Residents of the large southern state claim that everything is bigger in Texas. A grisly recent story suggests that this adage applies to the magnitude of DUI incidents, as well.
After bizarre incident, a Texas man has been accused of striking a pedestrian on a Houston freeway, then failing to recognize that the victim had crashed through the passenger-side window.
According to sources, the victim of the accident, a 32-year-old man, had broken down on the side of Interstate 45 and was running back and forth across the highway seeking help.
At some point, James John Onak approached in his black Mazda and allegedly struck the man. The force of the impact sent the man flying through Onak’s windshield, killing him instantly.
The death of the pedestrian is certainly tragic by itself, but the police report reveals a truly bizarre ending to the tale.
After the impact, Onak continued driving down the highway until he was pulled over by local police two miles down the road after the police saw severe damage to the front end of Onak’s car.
When the officers discovered the man’s body in Onak’s car, the driver simply stated that he had hit something earlier but did not recall what it was. The police claim that Onak did not recognize the presence of the dead body in his car until he left the vehicle.
One of the officers on the scene, using a keen intuitive sense, detected that Onak might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drug.
After performing a mandatory blood draw, the police later charged Onak with driving while intoxicated, also known as a DWI arrest.
Onak was also charged with a felony for failing to stop and render aid, as well as a felony for causing an accident involving injury.
If he is convicted on all the charges, Onak could spend two to 10 years in prison. Sources also anticipate that Onak could face more charges as the police continue to investigate the bizarre accident.
While the story suggests that Onak could spend a significant amount of time behind bars, one Houston police officer warns that is conceivable that Onak simply did not see the man enter his vehicle through the windshield.
This is unlikely, but Onak’s alleged failure to witness the man’s death could provide him a strong defense.
Onak’s fate will likely not be determined for at least a few months, but his legacy has already been solidified in the minds of the officers who responded to the scene.
Justin Blackmon, a sophomore receiver on the Oklahoma State football team, was arrested under suspicion of DUI this week, after he was pulled over on the interstate around Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Blackmon announced an apology following the announcement of his DUI arrest. He apologized to his family and friends, and to the school, according to NewsOK.
“I made a mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. I look forward to redeeming myself. This isn’t who I am.”
Blackmon has been suspended for a game by head football Mike Gundy, the match-up between Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
“In our opinion, what he did deserves a suspension for this game,” said Gundy. “It was very easy for us. That’s a decision he made, and he has to suffer the consequences.”
Blackmon was stopped after being clocked driving 92 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone on Interstate 35. He was subsequently arrested for suspicion of DUI.
Blackmon didn’t have to speak to the press so soon after his arrest. However, he appeared at a press conference less than 48 hours. When asked why, he told the press, “to prove I’m not that guy and own up to my mistakes. I did it, and I should be punished for it.”
“6:51,” replied Coach Gundy about when he heard about the DUI arrest, referring to how early in the morning he got the call. “Usually when I get a call that early in the morning it’s not good.” Gundy also said that Blackmon was “a caring person who made a mistake.”
Several other OSU football players were in the car with Blackmon, though no other students have been punished by the football program for anything that occurred that night.
Blackmon has been tagged for speeding in the past, once for driving 20 to 25 miles per hour over the limit, and another time for driving 93 in a 70 mile per hour zone.
The legal investigation is still under way, so Blackmon didn’t answer any specific questions about the case.
According to Texas DUI law, a police officer doesn’t have to place a minor into custody for the Class C misdemeanor DUI.
John Patrick Barton was convicted of DUI three times in the last 13 years. The Texas courts sent him to jail on weekends, put him on probation and even sent him to state prison for ten months. They required him even to use an ignition interlock system while driving a car.
None of these measures prevented Barton from killing two members of a young family when he got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated and proceeded to rear end their vehicle.
Barton drove his wife’s Mazda into the family’s car, it went into a spin that would leave Kandace Hull, 33, and her 13-year-old daughter Autumn Caudle dead. All five members of Hull’s family were in the car. Her husband, daughter and son were injured but survived the crash, reports the Dallas Morning News.
“It’s just kind of like somebody put a concrete block on your chest and you don’t know what to do,” said Linda Agee, a friend of the family.
A witness to the event estimated that Barton was traveling 80 miles per hour when he passed her on the highway. “He was swerving in and out of the lanes, and I thought to myself that this guy was definitely drunk,” said Laura Meade. She would see the crash happen soon after, when Barton apparently swerved to avoid the HOV lane.
Barton worked as a computer technician. He was paroled in 2009 after serving ten months out of a 3-year sentence in prison for DWI.
The results of the blood-alcohol test on Barton will not be available immediately, according to officials.
Barton’s previous record with DWI convictions raise the charges in the case to the level of felony. And because the crime that he allegedly committed was clearly dangerous to human life, officials are able to pursue the murder charges.
If convicted of the charges, Barton faces life in prison. His license was, however, still valid at the time of the deadly accident.
Friends and coworkers describe the Hull family as tight knit, and involved in sports and activities around the community.
Barton was also hospitalized, but his injuries were not as serious, and he will soon be transferred to a Texas jail.
Widely criticized Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson faced a DUI arrest over the weekend, despite the fact that he wasn’t driving. Of course, you don’t have to be driving a car to be arrested for DUI—usually operating any kind of motorized vehicle under the influence will do the trick.
