This year’s NFL season has seen its share of surprises, from the mysterious struggles of the star-laden Philadelphia Eagles, to the notable absence of publicity-hogging stars like Terrell Owens and Brett Favre.
No development, however, has been more shocking than the sudden success of the Buffalo Bills, a team that has spent most of the past two decades rotting at the bottom of the AFC.
Unfortunately, the Bills’ success has not had a completely positive impact in Buffalo, as drunken revelers celebrating the team’s wins have led to a recent wave of DUI arrests in the Buffalo area.
The scene was particularly hairy for law enforcement officers after a recent Bills win over the Philadelphia Eagles, who were preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl.
According to a recent report at Buffalonews.com, Erie County sheriff’s deputies and Orland Park police officers had a field day after the big win, pulling over dozens of drivers and arresting at least seven motorists for driving while intoxicated.
And the police reports suggest that these were not run-of-the-mill DUI arrests, as many drivers took their post-game celebration far too seriously.
Sources allege that, while driving away from the stadium, one woman rammed her car into a police barricade; a man side-swiped a sheriff’s deputy’s car with his own vehicle; and another driver struck a pedestrian before running over a picnic table in a stadium parking lot.
In addition to the drunk driving arrests, police also issued 71 speeding tickets after the game, and 40 other tickets for various traffic infractions ranging from seat belt violations to child restraining tickets.
These traffic arrests occurred after police made 23 arrests at the Bills’ stadium during the game, for offenses such as harassment, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.
While these events may portray a stark picture of the NFL game day landscape, it is inevitable that the gathering of tens of thousands of fans, many of whom are enjoying adult beverages, will lead to a few arrests.
In fact, many NFL stadiums even have their own small jails to hold offenders until the end of the game.
If you live in an NFL city and enjoy drinking on game day, remember to be smart when you’re headed home, as police officers love to target postgame celebrations.
Avoid the costs and hassle of a DUI case by taking a taxi, using public transportation, or calling a sober friend for a ride.
Quick: What do rocker-turned-actor Rick Springfield and rapper Flo Rida have in common? If you answered “an affinity for catchy music,” you would be partially correct.
But the most accurate answer is that both celebrities were recently arrested for driving under the influence. Their stories serve as warnings for other drivers that state authorities take drunk driving very seriously.
According to the vigilant celebrity-stalking website TMZ, Rick Springfield faces two misdemeanor DUI charges after an arrest this May in Malibu for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.
The rocker, famous for his hit single “Jessie’s Girl,” allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .10 after he was pulled over by Los Angeles County sheriffs. If accurate, this would be over the legal BAC limit of .08.
According to the police report, Springfield was less than a gentleman during the encounter, as he reportedly told cops that he would “kill you and your family” if they towed his car.
Springfield’s concerns about the car were somewhat understandable, as the vehicle in question was a 1963 Corvette Stingray that cost roughly $200,000.
The police took this threat in good spirits, as a department spokesperson admitted that it is “rare” for drunk driving suspects to not say something “outlandish” to police when they are arrested.
If he is convicted on the two misdemeanor DUI charges, Springfield faces a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
In other celebrity DUI news, rapper Flo Rida was also arrested this summer after police found him swerving across lanes at 3:30 in the morning in, of all places, Florida.
After police pulled him over, the rapper failed field sobriety tests, at one point asking the officers to try something else because he couldn’t do their prescribed tests.
He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and later he allegedly blew a .183 during his BAC test at the police station – more than double the legal limit. In addition, police found that he was driving with a suspended license.
Flo Rida, however, gets some credit for driving a more expensive car than his California celebrity counterpart. The rapper was driving a 2008 Bugatti, which is reportedly worth at least $1.7 million.
The lesson here is that swerving across traffic lanes in cars worth more than nice houses is likely to draw the attention of police.
Future wealthy celebrities would be well advised to use their ample funds to call a cab rather than run the risk of being caught behind the wheel with blood alcohol contents that mock the legal limit.
Law enforcement agencies often target holidays and popular party days as a time to step up DUI check points and DUI enforcement.
This was the case for the most recent Super Bowl Sunday, as cops stepped up their presences on the nation’s highways, hoping to cut down on DUI and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the more dangerous days to drive as a result of impaired driving. The administration notes that almost half of fatal accidents in that time period are a result of impaired drivers with a blood-alcohol content above .08. The NHTSA’s message on Super Bowl Sunday: “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”
The message may be working, as early reports show a relatively safe and quiet Super Bowl weekend.
In Oregon, there were 58 drivers arrested for DUI across the state on Super Bowl weekend. This figure is similar to numbers from last year around the same time, according to Oregon State Police.
There were 14 arrests in the Springfield area, 8 around Salem, and 7 each in Portland and Tualatin.
There were no fatal accidents in Oregon.
Even north of the border DUI patrols were heightened surrounding the Super Bowl. The Toronto Observer called it “one the largest RIDE blitzes in the city’s history.”
Despite the large effort, only three arrests were made for drinking and driving on Super Bowl weekend. Seven cars were towed in that time. The previous year, nine arrests were made for DUI.
