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Beto O’Rourke Tried to Flee Scene of Drunk-Driving Crash

A test of O’Rourke’s reputation for candor. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

During his high-profile run for Senate against Ted Cruz, Democrat Beto O’Rourke has not shied away from discussing a troubling element of his past: an arrest for drunk driving in September 1998, the day after he turned 26.

But a new story in the Houston Chronicle claims that there’s an important part of the story that the Texas Congressman hasn’t addressed. According to records acquired by the paper, O’Rourke was not only nabbed for driving under the influence; he caused what could have been a catastrophic accident, then tried to flee the scene. Neither detail had previously been made available to the public. The Chronicle reports:

“State and local police reports obtained by the Chronicle and Express-News show that O’Rourke was driving drunk at what a witness called “a high rate of speed” in a 75 mph zone on Interstate 10 about a mile from the New Mexico border. He lost control and hit a truck, sending his car careening across the center median into oncoming lanes. The witness, who stopped at the scene, later told police that O’Rourke had tried to drive away from the scene.”

The 1995 records, obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, are based in large part on the testimony of a witness who reported seeing O’Rourke’s vehicle speed by him at 3 a.m. on September 27, 1998. After the accident, the same witness helped prevent O’Rourke from leaving the aftermath of the accident. There were no injuries at the scene; criminal charges were dismissed.

As the Chronicle notes, O’Rourke once told the El-Paso Times that he had been driving an intoxicated friend home, but no friend was mentioned in the police report.

In a statement issued on Thursday, O’Rourke repeated what he has said before: that he regrets the incident.

“I drove drunk and was arrested for a DWI in 1998,” O’Rourke said. “As I’ve publicly discussed over the last 20 years, I made a serious mistake for which there is no excuse.” The “serious mistake” wording was identical to the formulation he used in a Chronicle op-ed he wrote earlier this week. The piece addressed his past mistakes, which also include an arrest for jumping a fence in 1995, through the lens of criminal-justice reform.

Texas Republicans have already slammed O’Rourke for the drunk-driving incident, most recently in a tweet earlier this week, which took him to task for skipping a debate with Cruz. (In the same thread, the GOP also went after O’Rourke for having a social life in the early 1990s, a tactic that backfired.)

But it remains to be seen how potent an attack line the new revelation could be for Cruz’s campaign.

It’s true that drunk-driving offenses are nothing new for Texas voters — former governor George W. Bush once pleaded to driving under the influence, an incident that came out in the press just before he won the presidency in 2000, and did not seem to hurt his standing in the eyes of Texans. But O’Rourke came closer to causing death and destruction than Bush. Rourke has also positioned himself as a forthright chronicler of his own imperfect past, and the fact that he left out a key part of it may hurt his reputation for candor.

So far, the Cruz campaign has not commented on the Chronicle report.

The charismatic O’Rourke has embraced a strategy of staying true to his liberal bona fides and activating a wide swath of previously apathetic voters, as he crisscrosses the state, raising eye-popping fundraising totalsexclusively from small donors. Recent polls show Cruz clinging to a single-digit lead in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. The race has become so competitive that Cruz has resorted to asking his ex-adversary President Trump — who, during the 2016 campaign insinuated that Cruz’s father had a hand in killing John F. Kennedy and has attacked Cruz’s wife’s looks — for help. On Friday, the president confirmed that he would step in.

Cruz is not likely to stay quiet about O’Rourke’s omissions. But if there’s anyone willing to really exploit a personal flaw, it’s our president.

Arizona forward Ira Lee cited for Driving Under the Influence


click to enlargeIra Lee averaged 2.4 points per game as a freshman with the Arizona Wildcats. - LOGAN BURTCH-BUUS

Arizona Wildcats sophomore forward Ira Lee was cited for driving under the influence in the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 19, according to a University of Arizona statement.

Lee, who averaged 2.4 points per game in 27 appearances as a freshman last year, may face repercussions from the school and team, depending on the course of a review by academic staff.

“The incident has been referred to the Dean of Students for review under the University’s student code of conduct, and the Athletics Department is reviewing the incident for team consequences,” the UA statement reads. “Students also have access to counseling and other support services.”

