The stereotypical drunk driver is usually young, often male, and is typically driving alone or with other people his age. Rarely are drunk drivers assumed to be mothers or, heaven forbid, grandmothers.
The truth, however, is that all sorts of people are arrested for drunk driving every day. And, while young males are arrested for DUIs more often than any other age bracket, they do not hold a monopoly on driving under the influence of alcohol.
This reality was recently on display in Lancaster, California, where a grandmother of three was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol while she had three of her grandchildren in her car.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, 55-year-old Marie Shipley will soon make her first appearance in a Los Angeles County courtroom as she faces felony DUI charges for the disturbing incident.
Sources indicate that Shipley was arrested after driving drunk on a Monday afternoon while transporting three grandsons, aged 7, 11, and 13, from a local park.
While she was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, the boys began arguing, and at least one of her grandsons jumped out of the car while it was moving.
According to the police report from the incident, the boy who jumped out of the car attempted to re-enter the vehicle, but Shipley sped away, preventing him from getting back into the car. Eventually, Shipley slowed down and took the boy home after he started crying.
Shipley’s daughter later took the boy to the hospital, where he had treatment for minor injuries sustained during the incident.
While this episode seems laughable (despite its potentially severe consequences), incidents of elderly drunk driving are fairly commonplace. In addition, alcohol abuse by older Americans is often ignored and untreated.
As people age, they grow increasingly susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol. This increased sensitivity, combined with the natural loss of reflexes that occurs with aging, can sometimes have serious effects for older drivers.
While a driver may have been able to drive after a few glasses of wine in his or her younger days, that same amount of alcohol might render the person unable to drive responsibly in later years.
As the American population continues to grow older, incidents of drunk driving among older drivers may become more of a public hazard.
Of course, many drivers who operate a car under the influence of alcohol at least have the decency to leave children out of the car. And, if they do drive children, they usually don’t play games where the children are leaping in and out of a moving vehicle.
So, it seems safe to say that Shipley’s actions, while abhorrent, don’t represent typical behavior amongst older drivers.
Because of the blinding influence of alcohol, drunk drivers attempting to elude the police often think they’re police-evading tactics are more clever than they actually are.
Common tactics include driving too slow or too fast, masking swerving by simply swerving really slow, or blaming red eyes and slow reflexes on a lack of sleep, or prescription pills.
The most infamous DUI offenders, though, are the people who cause car accidents, and then flee the scene out of fear of being caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
A man in Louisville recently learned just how difficult escaping the scene of a DUI accident can be.
According to WDRB News, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky, 37-year-old Jesse Gaines was arrested last week after police tracked his car by following the path of leaky fluids from Gaines’ wounded vehicle.
Before his arrest, Gaines had allegedly been involved in a three-car accident in downtown Louisville. The police report from the accident indicates that Gaines swerved into oncoming traffic and struck two cars before speeding back into the road and then striking a pole.
After the accident, Gaines fled the scene, which led to phone calls to Louisville about a drunk driver on the loose.
Officers did not have a hard time locating Gaines, as they simply followed the path of a leaking fluid that had started dripping from Gaines’ car at the scene of the accident.
When Gaines was finally arrested by the police, he admitted that he had just left a strip club where he had consumed two “large liquor drinks.”
The police report also claims that Gaines smelled of alcohol, had red eyes, and was unable to stand without falling down. When the police administered a breathalyzer test, Gaines blew a remarkable .26, which is far above the legal limit of .08.
After his less-than-sterling performance on the blood alcohol test, Gaines was promptly arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
To add insult to injury, Gaines was also charged with a failure to maintain insurance. This, of course, will be disappointing news to the other drivers whose cars were struck by Gaines during his ill-fated drive.
While Gaines faces a world of legal trouble, it’s worth noting that DUI arrests can be serious crimes even in the absence of an actual accident.
A DUI arrest often leads to jail time, a suspended license, and hefty fines. Because of the potentially severe impact of DUI charges, many people who are arrested seek legal information from a local DUI lawyer.
Courts take DUI arrests very seriously, but with the proper legal information, people who are arrested are able to deal with the charges with minimal damages to their finances and their reputation.
