By John Clark
A Rhode Island resident was arrested for a DUI on Monday morning this week, which wouldn’t usually be a topic of national discussion. But the circumstances of the arrest have left many people wondering how this man was allowed to drive on Monday at all.
According to a report from the Boston Globe, Robert F. Levesque’s arrest was his third drunk driving incident in less than a week.
Sources say the 54-year-old man, a resident of West Warwick, stopped his car in the middle of a road this Monday at roughly 1:30 in the morning.
When police officers arrived on the scene, they discovered Levesque hunched over his steering wheel, in some state of consciousness that could fairly be described as a non-driving state of mind.
Sources note that the driver’s posture and actions led wary police officers to detect that he was “highly intoxicated at the time,” which is not the ideal description drivers want on their DUI police reports.
After removing Levesque and his vehicle from the middle of the road, police charged the man with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, and failing to submit to a chemical test.
These charges, of course, came on the heels of two other arrests during the past week. Police officers learned of these past charges when they brought Levesque to the Wickford Barracks to process him.
Concerned citizens may take some comfort in the knowledge that a Rhode Island court had previously revoked Levesque’s license, but some critics believe that the state could have done more to keep the dangerous man off the road.
In addition, the state decided after the man’s third arrest to take further precaution. Sources say that Levesque is currently being held with bail because he violated the terms of a prior bail with his recent drunk driving stunt.
The saga of Levesque, however, reveals the difficult balancing act courts must perform when determining whether to grant bail for someone who appears determined to continue driving under the influence.
Suspending a driver’s license keeps most honest people off the roads, but there are plenty of DUI defendants who are perfectly content to drive without a valid license. In such a case, courts are more likely to keep a drunk driver behind bars.
One method many states use to prevent such incidents is to install ignition interlock systems in convicted drunk drivers’ cars. These devices allow dangerous drivers to maintain their freedom, but prevent them from driving if they are drunk.
Say goodbye to 2012 and party all night long, but make sure you get home safely on New Year’s Day!
In the U.S., January 1 ranks second for fatal car accidents, with more than 40 percent of accidents involving alcohol. Protect yourself and start 2013 off right by having a post-party plan.
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Know Your Limits
- Think before you drink—Do you know how many drinks will keep you under the legal limit? Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) calculators can give you an idea but they’re not 100% accurate.
- BAC can be affected by height, weight, sex, body fat, even what you’ve eaten.
- Pace yourself—alternate a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.
● If you’re going out with a group of friends, choose a designated driver. (Consider having a backup as well.)
● Keep an eye on your group. Never drive with someone who’s been drinking.
Phone a Friend
● All alone and no one to take you home? Keep an emergency friend in your back pocket. (You’ll owe them big later, of course.)
Ask the Experts
● The National Directory of Designated Driver Services (NDDDS) lists profit and nonprofit organizations that will send someone out to drive you and your car home.
● AAA offers a Tipsy Tow service in some locales. You do not need to be a member. Other smaller local services may also exist, so look around.
Walk It Out
● Be careful if you’re tempted to walk home. Pedestrian-involved accidents are higher on New Year’s than any other time of the year!
Sleep It Off
● Partying at a friend’s house or a hotel and all your options are exhausted? Consider staying put. Better to crash on a couch than to crash on the road.
This infographic has been brought to you by Total DUI.
In December 2010, alcohol-related car accidents caused an average of 25 deaths per day, accounting for 30% of all motor vehicle accidents that month. New Year’s Day has been found to be the deadliest day of the year for drunk driving deaths.
In this infographic, you’ll learn how to avoid a DUI arrest this season. (hint – don’t drink and drive!)
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Who’s Most at Risk?
- Men represent 78% of the drivers invovled in fatal alcohol-related accidents.
- Drivers 21 to 34 years old were alcohol impaired and involved in fatal crashes more often than any other age group.
- Drivers on the roadways between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. were involved in 78% of alcohol-related fatalities in December 2010.
- Nearly half of drivers involved in fatal crashes from 12 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. had BACs of .15 or higher.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
- The national DUI enforcement blitz.
- The campaign will run from December 12, 2012, to January 1, 2013.
- Local law enforcement will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.
- Plan Ahead: Find a designated driver if you’ll be drinking.
- If you’ve been drinking, stay where you are.
Time is the only thing that sobers a person.
- The liver metabolizes one drink an hour.
If you cannot stay where you are:
- Call a taxi.
