the tragic accident, during which her blood alcohol level was reportedly 0.14 percent, which is well above the legal California limit of 0.08 percent, Heinzel was working as a private investigator.
Heinzel requested a simple probationary sentence, but the judge denied her request. Before she was sentenced, Heinzel made an emotional apology to Kelly’s family.
According to sources, Heinzel said she was “so sorry for the lifetime of pain” she had caused the family, and emphasized that her “words of remorse” were completely “genuine.”
By John Clark
A drunk driver allegedly struck and killed two homeless people who were sleeping on a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles, according to a report this week from the Los Angeles Times.
Sources say that 19-year-old Carmen Elena Chavez was arrested on Sunday on a charge of vehicular manslaughter after she lost control of her Mercedes-Benz while trying to make a right turn at a high speed.
When Chavez lost control of her car, she ran over two homeless people, who were dragged behind the car for several feet, which led to their deaths. The two victims had been sleeping in the infamous Skid Row area, which serves as a shelter for thousands of people without homes.
The victims were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, sources say, although their identities have not yet been released by Los Angeles officials.
In addition to the vehicular manslaughter charge, police have also charged Chavez with driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to sources, Chavez had been drinking with friends on a Saturday night before she and four passengers got into her car and headed downtown.
She was reportedly trying to make a speedy right turn at an intersection when she lost control of the car and jumped a curb, which led her into the path of the victims, who were sleeping against the wall of a nearby building.
Somehow, Chavez continued to drive for at least 50 feet, dragging the man and woman behind her, before she finally crashed to a stop, according to the police report.
According to one witness who spoke with local reporters, the car was smoking when it came to a stop, and the woman who was trapped under the car was “bleeding bad.”
Before police arrived, some of the passengers in the car fled from the scene, but both Chavez and the owner of the car stayed at the site of the accident until police arrived.
Sources say that Chavez was booked later that night into Los Angeles County Jail, and her bail was set at the lofty sum of $100,000.
In the next few days, Chavez will have an opportunity to consult with a DUI attorney, who will likely begin the process of reducing Chavez’s potential punishment.
But if she is convicted of vehicular manslaughter or a felony DUI, Chavez could be facing a serious fine, a likely suspension of her driver’s license, and a significant prison sentence.
By John Clark
An ambulance driver in Ohio with a previous DUI arrest on his record who was involved in a fatal accident a few weeks ago was allegedly driving without a license at the time of the crash, according to a Columbus Dispatch report.
Sources say that, before causing the recent accident, 31-year-old Todd Picken had failed to recover his license after being convicted for drunk driving in July 2011.
The fatal crash took place on September 18, when the ambulance struck an SUV head-on after the SUV reportedly crossed the center line on a rural highway. The woman behind the wheel of the car, 53-year-old Marcia Frederick, was killed instantly.
Sources are quick to note, however, that the accident was probably caused by Frederick’s medical condition. She was battling cancer at the time of the accident, although sources do not say how her disease caused her to drive erratically.
Still, even though he may not have caused the accident, Picken is facing a lot of heat from officials in Madison County, Ohio. Local prosecutors have charged the ambulance driver with failing to reinstate his license and driving without an operator’s permit.
Picken, according to sources, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance in mid-November.
County records show that Pickens was arrested in July 2011 for driving under the influence, and was later convicted on his DUI charge. After the conviction, Pickens had his license suspended for one year, according to sources.
Picken apparently failed to take the steps necessary to recover his license, and as a result, Jefferson Township, the entity for which he was working when the ambulance accident occurred, could be on the hook for a large financial loss.
According to one critic of the township, any city officials that believed “someone without a license should be driving a $200,000 (ambulance)” should be punished for their actions.
In addition, the critic notes that Picken’s DUI arrest was not the only red flag. Sources say that Picken has been charged twice with reckless driving, once with driving 90 miles per hour on a small highway, and once with tampering with a traffic-control device.
And because of Picken’s prior DUI conviction, as well as his failure to obtain a proper license, neither he nor Jefferson Township will likely be able to pay for the accident using insurance funds.
So the lesson here is that DUI convictions do not have to spell the end of someone’s driving career, but if you have your license suspended, you must take active measures to recover it after the suspension is lifted.
