A Trout Run woman driving this car admitted that she “used two bags of heroin” minutes before she crashed into a guardrail in the 7500 block of Route 15 in Lycoming Township about noon Thursday, according to Old Lycoming Township Police Chief Joseph Hope. The woman’s juvenile son, riding in the vehicle, escaped injury, Hope said. The woman was taken to a local hospital and later released. Her name will be released when charges are filed, Hope said. About 10 minutes before this crash, another woman suffered a suspected heroin overdose as she crashed her Honda Element into a parked van on Boyd Street, city police said. She too was taken to the hospital and released. Charges are pending against her as well, police said.
Troy police arrested a 25-year-old Royal Oak woman for operating a vehicle while under the influence of narcotics with her 10-month-old daughter in the back seat.Officers responded to the area of Livernois and Maple roads at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday, July 23, on a report of a gray 2002 Mercury Sable being driven erratically.Officers saw the car enter the Citgo gas station at 1654 Livernois and spoke with the woman. Police say the woman was unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech. She had the prescription drugs Xanax and Norco in her purse.Officers asked her to perform several field sobriety tests and reported that she performed poorly.She was arrested and taken to the Troy lock-up facility where she agreed to submit to a blood test.She was charged with child endangerment and operating a vehicle while under the influence of narcotics, pending laboratory results.
“Drive impaired, expect to be caught, Jeffco agencies will be out in force,” the CSP warned Saturday.
Less than two hours later, officials said they’d already caught two people suspected of driving under the influence.
“Two people already in custody for DUI/D. You start early, perfect, we will find you,” the CSP tweeted.
By the end of the night, officials said they’d stopped 13 impaired drivers — including one who had a child in the car.
Monday afternoon, the CSP said the final count was nine arrests for DUI, three arrests for DUID and six arrests for misdemeanors.
“We all worked hard to keep Jeffco safe,” the CSP said.
The saturation patrols involved the CSP, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood and Golden police departments, and the Foothills Fire Department.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings man charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence of marijuana is challenging the state standard at which a person is considered to be under the influence.
Public defender Gregory Paskell says the THC blood level set by the state is arbitrary, and he’s asking that the charge against Kent Roderick Jensen be dismissed.
Jensen, 20, is charged in the March 2016 death of motorcyclist Jashua Fry, The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/2uihlM3 ) reports. Court records say Jensen pulled out onto a road without seeing the motorcycle, causing the fatal crash.
Jensen’s blood contained 19 nanograms per milliliter of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, court records said. State law says a person is under the influence with a blood level of 5 ng/mL of THC.
Paskell cited studies that have concluded it’s difficult to standardize the amount of THC that creates impairment because it varies from person to person.
“There is no science to back up the 5 ng/mL level as a level that indicates impairment in a sizable enough portion of users to make it a standard for everyone,” Paskell wrote.
Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Victoria Callender said the Legislature, which makes policy decisions, set the legal limit based on research and that the case should move forward.
Montana is one of 18 states with marijuana-specific impaired driving laws, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. A dozen states have zero tolerance for marijuana or its metabolites.
Colorado, Montana and Washington’s driving limits of 5 ng/mL are the highest among the six states that list legal limits. Colorado allows defendants to argue they were not impaired at that level, but Montana and Washington laws are similar to blood-alcohol limits, which drivers cannot challenge.
District Judge Gregory Todd heard arguments on June 2 and then received written briefs. He has not ruled in the case. Jensen’s trial is scheduled for late August.
TRENTON — No more short stints in jail for drunk drivers who kill people in New Jersey.
Gov. Chris Christie on Friday signed a bill that requires a prison sentence of at least three years for drunk drivers convicted of homicide.
Known as Ralph and David’s Law, the measure creates a new crime – third-degree strict liability homicide – for causing a death by driving a car or operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The legislation was in response to the outcry over light sentences that some drunken drivers have received because their crimes didn’t rise to the level of the state’s first- or second-degree offenses addressing driving under the influence. Until this new law, the only other offense jurors, judges and prosecutors could consider was drunken driving, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail.
Third-degree crimes generally do not require jail or prison time for a first-time offender but Ralph and David’s Law calls for mandatory incarceration of between three and five years.