According to Pima County Consolidated Justice Court records, Lee was cited for Failure to Yield, Minor Driving After Drinking and DUI Extreme BAC .20 or More at the intersection of 6th Street and Warren Avenue.

Lee is scheduled for a criminal arraignment hearing on Sept. 10, according to the court’s report.

The University’s athletics department would not release any additional information regarding Lee’s citation.

The Wildcats open the 2018-19 regular season with their Red-Blue intra-squad game on Oct. 14, with their first game on Wednesday, Nov. 7 against Houston Baptist.

Post-accident testimony to be considered in manslaughter trial

Andrew Ielpi was in court on Monday, as attorneys argued over what kind of evidence would be admitted to his criminal trial in the death of Angelique Frost, who was thrown from a utility vehicle Ielpi was driving in 2016.

BRATTLEBORO — What sort of testimony might be allowed during the trial of a 26-year-old man accused of causing the death of his fiance during a ride on a utility vehicle was the subject of discussion in Windham Superior Court on Monday morning.

Andrew Ielpi is facing charges of grossly negligent vehicle operation resulting in death and manslaughter in the May 22, 2016, death of Angelique Frost, who was 23 at the time of her death.

According to court documents, Ielpi was driving a six-wheeled utility vehicle when, at the urging of Frost “to go get some air” over a culvert in a privately owned road in Westminster, he lost control and crashed, throwing Frost off the vehicle and into a tree. Ielpi and his parents transported Frost’s body to an urgent care facility in Bellows Falls only to find the clinic closed. They then drove to the Bellows Falls Police Department, where Frost was declared dead.

Neither Ielpi nor his parents called 911 or sought emergency assistance for Frost before transporting her to Bellows Falls.

Ielpi’s defense attorney, David Sleigh, told Windham Superior Court Judge John Treadwell that the prosecution’s attempt to introduce testimony about what happened after the accident “was not germane or relevant in determining whether Andrew operated the vehicle in a grossly manner …”

Sleigh said introducing testimony on what happened after the accident was just “a distraction and an attempt to cast Andrew in a bad light in a way that would shift the focus of the jury from determining whether the operation of the vehicle was grossly negligent … It really doesn’t establish anything as to the essential elements. It doesn’t add anything to the jury’s analysis of whether the operation was negligent.”

The state’s attempt is to shift the jury’s analysis away from the question of whether the operation of the vehicle was grossly negligent to whether Ielpi “is a bad guy,” contested Sleigh, and allowing the state to introduce evidence to impugn his client’s character wasn’t admissible.

But Winhdam County Deputy State’s Attorney David Gartenstein argued that the testimony of what happened after the accident, including moving Frost’s body and not calling 911 and the discussions between him, his mother and his step-father during that process, was evidence of negligent conduct that the jury should have an opportunity to consider.

“To cut out part of that evidence and to say that magically the body appeared at the police station … that just does not do justice to the facts of the case as a whole,” he said, adding leaving it out would call into question the integrity and completeness of the investigation.

Gartenstein acknowledged that the medical examiner would testify that Frost’s death “was a natural consequence of her body impacting the tree,” but by moving her body, Ielpi had denied the state the opportunity to fully examine the crash scene with her body present.

“The evidence includes explanations of the time gap between when the crash occurred and when the defendant and his family members and the decedent arrived at the police station,” argued Gartenstein.

The decision to move Frost’s body also demonstrates Ielpi’s impulsive judgment that led to the accident and whether he was operating the vehicle “in a reasonable prudent manner,” the basis of the negligent operation charge, argued Gartenstein. “It’s for the jury to decide what was his state of mind and to what extent his judgment was impaired … He doesn’t call police and he doesn’t call 911. He gets in the car, he calls his mom and drives back, loads the body in the vehicle … those issues go to define standard of care as a whole.”

Gartenstein also reassured the judge that he wouldn’t offer character evidence against Ielpi, even though there is “a lengthy history” between Ielpi and the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office, he said.

Treadwell said he would issue a written decision in response to the court arguments. He also has to rule on whether toxicology should be admitted about marijuana consumption prior to crash. Ielpie’s criminal trial was originally scheduled for September, but due to a miscommunication between the defense and the state, was postponed to early next year. A report on the structural integrity of the utility vehicle commissioned by the defense was not received by prosecutors until recently, said Gartenstein.

