Sep

23

Another DUI with Baby on Board and A Man Faces 3 DUI Charges in One Night

By Mike

This week’s DUI stories feature a poor parenting decision, and an active night for a man charged with 3 DUIs in a single evening of driving.

Baby On Board

It is all too common in the world of DUI news to hear about a parent’s use of poor judgment. Not only do they allegedly drive drunk, but they do so with a child in the car with them.

In Fort Myers, Florida, Brittney Locke is charged with DUI and other crimes, after police say she was stopped on the interstate while driving under the influence, according to ABC 7.

According to police, Locke was stopped after witnesses called police, having witnessed an accident on the highway. The driver left the scene, witnesses said, and police found Locke parked along the side of the road near an exit, with metal sheared off the side of the car.

She also had an infant in the car with her, in a car seat.

Police noted that she appeared to have trouble keeping her eyes open, and said she didn’t know what she’d hit to cause the damage to her car. She failed a field sobriety test.

She claimed to be on the way to see the child’s father, to get money from him. She also told police she was exhausted, and that she had to be up early to visit an area methadone clinic as a part of addiction treatment.

Police allegedly found a Xanex tablet in the car, a prescription bottle of ibuprofen and a plastic straw that, according to ABC, “appeared to be coated with drug residue.”

A relative took control of the child. Locke is charged with DUI, DUI property damage for the guard rail she allegedly hit, child cruelty, drug possession and drug equipment possession.

A 3 DUI Charge Night

According to KGMI in Whatcom County, Washington, a man is facing 3 DUI charges after a single night of activity.

Tommy Ryser allegedly wrecked his pickup truck on the road, where police found it at around 8 p.m. on a Monday night. Then, police received a call that another accident had been reported.

It was a red VW Golf that had crashed into a guardrail.

Who pulled up to that accident site but Ryser, driving a tow truck. He had a cut on his face, according to police, and was found to be intoxicated.

According to KGMI, Ryser was arrested for and charged with crashing both disabled vehicles, and with driving drunk to the crash sites, in order to tow them back home.

Apr

11

Washington State Schools Leader Gets Jail Time for DUI

By Topher

The head of the state of Washington state’s public school system had what he called a lonely, sad, sleepless and devastating night in jail after serving a one-day sentence for drunk driving.

Randy Dorn’s 24 hour stint in jail was the result of his guilty plea in his DUI case that concluded a week or so ago, reports Komo 4 News in Seattle.

Dorn is the Washington state superintendent of public instruction. He was arrested on March 21 when an officer in the town of Orting observed him speeding. The officer pulled over Dorn, who then failed a field sobriety test. His blood-alcohol content also measured over the legal driving limit.

Dorn, according to the police report, volunteered for a breath test and measured a 0.097 percent, compared with the 0.08 percent limit. Several other tests showed a content even higher. Dorn admitted to having had beer at a crab feed and dance at the sports club where he and his wife are members, and that he had stayed late to help clean up after the event.

Dorn pleaded guilty in a municipal court and received a sentence of 365 days in jail, with 364 days suspended.

His night in jail left him with the urge to return home, as may be expected. “That’s what I hope to do,” he said upon leaving the jail facility, “is go home with my wife and get some sleep, because I have a long day tomorrow.”

When the judge in his case asked Dorn if he had a drinking problem, the school administrator said that he did not. “I’m a diet cola guy,” he replied. The incident overall, he said, was a “teachable moment” and he said that it would not happen again.

Dorn wants to complete his term as school superintendent, which lasts four years. He apologized to Washington’s citizens, schoolchildren and parents, and to his wife and to his staff for their support.

“The past two weeks have been the worst of my life,” he said.

Dorn said in court that his attorney advised him to seek a lesser charge in the case, based on the way that the Breathalyzer was administered. But Dorn, according to him, rejected the idea, and faced the original DUI charge.

“I am a stand-up guy,” he said. “If I make a mistake, I believe I have to accept the consequences.”

Feb

20

After DUI Stop, Trooper Shot, Husband of Drunk Driver Suspected

By Topher

Washington State Trooper Scott Johnson is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the head early on a recent Saturday morning. After all, the bullet was still in his head when he was released from the hospital.

As officials work to solve the case, a recent turn has thrown some light on who may be responsible. The latest suspect in the shooting, court papers revealed, is the husband of a woman that Trooper Johnson was investigating for DUI.

That suspect, Martin A. Jones, is in jail facing attempted murder and assault charges.

At midnight, just before the shooting, trooper Jesse Greene stopped a black van driving over the speed limit on a state road. He pulled over the woman and gave her a battery of field sobriety tests. She failed the tests, and was arrested for DUI. She was by herself in the van.

Scott Johnson arrived on the scene following the arrest, to help process the vehicle in question and to wait for a tow truck while Greene took the woman to the station.

At that point, Martin Jones approached the scene and asked a tow truck driver what he was doing. The driver replied that he was taking the vehicle to an impound lot. Jones then disappeared.

