Feb

21

Homeowner Critically Injured After DUI Driver Crashes into House

By Mike

A man with a history of driving under the influence of alcohol allegedly crashed his pickup truck unto a California condominium, causing serious injuries to a homeowner who remains in critical condition, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

According to Lt. Tom Albergo, a police officer in Escondido, California, a 23-year-old man who is believed to be responsible for the accident is currently under police custody on suspicion of drunk driving.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, apparently has a previous DUI conviction, which adds another layer of intrigue to a potentially tragic story.

The crash occurred around 7:30 p.m. last Thursday, after the unnamed man was driving eastbound on Country Club Lane in Escondido when his car suddenly leapt over a curb, struck an electric transformer, and crashed through the back patio of the condo.

A 14-year-old girl inside the condo miraculously suffered only minor injuries when the car drove into her house, but her father, who had been outside on the patio, was pinned under the pickup truck.

The girl’s father suffered critical injuries after being struck by the struck. Firefighters had to pull out him from the wreckage with special equipment, and they later transported him to a hospital where he is being treated for a broken leg, a concussion, and serious facial wounds.

At the time of the accident, two other family members were inside the home, and they are not reporting serious injuries.

For his actions, it is highly likely that the man who caused the accident will be charged with a felony DUI—and perhaps even worse if the injured father does not survive his injuries.

A felony DUI conviction carries very serious consequences, including a long sentence in prison and serious fines. Of course, it may also include a suspended license, although this would seem to be the least of the alleged DUI driver’s current concerns.

The driver’s previous DUI convictions also complicate his defense in court. Judges typically give stronger sentences to drivers who have had other convictions for drunk driving.

While first-time offenders aren’t usually treated with kid gloves, they do often receive lighter sentences than people who have already been hauled into court on suspicion of drunk driving.

So, while the man anxiously awaits word on the condition of the father that he struck, the court will determine how to handle his charges. How soon, exactly, should a man who engaged in such an irresponsible act be allowed to reenter society?

Aug

9

Brother of MLB Player Arrested After Alleged DUI Rampage

By Topher

A San Ramon, California, man is suspected of drunk driving and hit-and-run after police arrested him in the wake of what CBS 5 is calling a “drunken driving rampage.” The man, Cainan Schierholtz, is the brother of a pro baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, Nate Schierholtz.

Cainan Schierholtz was arrested on a recent Sunday morning, after, according to police, he hit a bicyclist, a pedestrian, a light pole and two cars.

The call came it at about 10 in the morning, with reports that a car was driving recklessly on Danville Boulevard, in Danville, California.

Then came the report that the driver allegedly hit a cyclist riding in a bike lane on the same road. Schierholtz allegedly did not stop, though, continuing down the road. Soon after that he allegedly hit a pedestrian who was standing in the bike lane.

Again, he didn’t stop to offer assistance or acknowledge either of the accidents. Instead, he allegedly continued driving, then swerved into traffic and hit a pickup truck. Not done yet, police said that he kept on driving still, until he veered up onto the sidewalk and rammed into a light pole, which fell to the ground.

Even after all of that, Schierholtz still kept driving, according to police. He rear-ended a sport utility vehicle, and then drove down a dead-end street.

The driver of the pick-up truck who had been previously hit followed Schierholtz, and then used his truck to pin him into the dead-end street so that he couldn’t get away.

According to a witness, the suspect’s airbags had deployed, so that he was awkwardly pinned in the car. And yet, despite even that, he was still driving.

Eventually Schierholtz realized he couldn’t get past the makeshift blockade, and he stopped in front of the pickup truck. The truck’s driver and several other bystanders pulled the suspect out of his car and restrained him until the police got there.

Schierholtz was booked on suspicion of four counts of DUI causing bodily harm, three counts of hit-and-run causing injury, two counts of hit-and-run causing property damage, and driving without a license, according to CBS. He was held on $350,000 bail.

May

31

DUI Suspects Wreck Police Property

By Topher

In the history of DUI arrests, all manner of property has been damaged, from cars and houses, to fast food restaurants and burger joints. Drunk drivers have been discovered driving Barbie cars, lawnmowers and even a motorized recliner.

The least advisable piece of property to damage, though, would seem to be that of the police, especially if you are driving drunk or impaired. Two suspects this week, however, seemed to have disregarded this simple idea, and these DUI stories out of Pennsylvania and Florida prove that nothing should be a surprise when it comes to drunk driving.

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Lebanon Daily News is reporting that Eric Verbin of the town of Bath was stopped by a police officer on a bicycle while he was driving his car.

Rather than submitting himself to the terms of the traffic stop, Verbin ran over the officer’s bicycle, then fled the police officer.