By John Clark
A 25-year-old South Dakota woman was arrested for her fifth DUI this week in stunning fashion, as she reportedly led police on a high-speed chase that left one state trooper in critical condition, according to a report from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Sources say that police officers began pursuing Rachel Lee Coleman late Wednesday night after her car sat through an entire green light and then sped across the center line at a busy intersection in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Officer Andrew Steen tried to pull her over, but she sped away into traffic. During the chase, police officers claim that Coleman drove in the direction of two officers who were trying to stop the chase.
When she intentionally steered towards them, the police reportedly fired three shots to try to stop her car, which finally ended the pursuit, according to sources.
But not before Steen, a 34-year-old highway patrol officer, was struck by Coleman’s car during the pursuit. The accident fractured Steen’s skull, and he remains in critical condition after having emergency surgery.
According to a report from the hospital where Steen is being treated, “the first 72 hours are the most critical for swelling of the brain, so we are hoping that his pressures will start to drop within the next 24 hours.”
For her role in causing the DUI accident, Coleman has been charged with attempted first-degree muder, vehicular battery, driving while intoxicated, aggravated assault on a law enforcement official, felony eluding, and causing a hit and run accident, sources say.
The laundry list of serious charges adds to Coleman’s already lengthy criminal history. Sources say the young driver has been charged with a DUI 5 times since 2009, and has also faced several more driving citations.
Witnesses who spoke to police after the shocking accident told them that Coleman had been drinking at a bar for a long period of time before launching the dangerous chase.
If the police report is true, Coleman could spend a large portion of her life behind bars. Sources say that Steen was walking towards Coleman with his gun raised, after Coleman had struck his car, when the young driver allegedly accelerated towards Steen and drove into him.
The impact of the collision sent Steen flying several feet, although the bullets he fired did not hit Coleman. According to a police affidavit, the car accelerated so fast “that it left acceleration marks on the pavement while striking trooper Andrew Steen.”
By John Clark
A promising young actress who starred in the recent remake of “The Bad News Bears” was killed in an accident that was allegedly caused by a drunk driver, according to a sobering report from the Los Angeles Times.
Sources say that 20-year-old Sammi Kane Kraft was riding in the passenger seat of an Audi when the car rear-ended a large truck around 1:30 a.m. last Friday night on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles.
According to a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, the Audi was then struck from behind by a Toyota Scion, sandwiching the vehicle between the two cars, and killing the young actress.
The driver of the car, 21-year-old Molly Adams, is currently being treated for “serious” injuries at California Medical Center. And the driver of the truck is reportedly being treated for minor injuries.
Tragically, authorities believe that Adams was under the influence of alcohol when she was driving. As a result, she was booked on suspicion of a committing a felony DUI, sources say.
Authorities, of course, will allow Adams to recover before booking her in jail, which is a common practice in the aftermath of DUI accidents.
Kraft was only 13 years old when she was tabbed to play pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer in the remake of “The Bad News Bears,” which starred Billy Bob Thornton. The original film, starring Walter Matthau, was released in 1976.
Kraft’s role had been made famous three decades earlier by child star Tatum O’Neal, who won an Academy Award for her efforts in the film.
Remarkably, Kraft had never worked as a professional actor before her big break starring next to Billy Bob Thornton, and she only learned about the role through a friend.
Sources say that Kraft knew a lot about sports through her unique school experience, in which she played baseball and basketball and often found herself as the only girl on her teams.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2005, Kraft explained her unlikely rise to movie stardom, and also waxed poetic about her real life baseball skills.
According to the Times, Kraft told a reporter that she threw a “knuckleball, a knuckleball curve, a curveball, a changeup, a 70-mph fastball, a two-seam fastball and a four-seam fastball — the whole thing.”
Sadly, thanks to one very bad decision by her friend, film audiences will never be able to see if Kraft could spin her unlikely role into a lucrative film career.
By John Clark
A man in rural Kentucky is still running from police after he allegedly fled the scene of a DUI accident involving his wife and four children, according to a sobering report from KFVS News in western Kentucky.
Sources say that charges are pending against Blake Schroader, a resident of Benton, Kentucky, who reportedly fled the scene of a one-car accident caused by his wife, 26-year-old Haley Spiceland Schroader.
The accident took place last Sunday at around 7:00 in the evening. Sources indicate that Haley Schroader was driving the couple’s minivan when she lost control while making a left turn and crashed the car into a wooded area in Marshall County, Kentucky.
