Librarians, particularly older and more established ones, don’t seem like the most likely culprits for a DUI arrest. A recent DUI incident in New York City, however, challenges this unfair assumption, and serves as a reminder that drunk driving is not solely an activity for the young and foolish.
According to the New York Post, Dr. Anthony Marx, the president of the New York Public Library system, was recently arrested after running his car in reverse into a sanitation truck.
Sources indicate that Marx put his 2009 Audi A4, which is registered to the library, into reverse in order to avoid a roadblock that was needed to block cars from the route of this year’s New York City Marathon.
The 52-year-old librarian narrowly avoided one truck before striking the truck that got him into trouble. The accident occurred in East Harlem around mid-afternoon.
When police officers arrived at the scene, they smelled alcohol and suspected that Marx was not sober, and administered a blood alcohol test. When he took the test, which was given about an hour after his arrest, Marx blew a .19, which is twice the legal limit of .08.
In a statement released to local media outlets, Marx was very contrite, saying that he deeply regretted “embarrassment caused to my family and to the New York Public Library.”
After his arrest, Marx was charged with an aggravated DWI (in some states, “driving while intoxicated” replaces the more common charge of “driving under the influence”) and was released without bail following a court appearance.
Sources indicate that the driver of the sanitation truck that Marx hit was able and willing to offer testimony, and he shared his story with the New York Post after the accident.
The driver, sanitation worker Franklin Hernandez, says that he jumped out of his truck after it was hit, placed his hands in front of Marx, and demanded that he stop moving. This plea apparently convinced Marx to stay in place.
Shortly after the accident, police officers who were providing security for the marathon arrived at the scene. Franklin claims that they were there only minutes after the accident.
According to Franklin, Marx had to remain handcuffed in his car for up to an hour, as police had no route out of the street until the marathon was over. Once it was over, they took Marx to the precinct headquarters and administered the blood alcohol test.
This incident offers a valuable lesson about the dangers of drunk driving. DUI arrests can strike anyone, regardless of their age or social position.
DUI arrests may be a misdemeanor or a felony, and they sometimes result in jail time, lost licenses, or hefty fines. Factors that judges consider when delivering punishments for DUI offenders include prior driving history and past alcohol-related arrests.
Last year, New York state saw about 12,000 DUI-related deaths, according to local CBS news.
As a result, the state has recently enacted strict new DUI laws to help decrease the number of fatal accidents. State Governor David Patterson signed the Child Passenger Protection Act, which outlines some of the toughest DUI laws in the country – according to the governor.
Patterson hopes it will help provide police officers with the tools they need to better prosecute DUI offenders.
The Child Passenger Protection Act is also referred to as Leandra’s Law, for an 11-year-old girl named Leandra Rosado who was killed as a passenger in a drunk driving accident.
Leandra was in a car with a friend’s drunk mother, Carmen Huertas, behind the wheel. Huertas caused a car accident, causing the car to flip. Leandra was flung from the vehicle, and later died from head and chest injuries. All other passengers survived the accident.
According to a local CBS report, Huertas was charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, DUI and assault.
Under Leandra’s Law, anyone driving a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol while a child under 16 is a passenger can be charged with a felony, and may serve up to four years in jail if convicted – even if it is a first DUI offense.
Drunk drivers who cause serious injuries to a child could be charged with a Class C felony – punishable with up to 15 years in prison.
If a child dies as a result of drunk driving, the offender can be charged with a Class B felony and spend up to 25 years in prison.
In addition to increased DUI penalties, parents caught driving under the influence will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
Leandra’s Law also makes it mandatory for any convicted drunk driver to have an ignition interlock device in their car.
Interlock devices require the driver to breathe into them before the vehicle will start. If any alcohol is detected in the breath test, the car will not start.
These new laws are meant to curb all future DUI fatalities – not just those of children. Hopefully drivers will think twice before getting behind the wheel after one too many drinks.
A woman in Centereach, New York killed her fiancé while he was trying to protect her from drunk driving.
Newsday reports that a witness heard Louis Weiderer tell Jesenia Vega she was going to get arrested if she tried to drive in her condition. Weiderer was leaning in the car’s window arguing with her.
After she screamed at him to leave her alone, she slammed on the accelerator, dragging Weiderer to his death.
Vega was arrested and charged with DUI (DWI in New York). She is likely to be charged with some form of manslaughter.
John D. Goodale sat in the Oswego County, New York jail for seven months following his fifth DUI arrest. The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that he was finally released because no action had been taken in his case.
Goodale had waived his right to a speedy trial while his attorney negotiated to get Goodale into Oswego County Drug Court. When Goodale was not allowed into Drug Court, he revoked his waiver of speedy DUI trial.
The Post-Standard says the District Attorney complained that the judge seemed to think Goodale’s was the only case the District Attorney’s Office had. Due to limited resources, the DA simply had not been able to bring the case to trial.
The U.S Constitution demands a speedy trial for all accused of a crime, period. Lacking resources is not an excuse for the DA to deprive a defendant of his constitutional rights.