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.
A presidential relative was arrested last week in Framingham, Mass., on charges of drunk driving and now faces deportation.
When Onyango Obama, the half-brother of President Obama’s father, was given the chance to make a phone call following the arrest, he was sure to make his family ties known.
“I think I’d like to call the White House,” said Obama, according to the police report.
If expecting his nephew, Obama failed to remember that President Barack Obama is currently vacationing with his family on Martha’s Vineyard.
The law firm representing Onyango Obama told the Boston Globe that he is now in the custody of immigration officials and facing a possible deportation to Kenya.
The White House would not comment on the incident this week and, instead, directed all requests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. According to the ICE press office, the agency does not report on individual cases.
Onyango Obama, 67, was stopped by police around 7 p.m. on Wednesday outside the Chicken Bone Saloon after he made a sharp turn and caused a police cruiser and another driver to slam on their brakes.
Officer Val J. Krishtal noted in his report that Obama appeared to be slurring his speech when the officer approached the vehicle.
“The male would not allow me to speak and continued to interrupt me,” Krishtal recorded in his arrest report. “I explained to him that I narrowly avoided striking his vehicle, and he told me that he did not hear my tires screeching, so I was not being accurate.”
After telling the officer he had not been drinking, Obama confessed to having one beer. He then revised his confession and claimed to have had two beers.
When a field sobriety test was performed, Obama allegedly kept starting the tests too early and spoke over the officer’s instructions.
“Every time I got a sentence out, Obama would say, ‘You are correct,’” Krishtal reported. “He also attempted to start the [one-legged stand] test approximately seven times without being told to do so.”
Obama was arrested on drunken driving charges after failing three sobriety tests. He later registered a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent at the station. The legal limit in Massachusetts is 0.08.
Framingham police Lieutenant Ronald Brandolini told the Boston Globe the department did not look into the presidential connection despite Obama’s name and his request to contact the White House.
Obama was arraigned Thursday on charges of DUI, failure to yield at an intersection, and negligent operation. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney told the Boston Globe the judge released Obama on personal recognizance, but that he was held on an immigration detainer.
Ever been ‘under the influence’ of alcohol while driving something other than a car? Find out the funniest cases of DUIs that occurred on other forms of transportation–like horseback! From dolphin-back to bikes, horse-drawn buggies to golf carts, there are as many moving violation types for drinkers than you ever thought possible. Which do you think is weirdest?
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Strange DUI Violations
An Amish man was arrested for driving while intoxicated in his horse-drawn buggy after drinking about 12 beers. He told police he was a “bad Amish”.
On a dare a man started up a steamroller, but drove it into a car. Police, realizing he was intoxicated, arrested him.
If you are intoxicated and let another intoxicated person drive your car, both you and the driver can be charged with a DUI in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
An intoxicated, off-duty FDNY firefighter stole a fire truck to respond to a fire. Police placed him under arrest in the fire truck.
A helicopter pilot was arrested by police after flying erratically. The pilot had to turn over his pilot’s license to be released from jail.
Thousands of Waxwing birds in Sweden became intoxicated by gorging on fermenting berries. About 50 lost their lives by flying into nearby windows.
To impress his girlfriend, a drunk Indiana man stole a two-engine plane and drove it down the taxiway. He was arrested after he missed the runway and drove it into a soybean field.
A Kansas Attorney General issued the legal opinion that drinking on an airliner was forbidden by state law while the plane was in airspace over “dry” Kansas. His opinion was widely ridiculed in legal circles.
In Kent, England, two drunken men were arrested for grabbing a dolphin swimming near the shore and trying to ride it home.
While in some countries the penalty for DUI can be death (yes, that death), in Uruguay intoxication is a legal excuse to having an accident while driving.
A New Jersey man was charged and convicted with DUI after joyriding intoxicated on a tiny pocket bike.
An Oregon man was arrested for DUI on an adult tricycle. Police stopped him after he rode down the wrong side of the road and rolled a stop sign.
A Michigan man was charged with DUI for driving his lawnmower home from the liquor store during a snowstorm with a BAC over 2.5 times the legal limit.