When police officers arrived at the scene of the bizarre crash, they detected the smell of alcohol, and Haley Schroader admitted to having several drinks before she got behind the wheel.
Her irresponsible decision was made even worse by the fact that her minivan contained four children, ranging in age from 6 to 9.
Sources indicate that the driver and all four children were taken to Marshall County Hospital following the accident to be treated for their injuries.
After her release from the hospital, Schroader was promptly escorted to the Marshall County Detention Center. While sources do not say what happened to her children, they are likely under the care of a relative or the state of Kentucky.
For her role in causing the accident, the wife has been charged with an aggravated DUI and four counts of wanton endangerment for driving under the influence of alcohol while four children were in her vehicle.
To add further intrigue to the unfortunate display of poor parenting, Blake Schroader reportedly fled the scene before police officers arrived, according to sources.
Sources do not offer any information as to why the husband felt compelled to abandon his wife and children, but it seems safe to assume that he was trying to evade law enforcement officials, perhaps due to previous crimes.
Even though he wasn’t driving the car, had he been arrested at the scene, he would have likely faced the same child endangerment charges leveled against his wife.
As it currently stands, Schroader may face additional charges for fleeing the scene of an accident and trying to elude law enforcement officials.
As of press time, however, Schroader remains at large, which puts his children in serious jeopardy, especially because their mother is currently behind bars.
By John Clark
A resident of Starkville, Mississippi, was sentenced this week to 25 years in prison for his actions in a May 2011 accident that killed an 11-year-old boy, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch.
The man, 43-year-old Curtis Chandler, was convicted on numerous charges, including two counts of aggravated DUI, and will also have to pay a $1,000 fine, sources say.
The fatal accident occurred on May 21, 2011, in the mid-afternoon, when Chandler’s 1995 Toyota 4-Runner reportedly flipped several times on a rural road.
Unfortunately for Chandler, who was drunk at the time of the accident, an 11-year-old boy who was in the car was ejected from the vehicle and later died at a nearby hospital.
The boy was somewhat luckier than a 12-year-old girl who was also ejected from the car during the accident but survived.
And both of those children had worse fates than a 39-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl who suffered injuries during the accident, but were not thrown from the car.
Apparently, Chandler’s irresponsible actions did not stop with his decision to drive drunk. Sources say that, despite the presence of four seriously injured passengers, Chandler somehow left the scene of the accident.
While his driving actions, and the death of a child, certainly cemented a long sentence at his DUI trial, Chandler’s decision to flee the scene of the accident only hurt him in court, and may have led to a much longer sentence.
When DUI accidents involve fatalities, lengthy sentences are very common, but it takes quite a lot for a driver to spend 25 years behind bars for drunk driving. Chandler, it seems, met this high threshold.
This week, in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, Chandler pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated DUI. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop three lesser charges. This is fairly common in DUI cases, as the majority of defendants reach a plea agreement before heading to trial.
That is not to say that DUI charges cannot be fought. On the contrary, DUI attorneys are often able to successfully defend suspected drunk drivers for a number of different reasons, including sloppy police work or inaccurate DUI tests.
But in an accident as severe as the one caused by Chandler, the best hope is usually to reach a plea agreement in order to shorten the length of the sentence. Thus, Chandler’s fate may have been even worse had he chosen to go to trial.
By John Clark
A 62-year-old man was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after he allegedly drove straight into a San Francisco cable car, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News.
The man, whose name has not yet been released by police, was reportedly driving a blue SUV when he drove into the front of a San Francisco Municipal Railway cable car at an intersection around 10 p.m. Wednesday night.
The cable cars are an iconic feature of San Francisco streets, but they share the road with passenger vehicles, and can pose hazards for some drivers, particularly those who are drunk.
Despite the presence of the cable cars on the streets, though, drivers in the city are accustomed to the trolleys, and accidents involving vehicles and cable cars are relatively rare.
Unfortunately, the recent accident reminded local residents that the cable cars aren’t completely safe, especially when drivers are operating their cars in an irresponsible fashion.
In the resident incident, sources say that there were about 15 passengers on the cable car, but the only person who was seriously injured was the operator of the cable car, who was in the front of the trolley when it was struck head-on.
Sources indicate that the 43-year-old operator experienced an injury to his shoulder, and he was taken to a local hospital for treatment after the accident.
