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2 NYPD officers busted for drunk driving in separate incidents

Two members of the NYPD — one in a high-ranking post and the other a just a rookie — were busted early Sunday morning for separate incidents of drinking and driving, police said.

NYPD Sgt. William Shaleesh, 48, crashed his 2016 Hyundai into a parked car on East 34th Street near Avenue U in Brooklyn just after 12:30 a.m. Cops responded to a 911 call at the location to find the sergeant allegedly drunk, police said.

Shaleesh has more than 25 years on the force, most recently with the department’s Special Operations Division. He was suspended without pay and charged with driving while intoxicated.

It was not immediately clear if Shaleesh, a Brooklyn resident, was alone in the car at the time.

Less than two hours later, NYPD Cadet Olano Gayle, 21, was driving his 2006 Audi in the wrong direction on Grand Concourse near East 156th Street in the Bronx just before 2:30 a.m. when he rear-ended an ambulance.

But instead of pulling over following the crash, the cadet fled the scene in his car — still traveling the wrong way on Grand Concourse, police said.

Gayle, whose friends were with him at the time, was stopped by cops near East 159th Street and arrested.

https://nypost.com/2018/03/18/nypd-cadet-busted-for-drunk-driving/

CDOT Has ‘The Cannabis Conversation’ At Community Open House

DENVER – People talk about pot in Colorado every day. Whether they’re buying it, using it, or getting a whiff of it while cruising down the road.

cdot cannabis conversation 10pkg transfer frame 0 CDOT Has The Cannabis Conversation At Community Open House

But a cannabis conversation inside a Denver recreation center Wednesday was a bit different.

The subject – driving high. It’s a big problem in our state and the reason why the Colorado Department of Transportation recently launched their multi-year safety campaign “The Cannabis Conversation.”

cdot cannabis conversation 10pkg transfer frame 330 CDOT Has The Cannabis Conversation At Community Open House

They want to talk with the public about the dangers of driving high, and why some think it’s okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana.

cdot cannabis conversation 10pkg transfer frame 954 CDOT Has The Cannabis Conversation At Community Open House

“For me, I feel like sometimes using cannabis doesn’t make me impaired, it actually makes me focused,” Alex Rubin, a regular cannabis consumer, said.

Rubin said he attended CDOT’s open house meeting at the Montclair Recreation Center “to just be a little more informed.” He told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann he uses cannabis every day and knows his limits.

As for if he’s ever used and then gotten behind the wheel…

“I know if I feel more stoney or more cloudy, I know that I probably should be doing anything cognitive,” Rubin explained. “But that doesn’t’ mean I should never use and then get under the wheel.”

cdot cannabis conversation 10pkg transfer frame 630 CDOT Has The Cannabis Conversation At Community Open House

But that is exactly what some marijuana companies, health groups and especially Colorado State Patrol – all who had Q & A booths at the meeting – say drivers shouldn’t do.

“It is not okay to drive a motor vehicle if you’re utilizing marijuana,” CSP Sgt. Rob Madden said to the small group who attended the meeting.

cdot cannabis conversation 10pkg transfer frame 480 CDOT Has The Cannabis Conversation At Community Open House

“They’re saying that any form of cannabis consumption is not okay, and if you’re using cannabis, you should never drive or do anything,” he said. “I think that is a little bit skewed in some ways for people who use cannabis every day.”

Rubin added that cannabis affects everyone differently, especially in the various ways it can be consumed. He said he is happy CDOT has launched a conversation around marijuana, but he thinks the focus should be on defining impairment.

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(credit: CBS)

“Where is that bar? Where is that line? I think an educational campaign from people or dispensaries that are selling the products is an important way to do it,” he said.

CDOT is continuing ‘The Cannabis Conversation’ in Fort Collins on Tuesday, March 27.

For more details and to take an online survey to weigh in on the issue, visit: https://www.codot.gov/safety/alcohol-and-impaired-driving/druggeddriving.

CDOT Has ‘The Cannabis Conversation’ At Community Open House

Council candidate charged with DUI after car goes in ditch

A county council candidate was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after she drove into a ditch on Jersey Road on March 20, according to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

Julie D. Brewington, 51, of Salisbury, told a responding deputy that she drove off the road when she received a phone call, the sheriff’s office said.

Brewington is a Republican candidate for an at-large seat on the Wicomico County Council in the upcoming Primary Election.

The single-vehicle crash took place just before 8:30 p.m. on Jersey Road near Adkins Road in Salisbury. An investigation showed that after leaving the roadway, the operator appeared to drive approximately 75 yards in the ditch parallel to the road, according to the sheriff’s office.

The deputy met with Brewington, the operator of the vehicle, and detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage, the sheriff’s office said. Brewington was slurring her words, appeared confused and was uncooperative, according to the sheriff’s office.