It is a crime for anyone other than a licensed dealer to bring any alcohol in any quantity into Utah.
An Australian man was arrested for riding his skateboard intoxicated. Police spotted him weaving through traffic at midnight while drinking rum.
A UK man was arrested for DUI for driving a pink Barbie car at over 2x the legal BAC.
A Florida man was arrested driving a go-kart at 4:00 am. Reportedly too drunk to stand up, he said he was on his way to McDonald’s.
While driving a Christmas parade float drunk, a man passed another float and sped off. After driving another – and its riders – for three miles, he stopped, fought with officers, and was arrested on over three dozen criminal charges.
A New York man was charged with DUI after police saw him swerving on the sidewalk on a motorized cooler.
A drunken joy rider stole a mobility scooter and ran people off the sidewalks – at a top speed of 6 mph. His BAC was 2x the legal limit.
In Spain, a drunk disabled man was stopped by police while driving his motorized bed down the road. He said he was on his way to see a local prostitute.
A German man in a wheelchair was arrested for DUI and registered over 10x the legal BAC limit.
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.
A former middle school teacher was unable to convince the Murray County school board in Chatsworth, Ga. to renew her contract this week in light of a recent DUI charge.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jennifer Zeigler addressed the school board in tears, telling them how much she loved the school and her students. She admitted that she had no excuse for her behavior, but insisted that she deserved a second chance.
Zeigler made these claims during a fair dismissal hearing that was held after school Superintendent Vickie Reed did not recommend that the former teacher’s contract be renewed.
The seven members of the board listened to nearly four hours of testimony before they deliberated over their verdict for close to another hour. When the board returned, they voted unanimously to uphold the superintendent’s decision.
In her own testimony, Reed claimed that Zeigler had lost the respect of students, parents and co-workers, in addition to violating the Georgia Code of Ethics.
Ziegler, on the other hand, argued that she had undergone treatment and should be rehired.
Sgt. Todd Pasley, the police officer responsible for Zeigler’s March 16th DUI arrest, also testified at the hearing.
Pasley claimed he clocked Zeigler driving 28 mph over the speed limit and that, before he could pull her over, she hit a truck stopped at a red light and nearly ran into another vehicle.
The police car camera that recorded the incident shows Zeigler stumbling around the parking lot as she insists she had not been drinking.
When blood samples were taken, Zeigler showed a blood alcohol content level of 0.31, nearly four times the 0.08 legal limit in Georgia. She pleaded no contest when charged with DUI in May, at which time she was sentenced to an alcohol treatment program and 12 months probation.
Zeigler apparently admitted in her testimony that she realized she was an alcoholic. She also stressed that she never gone to school or any school functions while under the influence.
The school’s attorney, Stanley Hawkins, accused Zeigler of not being truthful during her testimony and argued that her problems could not be fixed in one summer.
Zeigler has the option to appeal the board’s decision to the Georgia state school board. Her attorney told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they have not decided if they will do so.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one says it all. Two on-duty Miami police officers mug and smile for the camera while surrounded by five young women celebrating a bachelorette party July 2 at the Clevelander hotel.
Later the same night, one of the officers, Derick Kuilan, took the bachelorette for a joyride on a department-owned ATV, crashing into and seriously injuring two innocent beachgoers.
The picture was released Tuesday by Miami-Dade prosecutors as they charged Kuilan with two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury. The second officer, Rolando Gutierrez, does not face criminal charges.
“It is mind-boggling that they felt comfortable enough to do something like that,” Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega told the Miami Herald.
Both officers have been fired from the department since the time of the incident.
Details of what allegedly happened are outlined in a warrant prepared by prosecutor David I. Gilbert and Miami Beach detective Robert Silvagni:
Derick Kuilan was assigned to ATV patrol, midnight shift, on July 3 and Officer Rolando Gutierrez was assigned to patrol mid-Beach.
That night, the pair of officers walked into the Clevelander hotel bar, a known attraction for tourists, around 5 a.m.
