Oct

3

Man Settles Lawsuit Against Illinois City After Bogus DUI Arrest

By Mike

A nightmare scenario for an Illinois man was recently resolved when he won a settlement against the city of Naperville after being falsely arrested for DUI.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, David Briddle was driving his Mercedes sedan on May 30 when police pulled him over and arrested him for driving under the influence of alcohol.

After his arrest, though, Briddle took a blood alcohol test and passed with flying colors, registering a 0.0 during the breathalyzer test.

Briddle’s sterling performance on the BAC test, however, was not the end of the story. Despite the exonerating evidence, and the fact that police released him without charges, Naperville police still announced Briddle’s arrest on the police blotter.

As a result, Briddle’s mug shot and a story detailing his arrest were published in a local newspaper, despite the fact that Briddle had not actually committed a crime.

Even though the Naperville police made a mistake, they claim that had a valid reason to arrest Briddle.

According to the police report from the incident, Briddle admitted to having four or five beers before starting his car, and allegedly failed a field sobriety test, though Briddle disputed this in his lawsuit.

Briddle’s lawsuit, filed with the aid of his DUI lawyer, accuses Naperville police of regularly inflating their drunk driving arrest statistics. Briddle claims that his unfortunate incident was part of a pattern of unlawful behavior by the police department.

This claim will not be addressed in court, as Briddle settled with the city for $10,000 before proceeding to trial, but it does raise questions about the Naperville police department.

In his lawsuit, Briddle observed that Naperville ranked second in Illinois cities (other than Chicago) for DUI arrests. Briddle also claimed that Naperville police officials inflate the city’s DUI arrests to provide more revenue and recognition for the city.

Despite Briddle’s allegations, a study performed by the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that Briddle’s misfortune may have been an isolated incident.

Arrest reports obtained from the Naperville police for last Memorial Day weekend show that the majority of drivers pulled over by local police had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. This suggests that Naperville police weren’t indiscriminately arresting people for false DUIs.

Accusations of profit-seeking are often leveled against police for enforcing speeding limits and drunk driving laws, but if drivers are violating these laws, police have every right to pull them over.

The difficulties inherent in proving systematic discrimination or arbitrary arrests by police likely led Briddle to accept a settlement in this case.

While false DUI arrests undoubtedly occur, they are not usually the norm. It is more common for DUI arrests to be rendered invalid due to sloppy police work, or the failure of the arresting officers to abide by procedural regulations.

Sep

28

Police Force Sober Teenager to Take Breathalyzer Test

By Mike

By

Breathalyzers are typically used at traffic stops when police suspect that someone has been driving under the influence of alcohol. Rarely, though, are breathalyzers used on young people who are not driving.

A 13-year-old boy, however recently discovered that police have several applications for breathalyzers, which are simple devices used to detect a person’s blood alcohol content.

According to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against police in Livonia, Michigan after the police allegedly forced a teenager to take an alcohol breath test while on a school field trip.

At the time of the incident, the boy and his classmates were on a field trip celebrating their eighth grade graduation at Livonia’s Rotary Park.

The ACLU lawsuit alleges that the boy and his friends had walked into nearby woods for a brief walk when an assistant principal, who had followed them into the woods, found them and accused them of drinking alcohol.

The assistant principal based his allegation on a liquor bottle that was found near the boys, though they claimed it did not belong to them and that they had not been drinking.

When the police arrived, they forced the students to take a Breathalyzer test. To the embarrassment of school officials and the officers, each boy blew a 0.0, proving that they had not had alcohol.

The boy’s lawsuit focuses on the officers’ breach of his Fourth Amendment right to not be subjected to an unlawful search. The Fourth Amendment is designed to protect innocent people from obtrusive searches by the police.

According to the ACLU, federal and state courts have ruled police officers must have a search warrant to administer a breathalyzer test to someone who is not driving.

The lawsuit also claims that, not only did the police officers not have a warrant to lawfully administer the blood alcohol test, they also did not have any probable cause of wrongdoing that might have given them a reason to pursue a search warrant in the first place.

As the lawsuit stated, “[w]hen there is no evidence that a child has done anything wrong, he should never be subjected to this degrading and embarrassing procedure in front of his teachers and peers.”