- Call a family member or friend.
- Use public transportation.
Do not let anyone who’s been drinking get behind the wheel.
This report is brought to you by Total DUI.
By John Clark
A drug and alcohol counselor in California was arrested for an alleged DUI this week, which shows just how common the crime is, according to a report from ABC News.
Sources say 51-year-old Sherri Lyn Wilkins, a rehabilitation counselor at Twin Town Treatment Center in Torrance, California, is facing charges of manslaughter and drunk driving after striking and killing a pedestrian.
The details of the accident are gruesome. Sources say the victim, 31-year-old Philip Moreno, was trying to cross a busy intersection when Wilkins struck him head-on with her vehicle.
Shockingly, after striking Moreno, Wilkins continued to drive for two miles while the man was stuck in her windshield. Several witnesses reportedly forced Wilkins to stop after seeing the man in her windshield.
According to Sgt. Robert Watt, a police officer in Torrance, Wilkins “had panicked behind the wheel after striking the gentleman and did not know what to do.”
Moreno had been with friends at a bar watching a sporting event when he left early to walk home. According to his friend, Jennifer Grebb, Moreno decided to walk home instead of drive because he was “doing the right thing.”
Sadly, if the allegations are true, Wilkins certainly did the wrong thing, as she chose to drive while intoxicated despite her close personal knowledge of the dangers of drunk driving.
Sources suggest that Wilkins had her own troubles with substance abuse before stepping into the role of a rehabilitation counselor at Twin Town.
According to the facility’s CEO, David Lisonbee, who confirmed that Wilkins had been working there before the accident, “[n]o one, including counselors, are immune from the possibility of relapse.”
Lisonbee also noted that he and his cohorts were “comfortable that she was in a program of recovery for a period of time prior to this incident.” Sources say that Wilkins will be back in court this week for an initial hearing.
Alas, despite Wilkins’ intimate knowledge of the perils of drunk driving, she chose to get behind the wheel while she was intoxicated. Her story can serve as a cautionary tale to others.
In recent months, counselors, ministers, and other community leaders have all caused DUI accidents across the country. These incidents reveal that, despite the progress that has been made, drunk driving remains a common, but easily preventable, crime.
Instead of driving drunk, hail a taxi, take public transportation, or call a friend. The potential consequences of driving drunk far outweigh any perceived benefits.
By John Clark
A popular news anchor in Atlanta, Georgia, was pulled over for drunk driving this week after causing a frightening car accident, according to a recent report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Sources say that Amanda Davis, a regular anchor on Atlanta’s Fox 5 News, was driving in the wrong direction on an arterial road when she struck a vehicle traveling in the right direction.
The crash occurred after midnight on Monday night, and Davis has been arrested for a DUI, according to Gregory Lyon, a spokesman for the Atlanta police department.
According to the police report, officers arrived on the scene after Davis caused the accident, which fortunately did not result in any serious injuries.
When Davis left her car and started speaking with the police, one officer “noticed an odor of alcohol emanating from” the news anchor, according to sources.
When the officer asked Davis if she had been drinking before the accident, she reportedly responded “in the affirmative.”
Despite her alleged confession to drinking and driving, Davis refused to perform a field sobriety test. Nevertheless, the police believed they had probable cause to arrest her due to the smell of alcohol and her behavior at the scene of the accident.
For her actions, Davis was reportedly charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain her lane, in addition to the DUI charge. Sources say the police also confiscated her license before taking her to jail.
It’s difficult to speculate on her possible punishment, but DUI drivers often face potential penalties including jail time, a large fine, or the suspension of their driver’s licenses. First-time offenders generally receive lighter punishments than repeat offenders, but this varies by jurisdiction.
One interesting note in this arrest is that Davis’ employer, Fox 5, decided to go ahead and report the incident, but sources say it only printed a brief three-sentence story on its website.
Sources note that the story did not include a picture of the anchor’s mug shot, despite the fact that the station routinely posts the mug shots of people who are arrested for drunk driving.
Several commenters on the story claimed the television station was showing bias in its reporting on the incident.
And while Davis may have received some harmless preferential treatment at the hands of her current employer, the Atlanta judge who hears her case will have to put her celebrity status aside. The public expects nothing less.
By John Clark
When politicians or other public figures are arrested for a DUI, news of their arrest is usually limited to a brief blurb in the morning paper. Rarely do politicians have to contend with video footage of their embarrassing behavior.