A short time later, Jones returned, walking up behind Scott Johnson, who was taking inventory of things inside the van. Jones shot Johnson twice in the head, took a step back, and chuckled, according to the tow truck driver.

The driver thought it was a toy gun, and only realized the severity of the situation when Jones fired several rounds at him, breaking out a window in the van. “I’ve been shot!” yelled Johnson, who was able to fire off several rounds at Jones as he fled the scene.

Police dogs tracked Jones’ scent back to his house. Johnson identified a sketch of Jones, who was then placed under arrest. When police arrived to arrest him, he had several suitcases packed.
Police then discovered that the van’s driver was Jones’ wife, which seemed to provide a motive in the shooting.

Jones is now in jail on $5 million bail.

Jun

2

A Possible Lucky Break for Some Seattle DUI Suspects

By Mary Ann

Hundreds of people awaiting trial for Washington DUI in Seattle Municipal Court just became a step closer to beating the charges.

A recent court ruling has barred the results of all breath tests given before December 18, 2007 from being used against the defendants in court. Generally a DUI offense without blood alcohol concentration reading is often harder to prosecute, but the court found that all of the breath tests conducted prior to mid-December may have delivered inaccurate readings.

The breath test machines were brought up to date and determined to be accurate as of December 18, 2007 according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Of course the Seattle City Attorney is none too happy about losing the teeth of many of the Washington DUI offenses on the docket and plans to appeal the decision.

Even without the breath tests results, Tom Carr says that only a small number of the DUI cases will be dismissed. Without the breath test evidence there are still field sobriety tests, dash cam videos and other evidence available to help prove that the defendants were driving while impaired.

The toxicology lab that conducts the breath tests in Seattle has been under fire since last summer when the lab manager was suspected of signing off on scientific tests that had not actually been conducted.

From there it only got worse and the lab policies and procedures were then questioned and challenged, as was the software used by the breath test machines. Four judges found that no one at the toxicology lab ever checked to make sure that the breath test machine data was being calculated correctly.

Because of the botched breath tests, not only are all the DUI suspects awaiting trial in Seattle off the hook for their breath test results, but going back three years, everyone who faces DUI conviction based on breath test evidence from this lab may now have grounds for an appeal.

Oct

12

Update on Washington State DUI Toxicology Problems

By Mary Ann

Earlier this week, Total DUI detailed how problems at the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory, including questions about a mixture solution testing the accuracy of breathalyzers, could affect certain DUI cases.

For more of a back story, Washington DUI attorneys had begun arguing for the dismissal of DUI cases or at least the reduction of charges after it was learned that the manager of the state toxicology lab had been signing papers saying that she had tested the ethanol-water solution when in fact she hadn’t done so.

With that said, Eastern Washington Whitman County prosecutors, fearing that certain DUI charges wouldn’t hold up in court, have agreed to plea bargains in 30 of 80 Washington DUI cases.

This decision on Wednesday could loom large throughout the state, as other county prosecutors may be forced to make similar concessions in wake of the problems at the state toxicology lab. It has been estimated that this initial hearing about the breathalyzer results in Whitman County could affect hundreds of DUI cases in the state.

Aug

12

Decimal Point Error May Invalidate Spokane Washington Breathalyzer Results

By Guest Attorney

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that prosecutors in Spokane, Washington are playing down the significance of improper breathalyzer calculations, leading to hundreds of faulty alcohol test readings.

The State Crime Lab in Cheney, Washington recently announced that it had been using an erroneous spreadsheet formula to record lab test results for 584 defendants between February 2006 and January 2007. The lab said eight defendants who were harmed by the error have notified.

The Post-Intelligencer reports that a BAC of 0.79 would be elevated to 0.08 percent and 0.149 would read as 0.15. The Director of the Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau, Dr. Barry Logan, said 584 cases involved faulty test results, but 576 of the results could not have effected a defendant’s guilt or punishment.

The story appears to allege that the lab’s spreadsheet only showed Breathalyzer results to two decimal places. I tested Microsoft Excel. Breath alcohol level (BAC) results from 0.075 and 0.084 would all show as 0.08 percent, equal to the presumptive BAC level in all states. BAC results from 0.145 to 0.154 would show as 0.15 percent, requiring stiffer penalties under Washington’s excessive DUI law.

KNDO Television said Logan explained that the miscalculations occurred after software used to calibrate breath alcohol instruments was amended late in 2005 produced an error at the fourth decimal place in test readings.

Can this be right? An error in the fourth decimal place would not effect a value to only two decimal places.

My simple test, in Excel, showed that either the reporting was simplistic or many more cases should be re-examined.

Jun

25

Washington Woman Gets 0.50 Percent Breathalyzer Reading

By admin

A Pierce County, Washington woman registered a breathalyzer reading of 0.50 percent last month. Two hours after her arrest, Rebecca G. Lingbloom submitted to a blood alcohol test which showed she had a BAC more than six times the legal limit for DUI in Washington.