A group of young women from Pennsylvania were celebrating a bachelorette party when the officers arrived. After posing for a picture with the group, Kuilan and Gutierrez began dancing and drinking.
Kuilan then invited the bachelorette, Adalee Martin, to take a ride with him on the ATV he had parked nearby, to which Martin agreed.
The two drove south along the beach at alternating speeds, turning the headlights on and off as they neared approaching pedestrians. When they arrived at the end of the beach and turned around, they drove back north with the vehicle’s lights turned off.
On the drive back, the ATV crashed into Kitzie Nicanor and Luis Almonte, who were on the beach dipping their feet in the water. Bystanders claimed that the ATV whizzed by and that “they could barely see it, because it had no lights on and it was traveling fast,” according to the warrant.
Almonte suffered a broken femur, requiring surgery, while Nicanor had to have her spleen removed and remains hospitalized in serious condition.
Kuilan surrendered to the Miami-Dade County Jail after being charged Tuesday and has already posted $30,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 25.
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.
Coco Crisp, known for a name that reminds fans of breakfast cereal and his productive major league baseball career, was arrested for DUI in Scottsdale, Arizona, during Spring Training last week.
According to MLB.com, Crisp was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol in the Spring Training home of his team, the Oakland Athletics, when police pulled him over on suspicion of DUI just after 2 a.m.
Crisp, who was driving his Rolls Royce Phantom automobile, was stopped for an inability to stay in his lane, as well as for no proof of insurance and expired registration.
Police also conducted field sobriety tests after the stop, and Crisp was arrested for drunk driving.
Arizona is a tough state in terms of DUI laws, with first-time offender penalties that include a ten-day jail sentence and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. Crisp was learning about these tough laws as he went along, though he didn’t comment about the strictness of the state’s stance on DUI issues.
“I can’t really go into the details right now,” he told MLB.com. “I guess those will come out later.”
Former NBA star Charles Barkley was one high-profile celebrity who felt the brunt of these laws after he was charged with DUI in Scottsdale several years ago. He spent three days in jail in a tent city set up for drunk drivers, and he had to complete twelve hours of work release.
Crisp apologized publicly to his fans, teammates, friends and family, saying that he was mainly embarrassed. “I’m sorry and that sorry is genuine. A lot of people look up to me and obviously this was not the right decision.”
The Oakland Athletics baseball club said that they would take the legal matter seriously, and that they were monitoring the situation. The team’s manager had already spoken to Crisp.
Of the A’s organization, Crisp told MLB.com, “they just gave me some advice. It was just like, ‘We’ll get through this.’ It’s obviously a big deal. My parents said they’re here for me if I need anything. That was nice.”
Crisp was foremost reticent about having become a distraction to his teammates as they prepare for the upcoming baseball season. “The sooner this can get out of the clubhouse the better,” he said. “I’ll deal with this myself. I don’t want to be a distraction for any of the other players. I just want to answer questions.”
This is Crisp’s first public legal issue in his nine years as a professional baseball player.
Paris Hilton has faced public embarrassment before, and no we’re not talking about her reality TV series with Nicole Richie. She’s had sex tapes revealed, been arrested for DUI and even spent a little time in jail.
Now, though, after her boyfriend was stopped for suspected DUI, she could be facing the most serious stumble of her life, as she faces felony drug possession charges.
Police allegedly found a bindle of cocaine in her purse while she took a bathroom break at a nearby casino, according to People.
The car that Hilton was riding in at the time of the traffic stop was driven by her boyfriend, nightclub owner Cy Waits. The police officer on the scene said that he smelled marijuana smoke wafting from the vehicle and pulled it over.
Waits was later arrested, on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In the meantime Hilton asked if she could be taken to the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. Officers granted her request, and it was while Hilton was taking lip balm out of her purse that an officer saw the small bundle that he suspected could have been cocaine.
It turned out to be .8 grams of cocaine. The purse also contained cigarette rolling papers that are typically used to roll marijuana joints and a cracked tablet of the asthma drug Albuterol, which Hilton said she had a prescription for.
Hilton claimed that the purse was not hers, that she had borrowed it from a friend of hers. Some of the items in the purse were hers, and some were not. The rolling papers were hers, she said, as well as cash and credit cards and the Albuterol, but not the cocaine.