This, however, did not prove to be the case for Phil Bonus, the mayor of Maitland, Florida, who appears “unsteady” and is shown stumbling in video footage of his DUI arrest, according to a recent report from the Orlando Sentinel.
Sources say the video was released this week by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office after at least one curious citizen filed a request to view the public record.
The incident occurred in December 2011 in Tampa, and shows a police officer trying to guide a “glassy-eyed” Bonus through a series of basic field sobriety tests after Bonus refused to take a blood alcohol test.
In the video, Bonus was very slow to react to most of the officer’s requests, and he almost fell on several occasions as he tried to walk in a straight line in the parking lot of an IKEA furniture store.
The embarrassing video footage is taken just minutes after Bonus drunkenly slammed his car into the side of a police cruiser. Sources say Bonus also came close to striking a police officer who was trying to direct traffic.
According to the police report, the mayor had a “distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, bloodshot glassy eyes, [was] unable to follow simple directions and [had] an unsteady appearance.”
For his actions, Bonus was eventually charged with two misdemeanor DUI counts. He will have a key court appearance on October 12, according to sources.
Remarkably, though, this may not be the biggest problem Bonus currently faces. Sources say that the mayor has been hearing loud calls for his resignation thanks to his alleged link to a prostitution ring.
According to sources, a recent investigation discovered the mayor’s name on the client list of a large prostitution network in Orange County, although sources are quick to note that Bonus has not been charged with a crime linked to this discovery.
Still, the pending investigation into the mayor’s involvement with prostitution, coupled with the video footage taken from his extreme DUI arrest, will undoubtedly heighten the pressure for Bonus to resign.
Politicians, however, often seem to recover from similar ordeals, so if Bonus is determined to remain in office, he might be able to salvage his career. Stranger things have happened in the political realm.
By John Clark
A police dog captured a DUI suspect after the alleged drunk driver led police on a reckless high-speed chase, according to a report from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that reads like a scene from a Michael Bay movie.
Sources say that 19-year-old Roderick Miller was spotted driving erratically by a sheriff’s deputy in Manatee County, Florida.
When the deputy flipped on his police lights to initiate a traffic stop, Miller allegedly refused to pull over to the side of the road, and instead sped away from the police officer into neighboring Sarasota County.
According to the police report, the speed of the officer and suspect never exceeded 85 mph. Police will typically call off a car chase if speeds reach dangerous levels, or the drivers are a threat to the public, sources suggest.
In this case, the deputy believed that pursuit was still necessary, and after several minutes of driving, Miller eventually struck a traffic sign and skidded into a ditch.
After striking the ditch, though, Miller didn’t stop. In order to avoid a DUI arrest, Miller reportedly continued to drive along the ditch until he rammed into a utility pole.
The impact of the crash split the utility pole in two, and left phone lines blocking the road, according to the police report.
After striking the pole, Miller apparently jumped from his car and ran south into a patch of forest. Shortly after the accident, backup officers with a search dog quickly responded to the scene.
Miller may have escaped were it not for the efforts of the search dog. Sources say the canine discovered the DUI suspect hiding in a row of bushes about a quarter mile from the scene of the accident.
While police dogs are trained to show some restraint when dealing with suspects, this dog apparently bit Miller and left a puncture wound on the back of the suspect’s hand.
Due to the bite, emergency responders had to treat Miler at the scene, and the suspect was later transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to receive stitches for the wound.
Miller hopefully enjoyed his stay at the hospital, because as soon as he was fit to be released, police officers promptly hauled him away to the Sarasota County Jail.
The suspect is reportedly facing charges for drunk driving, fleeing to elude, leaving the scene of an accident, and obstructing justice, according to sources.
By John Clark
Two employees of the Philadelphia Council were arrested this week for allegedly driving under the influence while operating a city-owned vehicle, according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sources say that 50-year-old Robin Jones, a city receptionist, and 42-year-old Darrell Williams, a sergeant-at-arms, both work in the office of the City Council’s president, and were not authorized to use city vehicles when they were arrested last weekend.
When she was caught by police, Jones was driving one of the city’s Chevy Cobalts, despite the fact that she had a suspended driver’s license.
During the ride, Jones hit a sign and then slammed into a building near downtown Philadelphia around 2:30 in the morning, according to sources.
After her accident, Jones called Williams for help, and Williams arrived in a city-owned Ford Explorer, after apparently leaving his post.