The law was named for David Heim and Ralph Politi Jr., whose cases highlighted the loopholes in New Jersey’s drunken driving laws.
David, 13, of Hampton, was killed when he was hit by a drunken driver as he was crossing Route 206 with his mother and siblings in 2014. The motorist, not charged with vehicular homicide, was convicted of drunken driving and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Politi, an East Hanover business owner and community activist, was killed in 2012 by a drunk driver who swerved out of her lane and hit him as he stood by his parked pickup truck. The driver was charged with aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, but was found not guilty in March of 2016.
The new law allows prosecutors to charge offenders with strict liability vehicular homicide or reckless vehicular homicide, depending on the circumstances. Reckless vehicular homicide would involve negligence on the part of the driver or boat operator.
Texting or holding a phone to your ear while driving is already illegal in Washington state. But starting Sunday, Washington state troopers and local police will begin enforcing a toughened law against distracted driving.
This spring, the legislature expanded the distracted driving lawto forbid handling a phone behind the wheel for any reason, even when stopped in traffic or at a red light.
Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said you can also get a ticket for eating, sipping coffee, starting a video or grooming if a trooper sees you driving badly as a consequence.
The citation for being “dangerously distracted” by something other than an electronic device could only be enforced as a secondary offense, meaning another infraction such as an improper lane change would need to be observed to pull you over.
“It’s a hands-free situation,” Batiste said. “Before you get in your vehicle, if you’re going to use GPS, get that started before you turn the key. If you’re going to listen to music, get that all programmed and started before you head off down the roadways.”
Using voice commands to make a phone call or get directions while the phone is in a cradle or connected to your car via Bluetooth is still allowed. Hands-free devices must not take more than “minimal” finger touches to activate or deactivate.
Using a CB radio is OK. Picking up the phone to call 911 in an emergency is a permissible exception.
Batiste said troopers are likely to give more lectures than tickets during the initial three to six months under the toughened law.
“Our first effort is to educate folks as we typically do with new laws,” Batiste told reporters in Olympia Monday. “We go on a heavy emphasis of educating folks. So we’ll give out a lot of warnings.”
Another change from current law highlighted at a photo op and media event in Olympia Monday was that cell phone violations will be reportable to auto insurance companies from now on. Previously, cell phone tickets were exempted from disclosure to your insurance company.
A first ticket for driving under the influence of electronics—or E-DUI—will cost you at least $136. A second violation within five years will cost at least $236.
The stiffer consequences were welcomed by Tina Meyer of Arlington, who tearfully recounted how her 23-year-old son Cody was run down by a distracted driver in 2015 while he was working as a flagger in a construction zone near Issaquah. Cody eventually died from his injuries.
“By making this change in the law, it is going to save a lot of lives,” Meyer said.
Updated: 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017 | Posted: 4:34 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Police routinely changed queries used for drunk driving stats, producing unreliable statistics, auditor says.
Auditor’s report found many of the same issues first identified by 2016 Statesman investigation.
Police data can be essential for police and policymakers to figure out how to enforce laws, protect safety.
The Austin Police Department has changed how it tallies drunken driving wrecks, now using the Texas Department of Transportation’s database, according to a new report by the city auditor’s office.
That change alone increased the average annual number of drunken driving wrecks in Austin by 52 percent — more than 600 collisions — when compared with numbers pulled from the Police Department’s own database, the auditor’s report found.
In the past, the department routinely changed how it crunches drunken driving statistics — key data used to help shape law enforcement decisions made by city and police officials, according to the report.
The American-Statesman spotlighted the Police Department’s statistics problem in May 2016 — during the closing days of the $10 million fight over Austin’s ride-hailing regulations — when the department provided contradictory counts on drunken driving crashes in the city.
A subsequent analysis by the Statesman in August found significant deficiencies in how authorities have analyzed cases of driving while intoxicated — findings echoed in the city auditor’s report released this week.
“APD has routinely changed the techniques used for analysis of DWI data,” the audit report said. “These changes … have resulted in fluctuations in both the overall DWI arrest and crash statistics used for research and/or reported to stakeholders during the scope period October 2013 through March 2017.”
The report also plainly laid out the importance of the data: “These changes affect the accuracy of DWI incident data used by the department for decision-making and the consistency of reporting on DWI incidents.”