“What we want and what [Frost’s] mom wants is a fair adjudication of the merits of what happened,” said Gartenstein, which will require a review of the report and perhaps the state’s own analysis of the vehicle.

Judge Treadwell, who characterized the miscommunication as a “wholly inadvertent error,” said he would reschedule the trial.

Ielpi, his mother and step-father and others are named in a civil suit filed by Frost’s mother, Rebecca Kemp, of Putney, who is seeking in excess of $3 million in the death of her daughter.

Ielpi’s biological father, Jonathan Ielpi, was 29 and a New York City firefighter who died when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund distributed awards to 2,880 of the 2,963 death claims filed. The average award was $2,082,128 and went as high as $7.1 million.

Man passed out behind wheel in parking lot charged with OWI

ROTHSCHILD – A Wausau man is facing his ninth operation while intoxicated charge after police found him passed out behind the steering wheel of the parked vehicle in the Domtar employee parking lot Wednesday night.

According to a Marathon County criminal complaint, police were called about a Silverado truck swerving all over the road near Rothschild. An officer observed a Silverado truck turn into a Domtar employee parking lot at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. While checking the lot, the officer found the truck and saw a man with his head down on the steering wheel, according to the complaint.

The officer saw the keys in the ignition of the truck, according to the complaint. The officer knocked on the window and the man, Cole Knapp, 33, talked with him, according to the complaint; Knapp’s speech was slurred and he said he didn’t know how he got there. The officer saw a Budweiser opened and sitting in the middle console cupholder, according to the complaint.

The officer asked Knapp whether he was drinking and he responded “yep,” according to the complaint; the officer also asked how many beers Knapp had and he said “enough.”

Knapp has eight prior drunken driving arrests starting in 2002, the most recent before Wednesday being in 2013, according to documents.

Knapp initially refused a breathalyzer and a blood draw, but when taken to Aspirus Hospital he consented to a breathalyzer, which registered a 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content, according to the complaint.

Knapp is being held on a $25,000 cash bond. Knapp is charged with operating while intoxicated (7th or higher) and operating with prohibited alcohol content (7th or higher).

If found guilty, Knapp faces over 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for each charge.

Judge arraigned on charges in hit-and-run crash


A Macomb County judge was arraigned Monday on two misdemeanor criminal charges stemming from a hit-and-run car crash last fall in Roseville.

Roseville District Court Judge Catherine Steenland, 51, is charged with one count each of failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident, a one-year misdemeanor, and failure to report an accident, a 90-day misdemeanor, according to a news release from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Steenland was arraigned in 72nd District Court in Marine City in front of Judge Michael Hulewicz, according to Worthy’s office, which took over the case after the Macomb Prosecutor’s Office recused itself.  Steenland is scheduled to next appear in court on Sept. 28. Information on her bond amount was not immediately available.

State police say Steenland was the driver of a  2016 Dodge Charger that struck another vehicle at about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Gratiot near McKinnon in Roseville and then left the scene.

The other driver followed the Charger to a house in Roseville where a woman got out and went into the house. When police arrived at the residence, no one would answer the door, according to the reports.

Roseville police determined both the house and the damaged Charger in the driveway were owned by Steenland. The investigation was turned over to the Michigan State Police.

Steenland went on leave in July 2017 for scheduled back surgery, but was set to return to work last fall.

She has a 2008 conviction for impaired driving while she was a judge. Steenland was suspended without pay for 90 days after a 2008 case in Ogemaw County in which she pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired.

Police officer arrested for DWI

Daniel Meyers

Shreveport Police Officer Daniel Meyers, 29, has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated in connection with a crash that occurred Aug. 25 in the 8900 block of Youree Drive.

Meyers was off-duty and was not operating a city vehicle at the time of the crash.

Meyers, a four-year veteran assigned to the uniformed services division, has been placed on paid departmental leave by Chief Alan Crump pending an internal investigation.

Jury gives man life in prison for DWI’s

A Liberty County jury took about an hour to return a life sentence for a repeat Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offender from Splendora in the 253rd District Court of the Honorable Judge Chap Cain.

On June 5, 2015 Trooper Chris Cash made a routine traffic stop on a vehicle traveling 80 miles an hour on TX 105 west from Cleveland.