As mentioned above, these types of situations are relatively uncommon. Breathalyzer tests are usually given to adult drivers when they are suspected of driving under the influence.

Even under these circumstances, however, breathalyzer tests are not infallible. In addition to the tests’ potential for making mistakes, police must also follow a strict set of guidelines when they give BAC tests.

If these police fail to follow proper procedures, or the results of the BAC test are unreliable, a DUI lawyer may help a person arrested for a DUI fight the charges.

Aug

24

Redding, Ca. Police Officer on Paid Leave Following DUI Arrest

By Topher

A police officer in Redding, Ca., is currently on paid leave after his arrest last week for suspicion of driving a city vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Matthew R. Zalesny was stopped by Redding police early Aug. 17 and subsequently arrested by California Highway Patrol Officer Kurt Heuer.

Police Chief Peter Hansen told the Record Searchlight that Zalesny was cited and arrested, and that the officer is now on paid administrative leave as a department investigation is carried out.

Zalesny’s law enforcement duties have also been suspended, Hansen told the newspaper.
The criminal investigation of the case has been handed over to the CHP in accordance with standard department procedure. The case is currently being prepared for the Shasta County District Attorney’s review.

Zalesny, 44, was born and raised in Redding and has worked for 23 years as a law enforcement officer.
After beginning his career with the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy in 1988, he moved to the Anderson Police Department three years later. While there, he worked patrol and served as an officer in the department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

Zalesny has been with the Redding Police Department since 1994, where he has worked as an identification technician, taught defensive strategies, served on the SWAT team and served as a field training officer.
In 2007, Redding police honored Zalesny and a group of other officers for their work on an anti-gang enforcement unit.

Zalesny’s DUI arrest marks the second among Redding police officers in the last five years. In 2006, Christopher Jacoby was arrested when CHP officers found his car plowed off a highway embankment.

Jacoby pleaded guilty to the charge, paid fines, and spent ten days in jail before eventually returning to work as a Redding Police Department investigator.

Redding Police declined to provide the newspaper with the conditions of Jacoby’s discipline for the DUI arrest.

Jul

15

U.S. Cities See Independence Day Spike in DUI Arrests

By Topher

The Fourth of July is usually associated with the usual suspects of fireworks, booze, and hot dogs. Unfortunately, the holiday has also become notorious for the number of DUI arrests that occur during the festivities.

This trend grew more pronounced in many areas this year. From Biloxi, Mississippi, to Santa Clara, California, several cities across the country saw a significant spike in DUI arrests over the holiday weekend.

First, according to local sources, a total of 214 drivers were cited for driving under the influence in Mississippi during the mid-summer festivities. This represented a 27 percent jump over the number of DUI arrests at the same time last year.

In the entire state, troopers reported issuing more than 5,000 traffic citations, although a significant number of these violations were not alcohol-related.

During the weekend, Mississippi troopers responded to a total of 130 accidents. Roughly 40 of these had injuries and one resulted in a fatality, although this was also not due to drunk driving.

More collisions and citations occurred on the Gulf Coast, where traffic becomes particularly dense during the weekend.

This rising DUI trend was not limited to genteel southern states. Across the country in California, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office reported an even more dramatic 33 percent increase in the number of DUI arrests during the holiday, although the statistics show the jump could be as high as 50 percent.

In this year’s anti-DUI crackdown, county officials arrested 141 people for driving under the influence. During a similar campaign on the Fourth of July last year, officers arrested a mere 94 drivers for driving while intoxicated.

Law enforcement officials were stumped when asked for an explanation of the rising numbers, claiming that DUI figures had dropped in recent years, especially over Memorial Day weekend.

The weekend also saw five DUI-related car accidents in Santa Clara County, but no fatalities were reported. The city plans to aggressively enforce DUI laws during Labor Day weekend this September.

The jump in DUI arrests during this party-filled weekend is somewhat typical, as police officers are often more vigilant about establishing checkpoints and more carefully monitoring drivers’ behavior.

As a result, holiday weekends also see a rise in the use of public transportation, carpooling, and taxis to avoid the legal consequences of an arrest for drunk driving.

A DUI charge, however, does not have to cripple your reputation or your finances. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, a local DUI lawyer may help you fight the charge.