This request, however, proved to be unwise, as Williams was also “visibly intoxicated” when he arrived at the scene.
When police officers responded to reports of an accident, they arrested Jones for a DUI, and then after seeing the condition of Williams after he responded to his friend’s call, they arrested him for a DUI, as well.
Interestingly, according to Jane Roh, a communications director for the city council’s office, a receptionist such as Jones has no access to city vehicles, so Jones could be facing additional criminal charges on top of her DUI offense.
Williams, however, might be authorized to use a city vehicle due to his status as a sergeant-at-arms, but he is certainly not authorized to drive the vehicles while intoxicated.
According to Roh, both incidents represented a “flat-out unauthorized” use of city cars, and she also said that the arrests could serve as “immediate grounds for firings.”
Sources indicate that the two vehicles are part of a fleet used to haul city council members around town for various meetings, and their use is usually monitored very closely. In Roh’s words, under normal circumstances, employees “can’t just grab a key and take a city vehicle.”
If Jones and Williams are found guilty on the DUI counts, they may ultimately lose their jobs. According to their boss, if the incidents are “confirmed by authorities,” then it will prove that his employees displayed a “level of conduct and disregard for public safety that cannot be tolerated.”
In other words, if Williams and Jones are convicted of drunk driving, the odds are very slim that they’ll ever have access to the city council’s vehicles again.
By John Clark
A driver from Palatine, Illinois, could spend the next 30 years in prison after he was arrested for the seventh time on a DUI charge, according to a report this week from the Chicago Tribune.
Sources say that 47-year-old Osvaldo Collazo was arrested this week on charges of aggravated driving under the influence, according to prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois.
As is customary for drivers who have displayed such a reckless disregard for the rules of the road, the Cook County court set Collazo’s bail at $300,000.
The high bail means it is very likely that Collazo will have to stay in jail through the completion of his court proceedings, unless he can find a large amount of cash in a short period of time.
The size of the bail also suggests that the judge is skeptical that Collazo would be able to remain sober if he was released from jail pending his trial.
It should be noted, however, that despite the size of the bail, under the American judicial system, Collazo is still presumed innocent. But it’s fair to say that there are different shades of innocence.
Sources indicate that the driver was arrested last week in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, after police officers noticed his car weaving in and out of traffic.
When the officers pulled Collazo over, the driver admitted that he had been drinking beer earlier that afternoon, although officers didn’t take his word for it.
When the police administered a breathalyzer test, Collazo’s blood alcohol level was revealed to be 0.213, which is almost three times the legal Illinois limit of 0.08, according to sources.
Under normal circumstances, if this had been the driver’s first DUI arrest, he would have faced a stiff fine, a potential loss of his license, and perhaps a stint in jail.
This arrest, however, came on the heels of five prior DUI convictions, as well as a sixth arrest related to a felony weapon charge which carries a mandatory sentence range of six to 30 years, according to local sources.
In addition, when Collazo was arrested for his latest alleged drunk driving offense, he was wanted by police on a warrant for failing to appear in court for his sixth DUI charge, sources say.
The arresting officers, of course, were probably surprised to learn that their routine DUI stop had turned into the arrest of a man who had skirted the law so many times before.
If prosecutors are able to either convict Collazo, or convince him to plead guilty to the sixth and seventh DUI charges, he could spend the next three decades languishing in prison.
By John Clark
This week, a judge in Denver District Court gave a 10-year prison sentence to a drunk driver who killed a young mother while she was driving the wrong way down an interstate highway, according to a report from the Denver Post.
Sources say the drunk driver, 28-year-old Victoria Barry, had a blood alcohol level of 0.219 two hours after her head-on collision with 31-year-old Lilly Duncan, who was driving home from a family birthday party. The accident occurred on May 14, 2011.
The fact that Barry was driving the wrong way down Interstate 25 with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit was enough to warrant to heavy sentence, but her collision with Duncan’s car sealed Barry’s lengthy prison sentence.
The accident orphaned Duncan’s 13-year-old daughter, who gave a tearful plea in court asking the judge to issue a harsh sentence against the woman who killed her mother.
While judging the merits of Duncan’s arguments for mercy, Judge Sheila Rappaport reportedly weighed Barry’s grossly irresponsible actions against her clean criminal record and previous humanitarian acts, according to sources.
Judge Rappaport revealed the difficulty of her decision when she noted that “[o]ne night, one decision, one act does not and should not define Ms. Barry.”