According to the report, Hilton claimed that when she saw the cocaine, she thought that it was chewing gum.
CBS reported that Hilton stated that she isn’t worried about the felony drug charges, which carry a maximum sentence of four years in jail. Reports say that the Las Vegas District Attorney has already filed the felony case against the heiress. The same DA put O.J. Simpson in the slammer on robbery charges.
Jamie Hicks was driving erratically when her daughter called police from the backseat of the car to report her mother driving drunk with herself and her 10 year old brother in the car.
Hicks was driving down I-84 and was weaving in and out of traffic. According to CNN, Hicks’ daughter was frantic the first time she called, because her mother was “driving erratically and speaking incoherently.”
The cell phone cut out, which prompted 911 operators to call back several times, trying to reach Hicks’ daughter so that the car remained monitored. By the time, they managed to contact her again, all they heard was an argument.
Hicks was apparently furious at her daughter for telling the police about her intoxicated state. Thankfully, the car was pulled over by this time. Operators for 911 were able to locate the cell phone signal of the vehicle and the police arrived soon after.
According to the New York Post, Hicks made some admissions to the police about the fact that she had been drinking. Her blood alcohol level was .18, which is more than twice the legal limit of .08 in New York State.
Hicks was charged with a felony DUI for violating Leandra’s Law, a New York statute that makes driving intoxicated with children in the vehicle a felony. She has been released on $2,000 bail and is due back in court next month. The children have been released into their grandparents care, according to ABClocal.com
Stephen Hicks, the grandfather, is quoted as saying “The family is very grateful my granddaughter had the common sense to make that call . . . The situation is — how can I put it — a terrible lapse in judgment.”
Hicks had been driving her children back from the grandparents home in the first place. The drive between Southbury, Connecticut where the grandparents live and Brewster, New York, where Hicks was arrested is about 45 minutes long.
Regardless, this twelve year old girl is incredibly brave to go against her mother and do what was best for everyone in the car. Police will not be releasing the tapes, but they do recognize the fact that if more children “told” on their parents there may be fewer DUI crashes.
The bottom line is that if you see someone behaving as though they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, do not let them behind the wheel.
When there is a chance to affirm justice, and to see that a criminal gets their due, it is often the victim of a crime who raises the loudest voice and brings safety and security concerns into the public sphere.
That is the case in Tennessee, as a woman who had to struggle to survive after being hit by a drunk driver is raising the alarm and attempting to keep the perpetrator of that DUI behind bars.
Eveylen Turner, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was in a coma for three weeks after Joseph Chimahosky crashed into her. Chimahosky was drunk when he hit Turner. He was found guilty of the crime, and he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
He has so far served five months of that sentence as part of his DUI penalties, but is now facing a parole board that will determine if he stays inside the joint or heads back out into the world.
With the parole hearing offering a place for Turner to state her views and potentially impact his stay in prison, Turner vowed to Channel 4 News in Nashville that she would do whatever it would take to keep Chimahosky behind bars.
“I don’t think he has served his time,” said the victim of the man’s drunk driving crash. “I think that he will get out and do the same again. The next person might not be as lucky as me.”
This was not Chimahosky’s first conviction for drunk driving, either. He had two previous convictions for DUI before his third, in the crash that almost killed an innocent person.
Turner made sure to be at Chimajosky’s parole hearing recently, bringing along pictures, X-rays and her medical bills, which totaled more than $1 million, as she built her case against him.
According to Channel 4 News, her and her family pleaded with the hearings officer to keep Chimahosky in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Dotson held a similar position. “I have no faith in him getting out of here,” he said, “and endangering everybody in the roadway in this county.”
Chimahosky has been in trouble even while in jail. There are reports of an incident on four occasions. He told the parole officers that “not a day goes by I don’t think about my actions. As much as I want to, I can’t change what happened that night or what bad decisions I made that night, but I can change the decisions I make in the future.”
The parole board’s decision should take 3 to 4 weeks.