Dec

28

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

By Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug

28

NHTSA Starts DUI Campaign With New DUI Statistics

By Topher

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.

Aug

21

Florida Elementary School Teacher Jailed in DUI, Won’t Return to Class

By Topher

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.

Aug

5

Twelve-Year-Old Reports Mother for DUI

By Topher

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.

Jul

27

Illinois DUI Judge Convicts Driver of 15 Counts of DUI

By Topher

An Illinois DUI judge threw the book at 25-year-old Edward Clark after he hit and killed David Long and his dog Shadow, who were out walking early one morning last year.

The judge convicted Cook of reckless homicide, 15 counts of DUI, and one count of unlawful possession of a converted motor vehicle back in May.

Cook was driving down the residential street at a speed of about 50 miles per hour in Batavia, Illinois when he veered off the road and onto the sidewalk, hitting Long and Shadow. Cook was driving a 2003 white Ford Acura that he had borrowed from a friend without permission, according to CBS 2 Chicago.

The toxicology report showed that Cook had alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine in his system, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Cook maintains that he does not have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but his driving privileges had been revoked in 2008 due to an aggravated DUI. Cook was still on parole for that offense at the time of the crash.

Cook also has numerous drug, battery, and theft charges, but has never actually completed one of the sentences for these crimes.

The judge took that into consideration during the sentencing. The judge felt that since Cook doesn’t feel that he has any problems, he should be kept off the streets in order to keep others safe at the very least.

Long’s wife and the Illinois state prosecutors pushed for more, but the judge said case law would not support a charge of first degree murder. Instead, Cook will serve consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences, leading to a full amount of jail time of fifteen years. He will probably be out on parole in 10 years.

Cook refrained from making a statement to the judge, but did tell his mother that he loved her as he was being led out of the courtroom. Cook has never publicly apologized for killing David Long and his best friend.

Susan Long is satisfied with the sentence, but notes “this is another one of those stories that starts with drinking alcohol and ends with tragedy.”

Jul

25

Difficulties Face DUI Arresting Officers

By Topher

The police often find themselves in unexpected – and sometimes dangerous – situations, especially when it comes to DUI arrests.

This week featured a number of unfortunate interactions between police and those charged with drunk driving.

In Massachusetts, a trooper was hit by a car driven by an allegedly drunk driver, and it sent him to the hospital. He was recently released from the hospital, but the driver will face arraignment in court, according to the News Telegram.

Captain Frank Hughes was in an intersection directing traffic around midnight after a concert and fireworks show on the fourth of July. The crash threw the trooper onto the hood of the driver’s Nissan Maxima. The driver did not stop for the trooper, even after he caused what a spokesman called “serious injuries.”

Franklin Morales, the alleged driver, faces charges of DUI, negligent driving and DUI causing serious bodily injury. According to the charge, the driver went straight instead of heeding the captain’s traffic directions. Morales registered a .15 blood-alcohol content, and failed field sobriety tests.

Also in Massachusetts, a man stopped and arrested for DUI was also charged with kicking a trooper and threatening him.

John Ross tried to run away from police on foot after he was arrested on Interstate 81. He was described by police as “very combative.” When he was taken to the hospital, he screamed profanities at the hospital staff.

There was also the threat that he made to police, who said that he “made a comment about shooting” the trooper who arrested him. Ross was charged with aggravated assault, terrorist threats, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, DUI, public drunkenness and harassment, according to Public Opinion.

A Pennsylvania man faces DUI and aggravated harassment by a prisoner charges after he repeatedly spit on the officer who arrested him for DUI, according to the York Daily Record.

Ross Eugene Bricker almost hit Officer Thomas Kibler’s patrol car in his pickup truck. Kibler stopped him, and Bricker admitted to drinking and failed a field sobriety test.

Then, as Kibler was driving Bricker to the booking station, Bricker allegedly spit at the officer, hitting him in the top of the head.

Jul

16

Virginia DUI Arrest Turns into Funny Money Bust

By Topher

In Prince William County, Virginia, a DUI arrest turned into a counterfeit currency bust when police discovered that the two men being arrested had three odd-looking $100 bills in their possession.