The judge, however, also observed that she had to “factor in the fact that one night, one decision and one act defined and obliterated all that Ms. Duncan could be or would achieve in her life.”
In her final decision, it seems the judge leveled a strong decision against Barry, but withheld some punishment. Sources say that the 10-year felony DUI sentence is two years under the maximum allowed for vehicular homicide caused by drunk driving.
Duncan’s family, though, was pleased with the sentence, as one surviving member of her family told reporters that “justice was served” during this week’s sentencing.
So Barry will head to prison for a decade, for one terrible decision, and the pleas of her family didn’t seem to make much of a difference when it came time for her sentencing.
Sources say that Barry’s family told the judge about her history of humanitarian relief efforts in the Dominican Republic, and asked that part of her sentenced be relaxed in exchange for her efforts in teaching others about the dangers of drunk driving.
Observers in the courtroom, however, told reporters that Barry never directly apologized to Duncan’s family, which may have played a minor role in the judge’s final decision.
By John Clark
A woman from Gainesville, Florida, was reportedly driving to a bar with eight children in tow when she was arrested for driving under the influence, according to a shocking report this week from the Gainesville Sun.
Sources say that Lawanda Lowery-Gale, a 32-year-old mother of six children, was charged with one DUI count, eight counts of child neglect, and one count of driving with a suspended license.
Late last Friday night, members of the Gainesville Police Department arrived at the scene of an accident where a van side-swiped a smaller car on a street near the University of Florida.
The van was being driven by Lowery-Gale, who had eight children ranging in age from 10 months to 14 years in her van. Six of the children were her own, while two others were her nieces.
Before the accident, sources say the woman was trying to get to a nightclub called Fubar, although there is no indication that she had a plan for the children when she arrived at the club.
The accident occurred around 10:00 p.m., and when officers arrived at the scene of what sources call a “minor traffic crash,” they discovered a woman who appeared to be drunk, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, and reportedly smelled like alcohol, sources say.
To make her own legal matters worse, Lowery-Gale apparently “performed poorly” on her sobriety test, and the responding officers administered a breath test to determine the level of her intoxication.
To no one’s surprise, Lowery-Gale blew a 0.166 on her blood alcohol test, which is more than twice the legal limit in Florida of 0.08.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident, which reportedly caused vehicle damage worth more than $1,000.
And the woman could receive a tougher sentence than she would otherwise have seen because her license has already been suspended five times and she was cited less than two years ago for failing to take an alcohol test at a traffic stop.
In addition, states across the country have started to pass laws aimed at punishing drivers who put children at risk by driving with them while intoxicated. Under many of these laws, drivers receive automatic extra jail time if children are present in the car when they are arrested.
Many of these measures have been passed in response to the alarming trend of parents driving drunk with their children in tow, a practice which Lowery-Gale seemed to push to the extreme last week.
By John Clark
A Utah resident was recently arrested for drunk driving three times over a 45-hour span, according to an alarming report from the Salt Lake Tribune.
Sources indicate that 41-year-old Daniel Kropf was released from jail this week after posting a $30,000 bail, but he is facing a third-degree felony DUI charge for his actions over a two-day period in early July.
Apparently, the defendant’s first two DUI arrests counted as misdemeanors, but his arrest for a third DUI made him eligible for potential felony charges.
The legal tussle is a direct result of the man’s actions that started on July 8, when Kropf was driving a truck that was pulling a flatbed trailer when he struck a dumpster outside a gas station in Cache County, Utah.
The impact of the collision sent the dumpster spinning into an unlucky employee who was taking out the trash. The employee was sent to the hospital after suffering serious injuries in the crash, and has reportedly filed a personal injury lawsuit against Kropf.
After being arrested for drunk driving, Kropy posted bail and was released. Shortly thereafter, however, Kropf was again arrested for drunk driving. After his second release, Kropf was arrested for a DUI for the third time in a 45-hour period, according to sources.
And while the picture may look bleak for Kropf, his DUI attorney plans to fight the charges tooth and nail, and believes that his client may be facing unfair charges.
According to his attorney, state prosecutors should not be able to charge Kropf with a felony because they have yet to prove his two prior misdemeanor charges.
In response, prosecutors say they are confident that Kropf will be found guilty on the two misdemeanor charges, and have asked the court to include the two lesser charges in the trial for the felony offense.