Brewington refused to sign paperwork related to the DUI arrest, the sheriff’s office said. The deputy transported Brewington to the Central Booking Unit where she was processed and taken in front of the District Court Commissioner. Following an initial appearance, the commissioner released Brewington on personal recognizance.

In addition to the DUI charge, she also was charged with using a handheld telephone while her vehicle was in motion, failure to control speed to avoid a collision, negligent driving and driving while impaired by alcohol.

http://ux.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2018/03/21/wicomico-council-candidate-charged-dui-after-car-goes-ditch/445904002/

Courtroom erupts after man found guilty in fatal crash

GOSHEN – Minutes after an Orange County jury convicted Gregory Cardona of criminally negligent homicide and reckless driving in the crash death of girlfriend Ashley Martinez, months of tensions and resentment between the two families exploded into shouts and name-calling.

The fracas started Wednesday morning just after deputies led Cardona out of court to the inmate holding area, when Assistant District Attorney Matthew Healy stepped toward the rail to speak to Martinez’s family, who filled one side of the gallery.

From the crowd across the courtroom, Cardona’s stepfather muttered an insult at Healy, which set off a woman in Martinez’s family.

“We lost Ashley!” she shouted, adding an insult. “She’s dead! She’s dead!” the woman wailed.

Several court officers stationed in the courtroom for the verdict quickly stepped between the families, keeping them separated despite attempts by a few people to get at the other side.

An Orange County Court jury found Cardona, 28, guilty of criminally negligent homicide, a felony, and reckless driving, a misdemeanor, in the Aug. 30, 2016 crash that killed 25-year-old Martinez. The jury acquitted Cardona on the top count, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, and a misdemeanor count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, a decision that seemed to stun both families.

The verdict suggests that jurors did not find proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Cardona was impaired by marijuana. Healy and Senior Assistant District Attorney Lorri Goldberg argued at trial that Cardona was high and driving recklessly at the time of the crash.

Cardona, 28, of New Windsor, faces up to two to four years in prison on the criminally negligent homicide charge. That time could run consecutively to the aggregate four to 12 years in prison Cardona is serving for violating probation on previous grand larceny and forgery charges.

The courtroom was silent as Judge Robert Freehill took the verdict, as the jury was polled and as the jury exited.

Goldberg asked the judge to order Cardona held without bail, and to return him to prison to await sentencing.

Cardona’s lawyer, Jaime Santana, asked that Cardona be kept at Orange County Jail.

“Mr. Cardona is remanded, and he will be returning to state prison,” Freehill ruled, and deputies led Cardona out of the courtroom.

Freehill called a recess, and no one in the gallery stood.

After a few moments of silence, the fracas began.

As the court officers worked to hold back and calm people, the woman continued screaming in grief and anger, tears falling. Shouting continued from a couple of people on each side. At one point, as the court security held back family members, Cardona’s stepfather stepped on a bench to reach over an officer. The officers, and it appeared other relatives, quickly got him down.

A few minutes later, court officers ushered Martinez’s family out of the courtroom.

Cardona’s family remained in the courtroom until court officers got the clear sign that Martinez’s family had left the premises, a procedure court security staff has used since the start of the case because of the simmering tensions.

Cardona will be sentenced June 5.

http://www.recordonline.com/news/20180321/courtroom-erupts-after-man-found-guilty-in-fatal-crash

Impaired Driver Mistakes Jail Booth For Drive-Thru, Orders Breakfast

A Long Island woman’s quest for breakfast ended in a jail cell after police say she drove up to a jail security booth and mistook it for a fast food drive-thru window.

Lizabeth Ildefonso, of Jamesport, N.Y., was arrested on March 16 after she drove up to the Suffolk County jail and tried to order a “bacon, egg, and cheese.” According to the Riverhead News-Review, the 44-year-old was told by Suffolk County deputies that she was really at a jail but kept demanding breakfast. Ildefonso “insisted that she really wanted a sandwich,” the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Officers at the jail noticed that Ildefonso’s eyes were glassy and she had a white powder in her left nose before performing a sobriety check. After “performing poorly” in a field sobriety test, the woman was arrested for driving while impaired by drugs. Police also noted that the 44-year-old was driving without a valid license.

The Sheriff’s office says Deputy Sheriff Yvonne DeCaro, who arrested Ildefonso, had just completed a course to help identify impaired drivers.

“It apparently was put to good use today although the surrounding circumstances were a little unexpected,” the Sheriff’s office added.

Impaired Driver Mistakes Jail Booth For Drive-Thru, Orders Breakfast

Deputies arrest man they say rammed deputy’s vehicle with stolen pickup

 

YAKIMA, Wash. — A 29-year-old Yakima man awaiting trial on possessing a stolen motor vehicle and domestic violence charges is accused of ramming a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle with a stolen pickup early Tuesday morning.