Starting soon, Ontario will initiate the most strict age restrictions on DUI and drunk driving in Canada.
The new DUI laws will kick in on August 1, according to an article in The Waterloo Region-Record.
Under the new laws, drivers under the age of 22 won’t be able to drink a drop of alcohol, or take a single sip, before they drive a car.
The announcement came down from Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne. Drivers under 21 won’t be allowed to have any alcohol in their blood while they are driving, regardless of what type of driver’s license they have.
Canada has a graduated series of licenses leading up to the G license, which allows drivers to operate any car, van or small truck and trailer up to a certain size. The G1 license allows a driver to drive in the presence of a fully licensed driver who has at least four years of driving experience.
A G2 license allows a driver to drive without accompaniment, but it comes with other restrictions on the number of passengers and the time of night they can carry passengers.
Even before the new legislation goes into effect, G1 and G2 drivers were not allowed to have any alcohol in their system when they are behind the wheel. With the new laws, only G license holders who are over the age of 21 are allowed to have alcohol in their system that does not exceed the legal blood-alcohol limit of .05 percent.
The legislation is only now taking effect, after having been passed back in 2009.
There was dispute surrounding the legislation, and lawmakers removed a provision that would have limited the number of passengers that a teenage driver could have in the car.
Drivers who are caught violating the new law will have their license immediately suspended for 24 hours, and they will face a future suspension and a possible fine of up to $500 Canadian dollars.
Emna Dhahak, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation, told The Waterloo Region-Record that the legislation is “based on sound research and analysis.”
16-year-old Easton Page agreed with the law. “Mixing alcohol and young drivers doesn’t usually work out,” he said. “If you’re going to be behind the wheel you need to be completely in the right mind and focus on what you’re doing. You can’t have that taken away from you.”
Another young person felt that the law may single out young people. “I think that it’s a really good idea for people who are just learning to drive,” said Meghan Garber. “But I think it’s unfair how they target the younger people.”
Andy Murie, who is CEO of MADD Canada, offered that skeptics should check the numbers.
Those aged 16 to 24 represent 13 percent of the Canadian population, but account for 33 percent of DUI deaths. “They don’t just kill themselves,” said Murie. “They kill passengers, their friends, and they kill innocent people. They don’t get to choose when this is their performance.”
Accord to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the peak ages for DUI collisions are between 19 and 21.
It seems on the surface that there have been a lot of celebrity DUIs lately, whether you’re talking about Chris Klein, Lindsay Lohan, Motley Crue musician Vince Neil or any one of several stars from “The Hills.”
So what’s the deal with all of the celebrity DUI arrests? Fox411 digs into this question in a recent article. In it, they ask whether the uptick in offenses has to do with more celebrities breaking the law, or with law enforcement techniques that are busting more DUI offenders in general.
According to California DUI lawyer Neil Shouse, “There has been a prominent step up in law enforcement. A lot more people call in to report drunk drivers and there are a lot more DUI checkpoints. The California Highway Patrol has also become much more aggressive.”
Shouse also cited an increase in funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to curb DUI, which we have covered on the blog before.
A representative from the LAPD confirmed the increase in police presence working to curb drunk driving.
Despite the higher levels of prevention and enforcement, one would think that celebrities could afford to take cabs or get one of the members of their entourage to be the designated driver for the night. However, that’s not always the case.
One star, actor Kiefer Sutherland, turned down the opportunity to have a personal driver take him home on the night that he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
According to some, there are psychological forces at play when it comes to celebrities who are willing to risk driving while drunk.
DUI attorney Shouse told Fox411 that “stars often see themselves as having a sense of immunity and a very dangerous false sense of security.” New Jersey lawyer Darren Del Sardo suggested that celebrities might drink to escape the daily scrutiny that a modern life in the spotlight can entail.
Entertainment reporter Scott Huver offered a cynical attitude: “There is a breed of young star who, seeing the press that Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan generate from their legal problems, somehow believes any publicity is somehow good publicity.”
It is perhaps hard to imagine how the legal repercussions of a DUI could help a young performer’s career, but in a way that may be what the public finds so attractive about the Hollywood set, that being their unpredictability.