The chase did not last long, as Verbin soon crashed his car and the pursuit was over. It turned out that he allegedly had prescription medication in the car with him. Verbin was charged with DUI and fleeing the police in the traffic stop.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a man from Gainesville faces DUI charges after he allegedly smashed his car in a parking lot, according to a report from News 4 in Jacksonville. Adding to the man’s problems? The parking lot was for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

It was early on a Sunday morning when police say Michael Giermanski crashed into a sign in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office substation. Also damaged in the ill-advised accident was a palm tree and some shrubbery.

There was a Putnam County deputy in the parking lot at the time that Giermanski crashed onto the scene. That deputy saw the whole thing happen, and was able to provide medical assistance to the driver until the paramedics got to the scene.

Giermanski’s injuries are reportedly minor. He was charged with DUI with property damage, and careless driving.

May

24

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for DUI in Death of State Senator

By Topher

In October of 2008, Pennsylvania state senator James J. Rhoades was driving down the highway when a car swerved in front of him. The two cars collided, and the injuries that Rhoades sustained proved fatal. He died the next morning.

The driver of the car that swerved in front of him was Thomas P. Senavitis, of Kunkletown. Senavitis was sentenced recently, having been found guilty of blood-alcohol content of .16 or higher and four counts of recklessly endangering another person.

For these offenses, he was charged with 200 days to 23 months in jail, according to an article in the Republican Herald. Having served that time while awaiting sentencing, Senavitis was immediately released from prison and paroled.

Senavitis did not offer many words about the case, or his sentence and release from jail. When he was asked how he felt about it, he replied, “I’m not sure yet.” With him was his wife, Dolores.

Asked what he was going to do next, Monroe County Chief Public Defender Wieslaw T. Niemoczynski said, “He’s going to check into the parole office and then go on with the rest of his life.” The parole period could last as long as 23 months.

The trial took four days in mid-March. A jury found Senavitis guilty of the charges, but did not find him guilty of felony vehicular homicide and aggravated assault, which are far more serious charges.

Senavitis must also pay a $1,000 fine, complete a drug and alcohol treatment program and have his driver’s license revoked for one year.

James J. Rhoades was a Republican from Mahanoy City, who began serving in office in 1980.

The 66-year-old had served seven terms in the Pennsylvania senate. He was actively involved in education initiatives, and had also been a teacher, a coach and a school principal before entering into public service. He was the longtime chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

He had been on his way to a function at a local high school at the time of the accident. His wife survived the accident, though she suffered major injuries.

May

21

DUI Crash by Pregnant Driver Leads to Additional Charges

By Topher

A Georgia woman who refused to stop her vehicle for police and subsequently got into a car crash will likely face charges after the death of the fetus that she was carrying.

According to an article from ABC News, Jessica Bruce was fleeing police in her car when she hit another vehicle, spun around into oncoming traffic, and then got hit by another vehicle. The accident killed the fetus that she was carrying, according to police.

The initial traffic stop was for speeding. Investigators said that Bruce was traveling about 85 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone outside of Atlanta, in the suburbs. Bruce had to be cut out of the wreckage before she could be taken to the hospital. Another person involved in the crash was also taken to the hospital.

An autopsy was performed on the fetus, which authorities are awaiting the results on. That autopsy will theoretically determine if the fetus’ death was the result of the accident.

A toxicology test was also given to Bruce. Police believe that Bruce was drunk at the time of the incident, though the result of the tests will determine how prosecutors will proceed.

Douglas County District Attorney David McDade told ABC that the early information suggests that Bruce will likely face “feticide by vehicle” charges. “The preliminary investigation leads us to believe she was under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “She was fleeing police at a high rate of speed and driving dangerously.”

The vehicular feticide charge carries a 15-year prison sentence, according to ABC News.
According to McDade, the age of the child is not relevant under Georgia law, as long as it was alive just before the incident. “There will almost certainly be criminal responsibility,” he said.
Bruce won’t be charged until she leaves the hospital, according to McDade.

Twenty-four states have the “fetus as victim” written into laws that relate to DUI cases. Some states have laws that vary based on the age of the fetus. Some states have penalties starting at 7–12 weeks, while five states have laws saying that a 16-18-week-old fetus can get someone a full-blown murder charge. Three other states call 28 weeks that cut-off point.

Mar

20

Illinois Woman Gets 3 Year Sentence for DUI Crash

By Mary Ann

An Alton, Illinois woman was sentenced to 3 years in prison for driving her pickup truck into four children walking to school last year.

Accidents involving drinking and driving and children occur far too often all around the United States. In this case, Crystal Bourland pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated driving under the influence (DUI). Another count of DUI and an unrelated forgery charge were dropped. Bourland has a record of convictions dating back to 1988, including drug possession and prostitution.

Four children were injured when Bourland slammed into a group of kids while looking for her dropped cellphone. One boy suffered a head injury and compound fractures of both legs.

Bourland was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. She was taken to hospital where blood and urine samples were taken. As part of her plea, Bourland admitted she had been under the influence of cocaine at the time of the accident.