Bail was set Tuesday at $100,000 in Yakima County Superior Court for the suspect. At the time of his arrest, he had been released from jail as part of the court’s pretrial release program, which required him to check in regularly with court staff.

In the latest incident, a deputy had stopped a Chevrolet pickup for a minor traffic violation near Branch and South Wapato roads about 12:10 a.m., according to court documents. When the deputy learned the truck had been reported stolen in Yakima, he tried to get the driver to step out of the vehicle, but the suspect instead drove off, a probable-cause affidavit said.

Deputies and Washington State Patrol, Wapato and Yakama Nation Tribal police officers joined the pursuit, the affidavit said, with speeds reaching 70 mph. The truck stopped on Progressive Road, and the driver then rammed the back of the truck into a deputy’s vehicle, court records said.

The truck became high-centered on the deputy’s hood, as the suspect continued to gun the engine, the affidavit said.

Authorities said the suspect tried to bite deputies as they took him into custody. One of the deputies used a Taser stun gun twice to subdue the suspect, the affidavit said.

The deputy’s vehicle was rendered inoperable, but no deputies had any injuries requiring medical care, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect is being held on suspicion of first- and third-degree assault, eluding police, possessing a stolen vehicle, resisting arrest, driving under the influence of intoxicants and third-degree driving with a suspended license.

https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/crime_and_courts/yakima-county-deputies-arrest-man-they-say-rammed-deputy-s/article_77db9268-26c4-11e8-a46e-7f7a090796d5.html

Hit-and-run driver pinned dad between cars in parking lot

Mohammed Fawad Mohammadi, 27, told the Portland Tribune that he was visiting Oregon’s coastline with his wife and infant son on March 6 when got involved in a minor car accident in a Walgreens parking lot in Lincoln City.

After Mohammadi and his wife got out of their car, police said the other driver, identified as Perry Nicolopoulous, 68, put his car in reverse and backed up toward the couple for a second time while their young son was still inside their vehicle. Mohammadi said he pushed his wife away but was pinned between the two vehicles.

Police said Nicolopoulous then drove toward Mohammadi again, striking his car a third time as he managed to roll away.

“I called to my wife to grab the baby and run,” he told the Portland Tribune. “She acted quickly, but our car was rammed three times with the baby inside. I’m so lucky they’re both OK.”

Mohammadi was flown by helicopter to a trauma center in Portland, where he underwent surgery to repair his leg, which was severely crushed, according to a GoFundMe campaign created by a coworker to help offset his lofty medical expenses.

“Currently it appears that he is suffering from the crushed leg, broken hips, fractured spine and numerous facial injuries,” according to the website, which garnered more than $33,000 in donations as of Wednesday. “At this writing he is undergoing a second surgery to save the leg. The doctors have prepared him for the high likelihood that the surgery will not be successful.”

Peter Sollom, director of the Palisades Market grocery store in Lake Oswego, where Mohammadi works, said Mohammadi immigrated to the United States nearly three years ago from his native Afghanistan, where he worked as an interpreter for the US military for four years. He was also known to customers and colleagues as the “soup king” due to his affinity for tinkering with some of the recipes at the grocery store.

Stephanie Ballard Agramonte, who started the GoFundMe page, said many staffers at the location were angry when they learned of the hit-and-run accident.

“The evening we got the details on what happened, so many people had the same reaction: ‘People are horrible. Can you believe what people will do?’” Agramonte told the Portland Tribune.

Investigators believe the crash was an “intentional act,” Jason Palmer, a spokesperson for the Lincoln City Police Department, told The Oregonian on Tuesday.

Nicolopoulos was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants. He was later additionally charged with attempted murder and assault. He remains in custody at the Lincoln County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He’s scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, The Oregonian reports.

Palmer said there’s no indication thus far that the deliberate attack constituted a hate crime, although investigators had not yet determined a motive.

“It appears that the victim was random,” Palmer said. “We find no connection between these two individuals.”

Mohammadi, meanwhile, expects to be hospitalized for another month, and full recovery might come within six months, he said. For now, he’s enjoying well-wishes from strangers and the love of his wife and young son.

“I feel so great when I saw all of my friends coming in, people coming to say hi and to relax with me,” he told the Portland Tribune. “Even people I don’t know, seeing them say nice things about me on Facebook. They wrote things wishing me health. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

https://nypost.com/2018/03/14/hit-and-run-driver-pinned-dad-between-cars-in-parking-lot-cops/

Woman had drugs in system in fatal Interstate crash

Amanda Runtz

Group trying to figure out role of pot in impaired-driving accidents

Group trying to figure out role of pot in impaired-driving accidents

A panel of experts from the cannabis, public safety and transportation industries gathered at Colorado State University-Pueblo Thursday to discuss misconceptions and discuss the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving.