The department didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to questions about what — if any — changes it made in how it produces DWI counts, in the wake of the Statesman’s investigation and the auditor’s review.
However, the auditor’s report says the department made a key change the month after the Statesman published its investigation into the department’s DWI statistics.
The drunken driving data became a critical part of a political campaign seeking to overturn Austin’s ride-hailing regulations during the spring of 2016.
At the time, police data showed a 23 percent drop in drunken driving wrecks from 2013 to 2014, when ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft began to officially serve the city — a figure they used to support Proposition 1, which would have repealed City Hall regulations that required drivers be fingerprinted.
But, in the closing days of the campaign, the police provided the Statesman with a second set of figures that showed the drop was just 12 percent.
Then, just days after the election, the police sent the Statesman a third set of numbers that showed the drop was 17 percent.
“The data that was given to us in the heat of the battle turned out to be wrong,” said District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool, who requested the review. “To the extent that we can control for some of this, we should be controlling for some of this.”
Pool said she will raise the issue of the Police Department hiring a full-time statistician during upcoming budget talks this summer as one way to reduce such errors in the future.
The Statesman investigation that followed identified key deficiencies in the Police Department’s statistics unit and how it crunches the drunken driving data. Like this year’s audit, the Statesman found that the department failed to standardize the criteria it used to pull and crunch the statistics from its database.
The investigation also found the department’s statistics unit had no formal system for storing these queries or the results they produce, depriving it of a key way to check its work, and that its staff has little formal training in computerized mapping, databases or statistics when they were hired.
“A tip of the hat to (the Statesman),” Pool said, for uncovering the shortcomings.
A MassDOT electrician arrested Wednesday for allegedly driving under the influence in Providence has been suspended without pay after he reportedly struck multiple cars in his state-owned vehicle after leaving a North Attleboro job site, according to an official’s account.
Rhode Island State Police arrested the man, identified in e-mails between senior MassDOT officials as Robert Chaves, on suspicion of drunk driving in the vicinity of the Lower South Providence neighborhood.
MassDOT officials were notified of the arrest at around 12:25 p.m. after Chaves was ordered off a job site Wednesday morning when he got into a verbal altercation with a state contractor over that worker’s “method of installation,” according to a written description by a MassDOT official of the sequence of events.
The details of the incident were revealed in a chain of e-mails between MassDOT management inadvertently sent to the News Service as they discussed the latest information available to them and a public response should they get questions from the media.
The Rhode Island State Police confirmed Chaves’s arrest to the News Service early Wednesday evening on charges of operating under the influence, and said the prisoner was still being processed as additional charges were considered. Damage to the vehicles hit by Chaves was minor, according to police, and no one was injured.
Acting Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, District 5 Highway Director Mary-Joe Perry and MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard were among the officials on the e-mail chain.
Goddard, when contacted by the News Service, declined to discuss the details of the incident or the identity of the state employee involved.
“MassDOT is aware of this incident of very serious and unacceptable behavior, and has taken immediate steps to suspend the Highway Division employee in question from work without pay until the results of the law enforcement investigation become available,” she said in an official statement.
MassDOT District 5 engineer Bill Travers relayed one version of the morning’s events in an email to other MassDOT management as told to him by Chaves’s supervisor Michael Mulkhern. Based on that account, Chaves was working on a traffic loop installation project in North Attleboro Wednesday morning when he began “yelling and cursing” at one of the contractors.
Mulkhern “de-escalated” the situation and ordered Chaves back to the electrician’s depot in Middleborough.
After the incident was reported to the District 5 office, Mulkhern relayed orders to Chaves that he report to district offices in Taunton, but Chaves showed up again near the job site in North Attleboro before being told a second time to go to Taunton.
Instead of going there, it appears that Chaves drove to Rhode Island and Rhode Island State Police called the District 5 office to report that he had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after striking several vehicles, according to Travers’ e-mail.
According to Travers, the MassDOT vehicle Chaves was driving sustained “minor damage,” but was towed by state police to a lot in Providence because it had run out of gas.
Chaves, according to the e-mails, has been employed as a MassDOT electrician since August 2016.