Cash immediately noticed the odor of alcohol emitting from the breath of the driver, Randy Gene Bauer, 61, of Splendora. After conducting field sobriety tests, Cash placed him under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Bauer refused to submit to a blood test, so a warrant for his blood was obtained.

After the blood draw at the Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center, the vials were sent to the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Houston for testing.

Rachel Aubel, a DPS forensic scientist, ran four tests of the alcohol concentration that averaged to a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .142. The tolerance for the four tests to be considered valid is 10 percent. The legal limit in Texas is .08.

Because of prior DWI convictions, the case was elevated to a felony offense.

Trial began Aug. 20 with jury selection in Cain’s court.

The evidence concluded the next day and after closing arguments, the jury deliberated for less than 10 minutes before returning a guilty verdict.

The punishment phase began immediately with evidence that Bauer’s bond had been forfeited in this case after he failed to appear as required by Judge Cain. He also failed to maintain his alcohol monitoring device as required by his bond.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was found in San Jacinto County where he fought with deputies trying to arrest him.

District Attorney Logan Pickett presented evidence that Bauer had previously been convicted of family violence assault and three DWI convictions — one of which resulted in a trip to the penitentiary.

He also had felony Bribery and Assault on a Peace Officer convictions in that same penitentiary trip, all of which occurred in Montgomery County.

He was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary.

In 2006, shortly after his release, Bauer attempted to abduct an 11-year-old girl for illicit purposes in broad daylight at her school bus stop. That offense resulted in an 8-year prison sentence in Montgomery County District Court and yearly sex offender registration. The young girl, now 23, appeared before the Liberty County jury and recalled fighting Bauer off and preventing the abduction.

Following the presentations by both the prosecution and defense, the jury deliberated for about an hour before deciding that the maximum sentence of life was appropriate for Bauer.

Pickett said in a press release that some jurors struggled with the idea of punishing someone for DWI so harshly, but when it was coupled with the tremendous danger his criminal history showed, the jurors felt compelled to protect their community.

“For almost 30 years, Randy Bauer has placed the people of Liberty and Montgomery counties in great danger. We have been lucky that his actions have not resulted in more serious injury and the 12 jurors virtually assured we will never have to worry about Randy Bauer again.”

Alderman arrested on drunken-driving charges early Saturday

Derek ShackelfordA Frederick alderman was charged with driving while under the influence and driving while impaired early Saturday after a traffic stop, according to city police.

Derek Timothy Shackelford, 48, was driving a four-door Lexus on Rosemont Avenue near U.S. 15 at about 2:10 a.m. Saturday when a city police officer pulled him over for driving with an inoperable headlight, according to Capt. Dwight Sommers, commander of the Frederick Police Department’s Operational Services Bureau.

“During the stop the officer could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage and asked the driver to complete a standardized field sobriety test, which he did,” Sommers said. “[Shackelford] was later subsequently arrested.”

A breath test was not completed as a result of the stop, but Sommers said more information regarding the stop would likely be made available after the officer’s report was finished and reviewed.

Along with DUI and DWI, Shackelford was also charged with failure to display two lighted front lamps when required, Sommers said. The alderman was released from police custody later Saturday after he was taken to police headquarters and advised of the charges against him, Sommers said.

Shackelford declined to specifically address the charges against him when reached for comment Monday afternoon.

“Upon advice of my attorney, I have been advised not to discuss the charges or allegations while this case is pending,” Shackelford wrote in an email response to The Frederick News-Post’s questions. “I remain committed to my service to the people of the City of Frederick.”

Mayor Michael O’Connor confirmed that he was informed of the arrest by Shackelford himself later on Saturday.

DUI after taking cold and flu medication

Shocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication.

Police pulled over a 64-year-old B-double truck driver on the Hume Highway in New South Wales as she was travelling to Sydney.

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test. 

VShocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication as a truck driver was pulled over on the Hume Highway (pictured)

Shocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication as a truck driver was pulled over on the Hume Highway (pictured)

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test

As the woman waits for the results she needs to lean against her truck for stability and seems to doze off while standing. She also continues to sway and at one point looks like she may vomit.

Despite appearances suggesting otherwise, the woman was not drunk, returning a blood alcohol level of zero. However, she was on cold and flu medication.