While out boating with friends in his home state of Texas, Benson’s watercraft was stopped for a safety check by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Benson’s DUI arrest had an unusual level of drama for a DUI stop, due to the fact that he was reportedly attacked with pepper spray and roughed up a bit after allegedly resisting arrest. Benson claims that others on his boat were drinking, but that he was not, and was not drunk at the time of his arrest.
Benson was charged with resisting arrest and drunken boating. He’ll get his chance to defend his DUI offense; there is no word on how the arrest will affect Benson’s status with his employers, the Chicago Bears.
While DUI penalties vary from state to state, it is important to know that they most often increase after a first conviction.
Some states have DUI laws in which multiple convictions can lead to longer driver’s license suspensions, prison sentences or time spent with ignition interlock devices installed in vehicles, as just a couple of examples.
This point about increased DUI penalties for multiple convictions is especially clear in the recent case of a 53-year-old Texas man, who may now spend the rest of his living years in prison following his tenth DWI conviction:
• Texas Man Convicted of 10th DWI May Die Behind Bars.
If you’re facing a DUI charge and are worried about possible penalties and prison time, don’t wait any longer to get in touch with a DUI lawyer.
A Texas man who has been caught DUI eight times in the last 20 years has apparently not understood the lesson about the dangers of drunk driving, but he will have plenty of time to think it over.
Wendel Klotz was recently sentenced to a 70-year prison sentence (with the first 30 years carrying no chance for his parole) after he was arrested for the use of a deadly weapon while driving drunk.
Klotz has refused alcoholism treatment several times in the past; thus prompting the Texas county in which he was convicted to abandon its philosophy of treatment over imprisonment at least in this case.
Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before finding Elena White, the daughter of Houston Texas Mayor Bill White, not guilty of DUI. A constable, who had been on the force for about two months when he arrested White, testified she smelled of alcohol, slurred her speech, stumbled, and failed sobriety tests. White refused to take a breathalyzer test.
The constable testified that he had made mistakes when he recorded the DUI sobriety tests, filled out his arrest report, and administered initial field sobriety tests. He testified that he did not give properly give White the standard eye movement test. While prosecutors admitted that mistakes were made, they still pushed the argument that White smelled of alcohol and was intoxicated.
If found guilty of DUI, White had faced up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
Houston Mayor Bill White’s daughter Elena went on trial today on misdemeanor DUI charges. The 17 year old was arrested for DUI in Harris County Texas after a constable observed her driving with her headlights off and weaving in traffic. Authorities say she refused to take a breathalyzer test.
The girl’s mother said she viewed police videotapes of her daughter after she was stopped and did not believe she appeared intoxicated. Her father said her arrest was a misunderstanding. He has said Elena is not a party animal and her grades and conduct outside of school show that.
A former Texas judge and prosecutor pled guilty to driving while intoxicated. He was arrested only two weeks ago, and charged with speeding, DUI, and refusing to submit to a BAC test. He had a open beer in the car, but was not charged for that.
The judge pled guilty to DUI and was fined $750 and required to attend DUI school. His driver’s license was suspended for 120 days. He was given credit for 24 hours of jail time served, though he didn’t have to serve the full 24 hours. A 24 hour jail sentence is standard for first time DUI offenders in Texas. He was also fined for speeding and ordered to pay court costs. The charge of refusing to submit to a BAC test was dismissed.
The judge had resigned from the bench after being arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He had crossed the center line and struck another vehicle. He fled the scene, on foot, and was later arrested at his home.
A Fort Worth Texas judge found a police officer not guilty of DUI and scolded Keller Texas police for treating the officer more harshly because she was a police officer. Court records showed that a Keller police officer stopped the Fort Worth officer for speeding. The Keller officer said that the woman’s breath smelled of alcohol and that she stated she had hardly anything to drink. The Keller officer said that she refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was “uncooperative” about field sobriety tests. She was released, but a warrant was issued a few days later for DUI.
Refusing to take the Breathalyzer did not indicate that she was guilty and trying to avoid jail, according to the judge. She was found not guilty of DUI, but her duty status is in the hands of the Fort Worth Internal Affairs Department, which will review the charges and the judge’s verdict finding her innocent of DUI.
An Orange County, Texas driver was pulled over after she was seen driving erratically through a parking lot. The arresting officer noticed she had glassy eyes, slurred speech and an unsteady balance. The officer received permission from the woman to search her vehicle. He found a bottle containing a pill that he believed to be Hydrocodone, four Alprazolam and five Carisoprodol. In the center console of the vehicle he also found a bottle containing what he believed to be marijuana. The driver was charged with possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated, possession of a dangerous drug (Carisoprodol) and possession of marijuana.
“The label on the prescription bottle says to not operate machinery or drive, but some people continue to do it,” said a police detective. Operating a vehicle while using legal and illegal drugs may lead to a charge of driving under the influence (DUI), as opposed to driving while intoxicated (DWI), in Texas.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, along with Irving Texas police officers, raided 36 bars. About 30 bar patrons were arrested for public intoxication. Some of the patrons were subjected to breath tests while still inside the tavern.
Agents declared that the raids were an effort to reduce Texas DUI problems. A Commission agent said some inebriated bar patrons “end up killing themselves or someone else” after departing the businesses.