A fuel truck driver whom police said overdosed with the motor running outside a gas station has been convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence before, according to records from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.Police discovered Kristopher Phoenix bleeding from the nose and slumped to the floorboard of his truck after an overdose Wednesday morning, Police Chief Rick Jones said. Phoenix’s driver record indicates this wasn’t his first drug- or alcohol-related encounter with law enforcement: He was convicted of OVI in Ottowa County October 20, 2004. His license was suspended for eight months as a result of that arrest and conviction. Phoenix’s driver record also contains three other suspensions for infractions related to non-compliance and improper equipment. Phoenix’s tanker was stopped at a BP station along U.S. Route 50 and state Route 264 Wednesday when a passerby spotted his prone body and told a clerk inside.”It was kind of the perfect scenario of a bad storm, because you’ve got a fuel tanker truck with some sort of flammable liquid throughout the whole thing parked at a BP gas station with a driver who has overdosed on heroin,” Jones said. “You could not ask for a worse scenario.”The chief said he startled Phoenix when he got inside. Phoenix admitted to using heroin, Jones said, but he didn’t need naloxone to be revived. The truck also contained pills.Jones said Phoenix was on the clock; WCPO contacted his employer, but no one was available to talk about his arrest.
A suspended Franklin attorney is facing more than a decade in prison after her third arrest for drunk driving.Julia Compton was arrested on December 29, 2016, in Johnson County and charged as a habitual vehicular substance offender.Johnson County prosecutors also filed three other criminal charges against Compton including operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction, a felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person.“We have every intention of arguing that she spend some time in prison,” said Johnson County deputy prosecutor Rob Seet. “We have every intention of proving her guilty.”Mothers Against Drunk Driving is also pushing for Compton to receive a prison sentence.”Based on her history and her convictions of drinking and driving, I am concerned she’s going to hurt herself or somebody else, and I want to keep this community safe,” said Lael Hill, Indiana spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Call 6 Investigates was unable to get video of Compton’s December 2016 arrest because the case is still pending.However, Call 6 Investigates did obtain video of her March 29, 2012 arrest in Fortville.Police pulled over Compton after officers saw her driving on the shoulder.After failing her field sobriety and breath tests, police removed alcohol bottles from her car and struggled to get the handcuffs on her.When they took her back to the Fortville police station, Compton told them she was an attorney.At the time of her arrest, Compton was a licensed attorney in Franklin.“I’m an attorney, please don’t do this,” Compton told the officer. “I will do whatever you want me to do.”A chemical test showed Compton’s blood alcohol at .23, nearly three times the legal limit.“I’m a f****** lawyer, alright?” said Compton. “I will call the judge, ok?”Just a few months after the March 2012 arrest in Hancock County, Compton was arrested again in June 2012 for drunk driving in Johnson County.Johnson County prosecutors filed seven criminal charges against Compton including OWI with prior OWI within 5 years, OWI with a BAC of .15% or more, driving while suspended with a prior, and resisting law enforcement.Compton’s actions caught the attention of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, the agency that investigates allegations of attorney misconduct.In 2013, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Compton’s law license for six months, citing multiple alcohol related arrests within three and a half months.She also had to serve two years of probation with monitoring from JLAP, the judges and lawyers assistance program.In November 2013, Compton went to work at Marion County’s juvenile court as Best Practices Director where she handled court cases involving abused and neglected children.She resigned in October 2016, and in December 2016, Compton was arrested a third time in Johnson County for drunk driving.She’s facing more than a decade in prison if convicted.It wasn’t until after Call 6 Investigates started asking questions about Compton’s case that her driver’s license was suspended in court on May 30, five months after her third drunk driving arrest.Deputy prosecutor Rob Seet said Compton’s driver’s license suspension should have been automatic because Compton refused to take a test.It’s unclear exactly why the suspension did not happen immediately following Compton’s arrest.“I checked her license as I was kind of getting ready for trial, and I noticed that it was valid,” said Seet. “That’s a problem.”Seet said they moved to impose Compton’s license suspension on the day they noticed, which was on May 19, and the court chose to address the issue at the May 30 hearing.The BMV said they did not receive an order to suspend Compton’s license until June 1.MADD is concerned about Compton driving on the road with other Hoosiers.