A Connecticut driver was arrested in Westchester County, New York for DUI when he happened upon a police investigation into two auto accidents. According to the Journal News, police officers were investigating an accident where Matthew Siden had lost control of his car and crashed, ejecting his passenger.
While Siden was checking on his passenger, an Audi plowed into his car. Siden was charged with DUI and released. The driver of the Audi was not arrested.
Meanwhile, here comes Claudio O. Tacuri-Arpi. Tacuri-Arpi was arrested and charged with DUI, driving without a license and failing to obey a traffic device.
This was his second DUI-related arrest in less than 60 days.
The New York Supreme Court threw out a driver’s conviction for DUI caused by “huffing.” According to the New York Daily News, the Court said gaps in New York’s DUI laws prevent the defendant from being charged with DUI for an accident that caused the death of a teenager.
Huffing is inhaling chemicals given off by glue, aerosols, and other substances. The chemicals replace oxygen in a user’s lungs and act as a stimulant.
The Court said New York’s 1910 DUI law, called Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York, does not define “intoxication.”
Courts, today, rely on a 1919 appellate court ruling that said “one is intoxicated when he has imbibed enough liquor to render him incapable of giving that attention and care to the operation of his automobile that a man of prudence and reasonable intelligence would give.” The Court indicated it would be up to the Legislature to address huffing and other new ways of getting high.
In this case, Vincent Litto was also charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault and other charges. The Daily News did not indicate whether the criminal charges against Litto will go ahead.
New York lawmakers reached a deal with Governor Eliot Spitzer to pass tougher penalties for drivers convicted of DUI causing a death. Called “Katie’s Law,” the new law would create the crime of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The new DUI law would carry a sentence of at least 1 year in prison and a maximum of 25 years when a driver is convicted of DUI causing a death and one of these other factors: a second death or serious injury, a prior DUI (DWI in New York) conviction, a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent or higher, or driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Currently, a driver who has caused a death while DUI can only be charged with second-degree manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
The increase from a maximum of 15 years to 25 years is not likely to prevent a severally intoxicated person from DUI.
A 15-year-old-boy was arrested for DUI in Brewster, NY. The youth, whose name has not been released, was pulled over for driving erratically.
He has been charged with DUI and refusing to submit to a . The boy and his passenger were taken to the Brewster police station and his father was called to come pick him up.
A Brewster police sergeant said: “unfortunately it seems to be a somewhat disturbing trend that more and more juveniles are not only engaging in this misbehavior, but then furthering the danger of it by going out and driving.”
A Syracuse, New York man was sentence to 20 years to life in prison following his seventh DUI conviction.
Ronald Daggett was convicted, most recently, of riding a motorcycle drunk and impaired by drugs. In 1982, Daggett killed a man in a DUI incident.
After his sixth DUI conviction in 1999, Onondaga Judge Joseph Fahey warned Daggett that he could face a life sentence if he got into trouble again. He then sent Daggett to prison for two to six years for a DUI offense and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Daggett was released in 2003. The Judge also suggested whoever issued Daggett a license following his release from prison should be standing in court alongside Daggett.
Actor Rip Torn has asked for a trial before a judge on his DUI charge in North Salem, New York.
Torn’s strategy is unusual. Most DUI defendants going to trial demand a jury.
The 76-year-old actor was arrested after he lost control of his sedan and struck a tractor-trailer. Torn was acquitted of DUI in 2004 after jurors decided that the prosecutor had not proven he had been drinking before a fender-bender with a taxi. Police videotape had shown Torn arguing with police officers and refusing a sobriety test, claiming he was angry, not drunk.
Torn’s screen credits include the Men in Black movies and The Larry Sanders Show.
Following the lead of other states, legislators in New York’s heartland are seeking to allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a driver’s license upon arrest for DUI. Legislators point to a New York man who was charged with his fourth DUI (DWI in New York) in December. The driver managed to get a restricted driver’s license from a judge after his second arrest and a conditional license from the DMV after his third arrest. Under the new proposal, police would have the authority to automatic suspend a driver’s license following a DUI arrest. A driver with a pending DUI could not apply for a conditional license.
New York has attempted to toughen its DUI laws by increasing penalties for multiple DUI convictions and creating a charge of Aggravated DWI for drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18 percent. (Due to a typo, the Aggravated DWI is yet to be enforced). Legislators say more needs to be done to combat DUI.
In the case of the driver cited above, he was charged with DUI January 29 in Pittsfield, April 27 in Morris, May 6 in Laurens and Dec. 22 in Morris. Because he has no DUI convictions he cannot be considered a repeat DUI offender. His driver’s license was finally revoked following his refusal to take a breath test after his last arrest.
New York State law identifies Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated as driving with 0.18 grams of alcohol in your blood, an amount below the naturally occurring alcohol content in the human body. In a last minute legislative typo, the New York legislature inserted 0.18 grams in place in of 0.18 percent BAC into a law increasing penalties for aggravated DWI.
Prosecutors in New York counties have declared that because, as written, the statute is not prosecutable, they will not enforce the new law until the typo is corrected. They will still enforce New York’s DWI law which has the nationally recognized DUI limit of 0.08 percent BAC.