Dec

29

Montana Man Jailed for Fourth DUI After Fight With Police

By Mike

A recent DUI arrest in Missoula, Montana, spun out of control when the driver began attacking local police, who responded to the abuse by tasing the man twice and hauling him off to jail after his fourth DUI arrest.

Police arrested 40-year-old Roy Vincent Adams on suspicion of drunk driving after they perceived that his car driving erratically, according to a recent report from The Missoulian.

Sources indicate that, immediately before the arrest, police noticed Adams gunning his engine on slick, icy roads, which caused his car to swerve wildly and almost led him to crash his vehicle directly into a police cruiser.

When police officers, who were trailing Adams, turned on their lights, Adams attempted to flee by speeding in an opposite direction. His efforts, however, were to no avail, as Adams simply ran his truck into a curb.

According to the police report filed after the incident, Adams left his car after being pulled over and started pacing back and forth, in what police deemed a threatening and erratic manner.

When Adams allegedly ignored an officer’s demand to sit on the curb, the arresting officers grabbed Adams and a fight ensued. Adams allegedly struck one officer in the chest, and was able to continue fighting even after the police tased him twice.

The police report also indicates that Adams continued screaming obscenities at police officers after he was handcuffed and incapacitated. Sources say that Adams, who has been held in a local jail on a $15,000 bail, has been convicted three times before on DUI charges.

Adams is facing a litany of charges, including felony DUI, assault, resisting arrest and attacking a police officer, and reckless driving.

Interestingly, police were able to obtain a blood sample from Adams via a mandatory blood test, rather than a breath test, which Adams refused to give.

The administration of “no refusal” blood tests has recently gained traction in several states, as police officers have looked for an alternative method of determining a suspect’s blood alcohol level when the driver refuses to give a breath test.

The use of the blood test has drawn the ire of civil rights attorneys who criticize law enforcement officials for using the remarkably invasive method of drawing blood from noncompliant suspects.

In the absence of a less-invasive blood alcohol testing method, however, it seems that police will continue to rely on mandatory blood tests when DUI suspects refuse to breath into breathalyzer devices.

Of course, as technology continues to grow at an exponential pace, there may soon be a DUI testing method that allows police to determine a suspect’s blood alcohol level without touching him or her at all.

This method, though, will raise new concerns about privacy, as police could theoretically administer such a non-invasive test to everyone, regardless of their level of suspicion.

These issues serve to highlight an inescapable reality of modern DUI law: as technology continues to give police more enforcement options, defendants will keep arguing that the new tactics give police too much control over civilian drivers.

Dec

6

DUI Arrest Leads to Discovery of Dead Body

By Mike

In a shocking turn of events for unsuspecting traffic police, a recent DUI arrest led to the discovery of a dead body in South Carolina.

According to WMBF News in South Carolina, 28-year-old Christopher Heck was pulled over by police on the night before Thanksgiving when the officers suspected that Heck was driving under the influence of alcohol.

When they pulled Heck over, the arresting officers suspected he was hiding something, so they searched his car. The search yielded surprising results, as the police discovered several stolen items and an ID card that belonged to 47-year-old Charlotte Altman.

In response to this discovery, local investigators went to Altman’s home to ask about the stolen items and missing ID. When they arrived at the home, they found signs of a break-in, so they searched the house.

To their shock, investigators found Altman’s dead body on the kitchen floor. Initial findings suggested that Altman had been fatally stabbed in the neck.

Sources indicate that Altman did not live in the home permanently, but that she sometimes visited on the weekends to do cleaning and regular maintenance, and that she may have been planning to eventually move into the home.

In recent weeks, Heck had been staying with his grandmother in her house in Manning, South Carolina. His grandmother’s house was located next door to Altman’s home.

Investigators believe that Altman and Heck did not know each other, but that they were aware of each other’s presence next door. Police believe that Heck probably knew that she was only in the home during weekends.

Officers theorized that Heck broke into the home believing that Altman was out of town and, when he discovered her during the break-in, panicked and stabbed her in the neck.