The discussion was the first public happening of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s new public safety campaign called The Cannabis Conversation, which is seeking the input of Coloradans to identify solutions to a problem that contributed to 77 fatal car wrecks in 2016 alone.

According to CDOT Communications Manager Sam Cole, the department previously orchestrated ad campaigns to get the word out about cannabis-impaired driving, which he said were successful in notifying the public of the dangers and legal repercussions of driving under the influence of marijuana but seemingly did little to curb citizens’ behavior.

 So instead of another ad campaign to speak to cannabis users, CDOT decided to host The Cannabis Conversation in order to facilitate a conversation in which Coloradans could weigh in.

Some of the primary topics discussed at the meeting included how marijuana consumption effects drivers, current law enforcement methods for detecting drugged driving, and ongoing research into tools that measure impairment.

All of the panelists agreed that marijuana consumption can cause impairment that makes it dangerous to operate a motor vehicle, but noted that because marijuana has not been researched as extensively as other impairment-causing drugs, such as alcohol, it is unclear to what extent.

The lack of research is attributable to the relatively new status of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, and panelist Kristi Kelly, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said a number of research studies on marijuana impairment are being conducted in the Centennial State.

Cole expressed that though research has not yet identified the extent to which marijuana causes driving impairment, studies have shown that being under the influence of marijuana does impact perceptions of distance, speed and time.

“We would all agree that at a certain level, yes, marijuana does impair your ability to drive,” Cole said.

“I think where everything gets squishy is in the research addressing at what level. Does somebody have to smoke a whole joint? Eat a whole edible? Or would they be fine just having a hit or two off a joint and they can still drive?

“Science just really hasn’t met us there, so we’re still having this discussion, both in the scientific and research community. Meanwhile, CDOT is really digging deep into this data to understand a lot more about these crashes that involved somebody who was high.”

A variety of factors play into how impaired each individual driver may be after consuming marijuana, including the amount consumed, time elapsed since consumption and the individual’s tolerance.

Because marijuana can be detected in a person’s blood long after they’ve consumed it, panelist Jack Reed, a statistical analyst for the Colorado Department of Public Safety, detailed that the state enforces existing driving laws by first identifying impairment through behavioral cues and later testing for a specific type of THC called Delta-9.

Colorado law dictates a person cannot legally drive if any more than 5 nanograms of Delta-9 THC is detected in his or her blood and Reed said Delta-9 is different from other types of THC in that it is usually only detectable in significant quantities when marijuana has been consumed within a short time of being tested, typically around two hours.

While research surrounding marijuana impairment and its effect on a citizen’s ability to drive continues to progress, panelist Matt Herrera, manager at the Pueblo Starbuds Dispensary, said he advises his customers to simply treat marijuana consumption the same way they do other impairment-causing drugs.

“There’s a misconception when it comes to alcohol and marijuana that a lot of people think marijuana is way less of a problem and it’s not,” he said.

“Even if the number is one marijuana-impaired driving fatality, that is one too many,” Kelly said.

“So compared to alcohol for example, the numbers are significantly lower than alcohol. But in our opinion, one is still too many. So our goal, and why we work with CDOT … is because we are fully committed to educating folks on the road so that they can make the right choices beforehand.”

http://www.montrosepress.com/national/news/group-trying-to-figure-out-role-of-pot-in-impaired/article_c49ff135-2611-5073-a984-9d71c701b697.html

Man hospitalized after crashing into school bus, bicyclist, tree

Driver suspected of driving under the influence, police say

  • A man was hospitalized with serious injuries after his car collided with a bus, bicyclist and tree in short succession on Bollinger Road in West San Jose on March 12, 2018. The driver is suspected of driving under the influence. (Courtesy of Don Draper)

A San Jose man suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol was rushed to a hospital Monday morning with life-threatening injuries after being involved in a crash with a school bus and bicyclist, according to San Jose police.

The driver, who was not immediately arrested because of the severity of his injuries, was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday, according to San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia.

San Jose police said they responded to a hit-and-run crash at 7:11 a.m. on Bollinger Road at Lawrence Expressway. A San Jose man, who has not been identified, was driving a red Acura westbound on Bollinger when he collided with a school bus also traveling on Bollinger, east of Lawrence Expressway.

The driver of the Acura continued westbound on Bollinger and hit a bicyclist, according to police.  The driver did not stop and continued on Bollinger, past the intersection at Lawrence Expressway, and crashed into a tree.

The driver of the Acura was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

San Jose man hospitalized after crashing into school bus, bicyclist, tree