Police were seen transporting the woman from the roadside, leaving her truck to be picked up at a later and safer time.

9 News spoke to Southern Highlands police Inspector John Klepzarek and pharmacist Asim Iqbal about the dangers associated with driving while affected by the drug.

Despite slurring and having to be helped from the truck, the woman was not drunk - but she was on cold and flu medication

‘This could have resulted in tragedy or something quite serious, whilst it isn’t alcohol or illegal drugs some of these other drugs can affect you just as badly,’ Inspector Klepzarek said.

Mr Iqbal said he warns all customers about the risks associated with driving while taking cold and flu medications.

‘Some of those ingredients can affect your ability to drive and your ability to react to certain situations,’ he said.

A Queensland University of Technology study also looked into the dangers of driving while under the influence of cold and flu medication.

‘The use of drugs that affect mood, cognition and psychomotor functioning can directly or indirectly potentially impair driving ability,’ the study reads.

‘Many over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as some cough, cold and flu day and night formulas, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories….can potentially impair driving.’

QUT study states that some medications impair driving by causing drowsiness, slowing reaction time and affecting mental concentration

The study states that some of these medications impair driving by causing drowsiness, slowing reaction time, affecting mental concentration, shakiness or unsteadiness and affecting coordination.

Some of the factors which cause varied reactions to the drugs include the speed of metabolism, the time and strength of the dose taken and what the drug might have mixed with which was already in the system.

‘Researchers and health professionals have called for improvements to medication classification and warning systems to improve user awareness and knowledge of the effects of classes of medications on driving performance, assist appropriate medication choices and underpin legislation,’ the study states.

‘Australian research suggests there may be potential to improve Australian medication warning and labelling systems to meet consumer needs.

‘And improve driver awareness, attitudes and compliance with medication warnings.’

Motorists have been charged with culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm in the past for driving while affected by cold and flu medication.


  • Remember your driving can affect not only you, but also your passengers and others on the road
  • Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medication you have been prescribed and its potential effects on your driving capabilities
  • Read all the labels on all your medicines
  • Keep the telephone number of your doctor or pharmacist handy
  • Be aware of the dangers of mixing medications with other drugs and alcohol
  • Remember to tell your doctor if you are required to drive or operate machinery for work
  • Make arrangements for alternative transport

Source: QUT Research 

‘If your medicine affects your driving, stop driving, not your medication the study suggests.

‘Make arrangements for alternative transport while you are taking the medication.’

It’s not yet known which brand of cold and flu tablets the driver had taken prior to being pulled over however people over the age of 65 are cautioned to seek advice from their doctor as they may be more at risk of side effects such as drowsiness.

For example, Codral Original Day and Night tablets have different active ingredients for the day and the night but both carry risks of drowsiness.

The day tablet’s active ingredients are 500 mg paracetamol, 30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and 6 mg codeine phosphate while the night tablets contain contains 500 mg paracetamol, 30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and 1.25 mg triprolidine hydrochloride.

Pseudoephedrine is known to cause side effects ranging from fast pounding or uneven heartbeat, severe dizziness or anxiety, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms.

Codeine phosphate, contained in the day tablets, also has side effects of drowsiness, making both day and night tablets a risk to take when having to drive.

Deputies arrest Bend woman accused of driving wrong way before head-on crash

Beverly Marsden mug shot courtesy Deschutes County Jail

BEND, Ore. – Deputies arrested a Bend woman who they say drove the wrong way on Highway 97 and crashed head-on into another driver Wednesday morning.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office first responded to 911 calls of a dark-colored sedan driving southbound in the northbound Lanes of the Bend Parkway at Pinebrook Boulevard at 4:04 a.m.

Callers said the driver continued going the wrong way as she drove onto Highway 97. She then crashed into a northbound silver Ford Escape driven by Merle Brubaker, 69, of La Pine.

Deputies arrived at the scene and found Beverly Marsden, 60, of Bend, in a dark-colored Ford Focus. Investigators determined Marsden was impaired at the time of the collision and did not realize the highway was divided.

Neither Marsden nor Brubaker were injured in the crash, deputies said. But their vehicles sustained substantial damage.

Marsden was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, recklessly endangering and fourth-degree assault. She was lodged in the Deschutes County Adult Jail.