In addition to his potential conviction on charges of a felony DUI and murder, Heck is also being investigated for the commission of two other burglaries in the area. Police are conducting a thorough investigation, though, before they bring formal charges.

According to Clarendon County Sheriff’s Captain Kipp Coker, the police are “crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s and making sure we’re following up on things we are getting through the investigation.”

While the situation may seem extremely rare, it is surprising what criminals will do after committing a heinous crime. In many cases, such criminals are in an extremely agitated state of mind, and are simply not thinking clearly.

So, in this case, if Heck really did commit the murder, it’s little surprise that he was inebriated and not thinking clearly at the time of his DUI arrest.

If, indeed, Heck is found to be guilty, South Carolina police will consider themselves fortunate to have discovered the suspect so quickly after the crime. Without the discovery of stolen items during the DUI arrest, Heck may have eluded police for a much longer time.

Nov

22

Teenager Fears Prison After Fatal DUI Crash

By Mike

Teenagers, alcohol, and late-night driving are a recipe for disaster, as was recently shown in a tragic DUI-related accident that recently occurred in northern California.

According to the San Mateo County Times, Sean Quintero, a 19-year-old resident of San Francisco who had been drinking and partying on that fatal night, was involved in a serious car accident that killed one of the passengers in his car.

Sources indicate that the teenager was driving along Highway 101 towards the southern part of San Francisco with a blood alcohol content of .16, which is twice the legal limit of .08 for adults over the age of 21.

Apparently, Quintero was driving home from a party and loudly discussing music with the four passengers in his car when he failed to notice that traffic ahead had come to a stop. The traffic had stopped because of an unrelated car collision minutes before the Quintero accident.

Tragically, Quintero noticed the stopped cars too late, and rammed his Toyota, which was his mother’s car, into the back of another vehicle.

When the accident occurred, Quintero’s friend, 17-year-old Margaret Qaqish was pressed against her seatbelt and suffered severe internal injuries. The force of the accident was so powerful that she suffered fatal damage to her internal organs.

Qaqish, who was a senior at a San Francisco high school, had been sitting in the rear middle seat of the car, so she may have also struck the back of another seat or another person. Fortunately, though, the other three passengers in the car were not seriously injured.

The accident occurred around 3:20 a.m. and all the occupants of the car had allegedly been drinking that night. Quintero, to his credit, has expressed serious remorse for the tragic accident, according to his DUI attorney.

Quintero has accepted responsibility for his actions, as he recently pleaded no contest to charges of drunk driving and causing a crash with a fatality.

The felony charges could put Quintero in prison for up to four years and four months, though his sentence will not be determined by a local judge until this January. Until then, Quintero will have to await news of his fate.

In addition to the possible prison sentence, the teenager could also face severe financial penalties. He is currently being held in jail on a 325,000 bond.

Historically, young males have disproportionately higher rates of drunk driving accidents. And DUI accidents tend to be more dangerous as the drivers grow younger and more intoxicated.

For teenagers who are out drinking and do not want to alarm their parents, there are still plenty of ways to get home without endangering friends or other drivers.

For example, public transportation, including buses or trains, and taxis offer safe, reliable ways to get home.

Nov

7

School Bus Driver Sentenced to Prison for Drunk Driving

By Mike

Parents in a small Pennsylvania town felt justice was served this week when a school bus driver was sentenced to several months in prison for driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to PhillyBurbs.com, 45-year-old Kim Townsend was given a prison sentence that could last between four and 23 months.

In addition, the resident of Bensalem, Pennsylvania lost her driver’s license, must pay a fine of $1,000, and must complete 100 hours of community service.

Sources indicate that Townsend had been arrested after an incident in which she ran her school bus into a small car after dropping off a load of children.

When police arrived on the scene, they administered a breathalyzer test, and discovered that her blood alcohol level was .19, well above the legal limit for school bus drivers, which is .02, and also above the legal limit of .08 for other drivers.