According to the Washington Post, police nabbed the two men on what they thought was a routine suspicion of drunk driving stop. When the police officer searched the men, though, he found several $100 bills that didn’t look quite right.

What tipped him off was a message written next to Benjamin Franklin’s head that read “BILLETE DE LA SUERTE ALASITAS.” According to the Washington Post, it denotes the bill as a good luck ticket for the festival of Alasitas, which is a festival held every year in Peru and Bolivia. At the festivals, bills of this kind are handed out widely in casinos and elsewhere.

Apparently these bills are available on eBay, from a seller operating out of England.

The officer determined that the bills were counterfeit, and police investigated the strange bills further. They found that the driver’s friend had even more of the bills, and when they searched his house they found 59 more.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, these bills have appeared in the Federal Reserve Bank 125 times. In other words, someone has accepted this type of bill as real currency at least 125 times over the years.

Federal prosecutors were not interested in pursuing the case of the drunk drivers who were caught with counterfeit cash, so instead the county will handle the case. County police were not aware of the bills actually being passed as real anywhere.

One man, Jose Portillio, got charged with drunk driving, refusal to take a Breathalyzer test, possession of fictitious bank notes and possession of a false work card. The other man, Ronald Virto, was charged with possessing more than ten fictitious bank notes, passing fictitious bank notes, and drunk driving charges.

Many times DUI arrests lead to additional charges. This appears to be one of those cases, when one offense clues police onto another and a DUI suspect must answer additional charges, too.

Jun

7

California Bus Driver Arrested for DUI on Job

By Topher

In Encinitas, California, a North County Transit bus driver has been accused of drunk driving while operating a county bus, KFMB-TV is reporting.

David Joseph Costello already has a history of alcohol-related offenses when he was hired to be a bus driver for the county. Now he faces accusations that his blood-alcohol content was six times the legal limit defined for commercial vehicle operators. This limit is more strict than those of private drivers.

Costello was arrested for DUI after a passenger on the bus that he was driving called 911.

Emily Knudsen was riding the bus on her way to work when she noticed the driver, Costello, behaving oddly. According to her account, he was stopping the bus irregularly, for no reason that she could determine, and at one point he even pulled the bus over, stepped out and urinated in the bushes.

“I told [the police dispatcher] I just got off a bus with a driver I thought was intoxicated or something,” she told KFMB-TV.

After Costello returned from the bushes, he was allegedly staggering. The officer that pulled over Costello and investigated noted that he smelled a strong odor of alcohol.

“I saw his right eye was almost completely closed,” said Deputy Brenda Wiebe. “His movements were very slow and his speech was slow and slurred.”

Costello failed a field sobriety test and a field breath test. He registered a .25 percent blood-alcohol content and a .26 percent blood-alcohol content. Both of these measurements are well over the .04 percent limit placed on commercial drivers.

Costello’s history of alcohol-related offenses goes back to May, 2008, when he was cited for drinking in public in Oceanside and then again a few days later in Escondido. A source also told KFMB-TV that Costello had other alcohol-related offenses that were no longer on his record because they had happened more than a decade ago.

In many cases, a DUI record prevents someone from being hired for a professional driving job.

The county hired Costello via First Transit, a private subcontractor that is in the process of taking over the bus operations in the district. A spokesperson from First Transit said that Costello had passed all of the necessary criminal background checks before he was hired.

May

3

Georgia DUI Pursuit Chase Leads to Marijuana Outpost

By Topher

We have heard before about how a DUI arrest leads to a suspect getting in more hot water about additional crimes. But this story features a suspect who led police directly into the heart of another of his allegedly illegal associations.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, one suspected crime led to discovery of another, as a DUI suspect led police on a wild chase to a house serving as the headquarters for a marijuana growing operation.

According to authorities, Charles Byrd was fleeing police after they tried to stop his green Chrysler Sebring when they saw that the driver had broken several traffic laws.

Byrd did not pull over, though. Instead, he jumped out of his car towards a home off of the highway. He ran into the house and locked the door. Police called in back-up to address the situation, and they surrounded the house.

Byrd soon came out of the house, but the end to the stand-off wasn’t the end of the case. Police smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the house when Byrd came out, and he was arrested.