Kropf’s attorney, however, claims that “the fact that someone arrests for something isn’t a conviction,” and that his client should not be treated as if the first two charges have already been established as fact.
Somehow, the attorney successfully argued that Kropf was not a danger to society, and was not a flight risk, so his client was able to post bail.
Kropf, however, must wear a monitoring device on his ankle that allows court officials to track his movements before his trial.
Sources say that Kropy has no prior criminal history, so his past good behavior may have played a role in the judge’s decision to grant him limited freedom before he faces trial.
By John Clark
A 40-year-old Illinois woman who allegedly drove over and killed her young daughter was arrested last week and is being held in the Will County Adult Detention Facility, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
The woman, Yvette Y. Guerrero-Silva, is facing two separate counts of aggravated DUI, with one count amounting to a Class 2 felony, and the other count qualifying as just a Class 4 felony.
Guerrero-Silva will probably spend her weeks before trial behind bars, as a local judge reportedly set her bond at a lofty $1 million.
The story of her DUI is as tragic as it is unbelievable. According to sources, the mother was backing out of the driveway of a family business in the early evening when her car rolled over her 19-month-daughter, Holly.
The force of the car caused massive head injuries to the toddler, who was pronounced dead just a few hours later at a Cook County hospital near Chicago. The official autopsy said the girl died of numerous injuries, and her death was considered an accident.
At the scene, after the accident, Guerrero-Silva reportedly admitted to law enforcement officials that she had consumed several drinks containing alcohol before getting into her car.
Sources say that a blood test administered at the hospital after the accident showed that her blood alcohol levels were well above the legal limit in Illinois, which is 0.08 percent.
Obviously, the mother was devastated by the results of her actions, but the trial court may not factor her personal loss into the sentencing equation.
The charges she is currently facing could bring several years in prison, and sources say that prosecutors will likely bring several more charges against her after the results of her toxicology tests are officially announced.
If she is convicted of the Class 2 felony charge, she could spend up to seven years in prison. If she is also convicted of the lesser felony charge, this sentence could reach a full decade.
In DUI cases that do not involve a loss of life or an injury, typical punishments include a fine, the suspension of a license, or some time in jail.
But when DUI accidents involve serious injuries or fatalities, even if there was no intention to hurt another person, prison sentences can become very lengthy, and some drivers may even have their licenses permanently revoked.
Only time will tell whether Guerrero-Silva will face such a harsh punishment.
By John Clark
A Florida resident received a prison sentence of 25 years this week after accidentally killing his wife during a drunken car accident in 2010, according to a sobering report from the Tampa Bay Times.
Sources say 60-year-old Charles Peoples killed his wife in a drunk driving accident that occurred early one evening two years ago when Peoples veered into the path of an oncoming car on Interstate 75.
At the time of his DUI arrest, Peoples had a blood alcohol level of 0.204, which is well above the legal Florida limit of 0.08. In addition to his drunkenness, Peoples was also on probation and driving with a revoked license.
Sources say that Peoples made matters worse after the accident when he cut his wife’s seat belt and allegedly moved her behind the steering wheel, in an effort to keep police from learning that he was driving unlawfully.
At his sentencing, Peoples said he was the victim, and that he felt “railroaded” by the court. He also claimed that he never tried to move his wife behind the steering wheel after the accident and that he “never made her do anything she didn’t want to do.”
Peoples also told the court he had been a good husband and father. Sources say Wanda Peoples stayed with her husband for 42 years and they had four children together. But Charles Peoples struggled with addictions to alcohol and heroin during most of their marriage.
The judge, however, had little sympathy for Peoples, especially given his multiple arrests over the past 40 years. According to Circuit Judge Gregory Holder, the “only appropriate punishment” for Peoples was the “maximum allowed by law.”
After finding Peoples guilty on charges of DUI manslaughter, driving on a revoked sentence, and violating probation, Judge Holder gave Peoples 25 years in prison, the maximum amount he was able to level against the wayward driver.
Sources speculated that Peoples may have regretted dismissing his attorney and choosing to represent himself. Peoples’ self-representation led to some awkward moments, as he initially pleaded not guilty, but switched to a guilty plea to avoid trial.
When Peoples changed his mind for a third time and tried to withdraw his guilty plea, Judge Holder refused to let him do so.
When Peoples requested a delay in sentencing so a doctor could testify that he suffered from a chronic illness, Judge Holder refused to allow the testimony, and instead read the doctor’s written report.
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.