After being confronted by police, Townsend admitted to drinking vodka before her shift, and expressed regret that she had endangered her young passengers by drinking before she drove.

Fortunately, though, when Townsend was involved in the accident, all 22 of the children who had been traveling in her bus had already been dropped off at their homes.

Nevertheless, a judge in Bucks County Circuit Court chastised Townsend during her sentencing, saying that it was a matter of “extreme seriousness,” and that the community should be “outraged” by Townsend’s actions.

The judge also reminded Townsend that if the accident had injured any of the children, she would be facing much more serious consequences, including a significantly longer prison sentence.

After the accident, Townsend, who had driving school buses in the district for more than 11 years, immediately resigned from her job, and apologized to the parents whose children she had endangered.

In court this week, Townsend admitted that she had “betrayed the trust” of her students and their families, and she promised that it “will never happen again.”

Of course, the odds of Townsend being re-admitted to the ranks of school bus drivers after her DUI arrest are very slim, so she may not have the opportunity to actively fulfill her promise.

At trial, a number of community members came to support Townsend, and her attorney recognized that the incident may eventually prove beneficial for the school bus driver, who will also seek counseling for her substance abuse problems while serving her jail sentence.

And, despite the outrage expressed by the judge, community members did not show up in droves to castigate the defendant. Even though prosecutors asked the parents of the children in Townsend’s bus to come support their case, no parents actually came to the trial.

It seems the community did not feel the need to further punish Townsend, whose record had been completely clear before the recent charges of drunk driving, child endangerment, and careless driving.

Nov

3

Driver Sentenced to 25 Years for DUI Hit and Run

By Mike

In a sobering reminder that drunk driving often has severe consequences, a 46-year-old woman in South Carolina was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison after killing a pedestrian in a hit-and-run DUI accident.

According to The Herald, Dianne Alice Webster, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, was convicted on charges of a felony DUI with a death, leaving the scene of an accident with death and committing a hit-and-run violation with injury.

Sources indicate that Webster struck Lorenzo Hemphill and his brother, Antwan, as the two were walking down a well-traveled street in Rock Hill at roughly 9:30 p.m. Antwan died an hour after the accident, while Lorenzo suffered only minor injuries.

After hitting the two brothers, Webster allegedly sped off down the street, and ran into a building, before she recovered and was eventually pulled over for speeding by police.

When she was arrested, Webster failed to perform standard field sobriety tests. And, though her blood alcohol content was measured at .0013, which is below the legal limit of .08, she tested positive for high levels of the prescription drug Xanax.

Whatever was in her system, Webster was clearly impaired. In interviews with police after the accident, she denied that she hit any pedestrians, and also failed to remember any of the places she had been that night.

To make matters worse, Webster claimed that she did not know whose truck she was driving, and she insisted that the date was Tuesday when it was actually Saturday.

The judge, however, took some pity on Webster, and only sentenced her to 25 years for her felony DUI, when the maximum punishment could have been extended to 51 years. The judge expressed a desire for Webster to seek treatment for her addition problems in prison.

At trial, Webster’s case was also strengthened by the testimony of a number of friends, who said that Webster suffered from serious psychological and addiction issues, and had been emotionally destroyed after learning of Hemphill’s death.

The relatively lenient sentence may have disappointed the Hemphill family, who observed that Webster had displayed a pattern of dangerous driving throughout her entire life.

Sources indicate that Webster had been charged with a DUI three times before, and had been charged with driving with a suspended license four times in an eight-year span.

This tragedy raises a few key issues about DUI arrests. First, many people who are arrested for a DUI are not necessarily drunk. Abuse of prescription drugs or illegal narcotics is also a common cause of arrests for driving under the influence.

In addition, the potential consequences of a felony DUI are significantly higher than those for a DUI that is lowered to a misdemeanor.

Of course, in cases where there is a fatality, or where the driver leaves the scene of an accident, the odds are high that a driver will be subject to larger penalties.