Said Sergeant Jack West of the Super Bowl patrols: “We know that people are going to be celebrating and including alcoholic beverages. So knowing that, we want to go out there and keep the roads safe. This is all about saving lives.”
Las Vegas DUI
As some 300,000 people descended on Las Vegas for the big game, police stepped up their DUI patrols. These efforts resulted in 29 drunk driving arrests in the Las Vegas area. Most of these arrests came from traffic stops, and only three came after traffic accidents.
A South Dakota woman received a dubious honor in December when she doubled the state’s previous record for blood alcohol content during a recent DUI.
On Dec. 1 of last year, state troopers found Marguerite Engle passed out in the driver’s seat of a stolen van on the side of a highway.
Engle, 45, was found to have a shocking .708 blood-alcohol content percentage, about 25 percent higher than the highest BAC recorded in South Dakota history, according to a reportin the New York Daily News.
“The BAC is almost incomprehensible,” said Meade County State’s Attorney Jesse Sondreal. She said the previous record high for BAC in the state was .56. Drivers found with a BAC over .08 percent can be charged with a DUI in every state.
Somehow, Engle managed to survive with a BAC level that would have been fatal in most instances.
If a person drinks to the point where his or her BAC is .20, just over half of the legal limit for driving, the person could hurt could themselves and not feel any pain. Walking would also be a difficult task.
But if the person continues to drink to the point of reaching a .25 percent BAC, he or she is at a high risk from choking on vomit. Beyond that level lays a legitimate possibility of death by alcohol poisoning.
At a .35 percent BAC, it is as if the same person was given anesthesia for surgery. And if a person can actually reach .40 percent BAC, they are likely to become comatose. That level involves a high risk of respiratory arrest, which can lead to death.
Despite being hospitalized after she was found behind the van’s steering wheel, Engel was found again, less than a week later, asleep behind the wheel of another stolen on a different highway, according to the Daily News.
She was found on a highway near the hospital in Sturgis, South Dakota where she was treated after her record-setting night the previous week. The vehicle was in a ditch beside the road this time, according to the Daily News, and authorities are waiting on another blood test taken.
While Engel was released on bail for her first DUI charge, she missed a court date between her two charges. Once back in court later in December, a judge ordered her to be held in jail without any bail.
She was later charged with two counts of driving under the influence and could also face charges for grand theft auto, according to the Daily News.
Engel’s extreme drunkenness still doesn’t surpass the reigning champion of intense alcohol consumption, and driving. And being found asleep at the wheel.
That distinction still remains in the hands of then 42-year-old Terri Comer who was found unconscious in early 2008 behind the wheel of a running car stuck in a snow bank in rural Oregon.
Comer’s BAC at the time was .72. She was still alive when deputies found her.
Since 2007, DUI arrests for women has risen almost 30%. We see this increasing trend with many female celebrities who have been arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.
Heather Locklear was arrested back 2007 for suspicion of drinking and driving in Santa Barbara, Cali. A concerned driver on the road called the police stating Locklear was driving erratically on the road.
She plead no contest to DUI but pled guilty to a lesser charge of a misdemeanor of reckless driving. She paid a $700 fine and was sentenced to attend a 12 hour drug education program and placed on three years’ probation.
Lindsay Lohan received her DUI offense in 2007 as well. She pled no contest to driving under the influence and received three years probation. The judge also ordered her to serve 10 days community service, spend 30 days in drug rehab and complete an 18 month alcohol education program.
Her probation was recently extended as a Beverly Hills judge stated Lohan did not complete the required treatment programs because she filmed out of state. Her DUI attorney claims she can finish the required programs and feels they can overturn the extension.
Actress Joyce Dewitt was arrested in July of 2009 under a suspicion of a driving under the influence. She allegedly drove through a barricade attracting the local police department.
When they walked up to her car they could smell alcohol. They gave her the regulated field tests and afterward she was arrested. Dewitt was released after posting $5000 bail.
Is there a connection with female celebs and the increasing percentage of females being arrested for driving under the influence? Many might look up to these famous women and follow the trend. Or could it be the increasing pressure of the economic times as many women are strong in the workforce.
At this point there are many possibilities as to why this is on the rise with woman in the U.S., but it’s only speculation at this point.
Labor Day weekend is a time when families are to get together and celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall, the school year and the ever closing holiday season.
Unfortunately, some find themselves eye-to-eye with the law as they are charged with DUI.
Every region has their own collective of individuals who become part of this year’s statistics, and each in their own right is stunning in their toll.
For California’s Bay Area, this Labor Day weekend resulted in over 370 DUI arrests as the extended weekend began to close down, and it’s likely once the final statistics come in the number will increase. As for now, local law enforcement is proud to say they have rid the public’s travel ways of 370 potential disasters.
According to the story posted by San Francisco’s KTVU, “The weekend crackdown has led to the arrest of at least 371 individuals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, compared to 377 arrests during the same time period last year, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.”
As well, and a point worth mentioning is that the same report stated that there were no deaths in the Bay Area accredited to drunk driving so far this weekend. This compares to the two alcohol-related deaths during the same period in 2008.