As they were dealing with the arrest of Byrd, police found another occupant in the house, Timothy Donahue, hiding from them.

Police obtained a search warrant to investigate the home, and when they did so they found 69 marijuana plants in different stages of the growth process. They also found almost 1,500 grams of already processed marijuana and equipment used to cultivate marijuana.

All told, the marijuana that was confiscated had a monetary value of more than $327,000.

Charles Byrd, who had led police to the pot hideout while evading the consequences of a different offense, was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell. He was also charged with driving with an expired tag, driving without headlights after dark, making an improper turn and driving without a driver’s license with him.

Donahue also faces charges surrounding the intent to distribute marijuana. He had an outstanding warrant in another county as well.

Both of the men are being held at the county’s detention center as police continue to investigate the marijuana growing operation.

Apr

25

New Hampshire Liquor Commissioner Arrested for DWI

By Topher

Richard Simard, one of New Hampshire’s state liquor commissioners, was arrested for driving while intoxicated recently after being pulled over and refusing to take a Breathalyzer test.

As a result, Gov. John Lynch removed Simard from the liquor commissioner’s office, according to an article in the Concord Monitor.

While Lynch agreed that Simard was innocent until proven guilty, his refusal to submit to testing was not appropriate. “It is simply unacceptable for a liquor commissioner, stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence, to refuse a Breathalyzer test,” he said in an email statement. “Under the circumstances, Richard Simard’s continued presence on the Liquor Commission would compromise the integrity of the Commission.”

When Simard was stopped by officers at 11:30 on a Saturday night, they smelled alcohol coming from his BMW. Officers had received a tip that a drunk driver might be headed their way, and they pulled the car over when it matched the description provided. Officers followed the car and noticed that it was being driven erratically, so they pulled it over.

They asked Simard to perform a field sobriety test, and after he refused to take the Breathalyzer they arrested him on charges of DWItitle. He was charged with speeding and released on $1,000 personal recognizance bail.

Police also noted that Simard did not answer any of their questions during the arrest.
Simard had been on the Liquor Commission since July of 2008 to fill the term of a commissioner before him who had retired. That initial term expired in 2009, but Simard remained in holdover status. This status allowed the governor to remove him from office at any time.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission, according to the article, “regulates the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state and operates the state stores that sell wine and spirits. It also enforces the state’s liquor laws.”

Sales of alcohol through the commission reached almost $500 million, and provided more than $100 million in profit to the state of New Hampshire.

Simard has owned several businesses in New Hampshire, and said at the time of taking office that he hoped to streamline distribution networks, improve stores and raise profits on alcohol sales.

Apr

18

Police Officer on DUI Patrol Hit by Drunk Driver

By Topher

According to a report by The Providence Journal, a police officer in Rhode Island was killed while on a DUI patrol when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

Officer Michael Troia was parked in his police cruiser on the lookout for DUI suspects when a man who was later charged with DUI slammed into the cruiser. Troia was on patrol specifically for the purpose of nabbing the very type of suspect who would come right to him.

He was taken to the hospital after the accident, where he was treated and released. He will not be at work for a few days after the incident, to fully recover before returning to duty, according to the Providence Police Department.

Officer Troia was working overtime as a part of the Blue Riptide program, in which grant money from the state’s Department of Transportation goes towards policing potential DUI offenders. Troia’s overtime pay was coming from this specific fund.

Officer Troia had pulled over another driver for a moving violation that wasn’t associated with driving under the influence, and was writing out the ticket in his own vehicle when he was struck. He called for help, which arrived in the form of a fellow officer, who spoke to the driver of the Toyota Corolla that had collided with the police cruiser.

Michael O. Mageau was driving the car. According to police, there was a strong smell of alcohol emanating from Mageau. When asked how the accident happened, the driver said that the police cruiser must have pulled out in front of him.

When informed that the cruiser had been parked with its overhead lights on, the driver claimed that “Well, it must’ve stopped suddenly then,” according to the police report.

When asked if he had been drinking, Mageau replied, “Of course I have.”

Mageau could not perform field-sobriety tests when requested from the police, and police let him stop so that he wouldn’t hurt himself. Mageau was charged with drunk driving, refusing a breath test and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.