A state medical technician said such a BAC “would certain kill most people.”

Technicians are required to reanalyze a blood sample showing such a rare blood alcohol level.

Not surprisingly, Lingbloom was found passed out behind the wheel of her car after she had allegedly nearly hit a pedestrian. She was released on bail after enrolling in a six-month treatment program for alcohol abuse.

Jun

15

Man and Woman Arrested for DUI and Sex While Driving

By Mary Ann

A Washington state trooper pulled over an SUV that was driving erratically. The driver was charged with DUI and embracing while driving.

His passenger was cited for possession of alcohol after the trooper saw her trying to hide a wine bottle.

The trooper told the Seattle Times that there were “some acts intimacy going on in the vehicle that were best saved for not driving down the freeway.”

He warned people that being distracted is as dangerous as being impaired, adding “I can’t think of anything more distracting as this.”

The driver should get a DUI attorney to see if embracing while driving is an actual law in Washington.

May

3

Washington State Trooper Pleads Not Guilty of Sexual Misconduct in DUI Arrest

By Mary Ann

A Washington State Trooper pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual misconduct stemming from the arrest of a female driver for DUI. Trooper Carlos Torres is charged with “custodial sexual misconduct.”

A drunk driving suspect claims Torres fondled her and touched her private areas while she was in the back seat of his squad car.

Several other Washington State Troopers have been accused of sexual misconduct by their female arrestees.

A State spokesman said they know that alleged victims are vulnerable to the power of law enforcement officers, but the law enforcement officers themselves are vulnerable to false charges.

Apr

12

Hall of Fame Quarterback Below DUI Limit, But May Still Face DUI Charges

By Mary Ann

Warren Moon’s lawyer confirmed that his breath test showed a blood alcohol level (BAC) below the legal limit for DUI in Washington, when he was arrested for DUI in Kirkland.

Moon’s breath test results showed a BAC of 0.067 and 0.068 percent, below the per-se limit for DUI of 0.08 percent. Prosecutors may still charge Moon with DUI.

When his breath test is above the per-se limit, a driver must prove that he was NOT DUI. When a driver tests below the per-se limit, the State must prove he was DUI. Some states also have laws against drinking and driving, even when the driver is below the legal limit. Violation of these laws carries a lesser penalty.

Moon played 17 seasons in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League. He entered the Hall of Fame last august. Moon is currently a radio broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks.

Apr

11

Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon Arrested for DUI in Washington

By Mary Ann

Warren Moon was arrested in Kirkland, Washington for DUI. After being stopped for speeding, he was taken to the Kirkland Police Department and later released. Moon’s vehicle was impounded. Results of field sobriety and breath tests have not been released to the public. King County prosecutors have yet to announce whether they will file DUI charges.

Moon played 17 seasons in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League. He entered the Hall of Fame last august. Moon is currently a radio broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks.

Jan

11

Driver Gets 8th Washington DUI, But Avoids Five Year Sentence

By Mary Ann

A Vancouver Washington man was arrested for his 8th DUI in October 2006. He avoided a five-year prison sentence by avoiding arrest until October. Washington law provides that a driver convicted of his 5th DUI in a 10 year span must be sentenced to up to 5 years incarceration. Had he been arrested for DUI in July 2006 he’d be looking at a 5 year sentence. Instead he faces no more than 2 years and 3 months in jail.

The driver, one of the worst DUI offenders in Washington was charged with DUI, driving with a suspended license, and driving without an ignition interlock.

Dec

28

Washington DUI Offenders Ignoring Orders to Install Ignition Interlocks

By Mary Ann

Seattle Washington drivers convicted of DUI are regularly ignoring court orders to have breath testing equipment (Ignition Interlocks) installed in their vehicles. Some 28,000 Washington drivers have been convicted of DUI. Under Washington law, even first-time offenders are required to have interlocks installed. Only about 4,400 of the devices have been installed, however. This figure matches the percentage of drivers actually having the devices installed in other states. With about eighty percent of DUI offenders failing to comply, the current national push for interlocks may be misguided.

An ignition interlock measures the alcohol in a driver’s breath. If his breath shows a BAC below a State mandated limit, he can start the car. Most states then require him to test every twenty or thirty minutes. If he fails to test or has a BAC over the limit, the vehicle’s engine stops running. There are also ways to cheat the device. Another person, presumably sober, could blow into the device or a DUI offender could even have the device installed and then borrow or buy another car.

Between the time a driver is ordered to install an interlock and when he tries to regain his license, there is no state agency that monitors whether the device has been installed. An interlock offender is usually caught through a stop for another offense. A violation of an interlock order is a “gross misdemeanor,” punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, the same as for driving with a suspended license.

While drivers can ignore a court’s interlock order, they must show proof of installation in order to get their suspended licenses back. Many DUI offenders haven’t returned to the DOL to reinstate their licenses. Perhaps, orders for interlocks are leading people to simply drive without a license.