Interestingly, the driver may be facing more than just a DUI arrest. Sources say that bystanders had to detain the man until police officers arrived on the scene.
If he attempted to resist arrest or tried to flee the scene, the driver could face a significantly higher penalty for his actions, although it should be noted that sources have yet to describe exactly how the driver behaved after the accident.
While he awaits his trial, the man should consider himself lucky that only one person was hurt, and not very seriously, according to sources.
In a DUI case without a fatality or serious injuries, drivers could leave court with a heavy fine, but they may not have to spend much time in jail, especially if it is their first DUI offense.
On the other hand, in DUI cases involving a fatality, prosecutors often charge drivers with serious felony charges like vehicular homicide, which often carry prison sentences that can last longer than a decade, depending on the state’s DUI laws.
By John Clark
A woman from St. Augustine, Florida, may be facing a sixth DUI charge after she crashed her car into a concrete wall, according to a recent report from the St. Augustine Record.
Sources say that Theresa Long, 53, has been arrested on five previous occasions for driving under the influence. And she has reportedly been to DUI schools four different times, which are designed to drive home the dangers of alcohol.
The latest incident occurred at 10:45 p.m. on the Fourth of July, a date that sees a remarkable jump in the number of DUI arrests made by police across the country every year.
Long allegedly steered her car through a number of obstacles before landing in a St. Augustine parking lot.
According to witnesses interviewed by the St. Augustine Police Department, Long was driving her Honda Fit north on a local street when she made an unsuccessful attempt at turning left because she was driving too fast to handle the turn.
After she spun out of the turn, she struck a curb, and then hit a concrete barrier outside a hotel, which caused her car to flip three times, according to witness.
Shortly after flipping three times, the Honda Fit finally came to rest in the parking lot of a nearby tavern.
When police officers arrived on the scene, they promptly took the injured women to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries, and they also administered a test to gauge her blood alcohol level at the time of the crash.
Results from this test are pending, but police reportedly detected an “odor of alcohol on her breath”.
Of course, it is possible that Long’s blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, so prosecutors will have some work ahead of them if they wish to file charges and convict Long of her sixth DUI.
Sources say that it will take about a month for these results to be processed, so Long will have to wait some time before she learns her legal fate. In the meantime, she can begin preparing her defense for the careless driving charge that was leveled against her on the night of the accident.
By John Clark
A California drunk driver was arrested last week on suspicion of causing at least three different hit-and-run accidents in one night, according to a remarkable report from the San Jose Mercury News.
31-year-old Justin Mendoza was taken into custody by Napa police last weekend after his night of illegal activity finally ended when officers discovered him hiding in a creek bed, according to sources.
The night of driving peril started around 11:00 p.m. last Friday when Mendoza was cruising around Napa, California at an alarming speed, and with very little regard for the customary rules of the road.
The first two collisions occurred around 11:00 p.m., and both occurred on Silverado Trail Road. At least one of these hit-and-run accidents involved an injury, as well.
Then a third collision happened on the same road, and this accident led to one car completely flipping over. When police arrived on the scene, they saw a man sprinting away from the overturned vehicle that was involved in the crash.
Predictably, the man who was fleeing turned out to have been the culprit who allegedly caused all three accidents on the same stretch of road, but police had to do a bit of legwork before they caught Mendoza.
Sources say that the police who originally responded to the scene called for additional help, and the officers eventually set up a large perimeter around the area where Mendoza had fled.
After setting up a broad perimeter, the officers enlisted the aid of a police dog, which eventually discovered Mendoza hiding in a creek bed near a small river.
They soon learned that Mendoza was the registered owner of the overturned car, and promptly escorted him to jail after seeing that he displayed obvious signs of intoxication.
But before he was taken to jail, Mendoza, who is a resident of Yountville, California, was sent to a hospital for treatment for what sources call “minor injuries.”
After his DUI arrest, Mendoza was charged with drunk driving and also causing three different hit-and-run crashes.
The extent of Mendoza’s criminal penalties will depend on a number of factors, including his prior history, his level of inebriation at the time of the arrest, and the nature of the injuries and property damage he caused through his irresponsible driving.
In California, even minor, first-time DUI offenses can lead to heavy fines, a suspended license, or even jail time, so Mendoza likely faces a significant amount of punishment, if the tale of his epic driving adventures proves true.