Woman arrested for driving on frozen river

According to state police, Jamie English was driving under the influence in Curwensville Borough around 8 p.m. on New Years Eve, when she drove her car down a boat launch and into the Curwensville River.

That’s when her car allegedly became stuck on the ice, and officials discovered that she had been driving drunk.

Officials tell us she will be charged with driving under the influence.

http://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/woman-arrested-for-driving-on-frozen-river/896935048

Weapons, ammo found in resident’s room in Hyatt Regency Downtown

Houston police have arrested a man who was initially going to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct at a downtown hotel, until officers discovered an arsenal of weapons in his room.

 

Houston police uncovered a small stash of weapons and ammunition Sunday morning after showing up to arrest a drunk man at a downtown hotel that hosts one of the city’s largest New Year’s Eve parties.

After hours of investigating, police charged 49-year-old Russell Lawrence Ziemba with assaulting a peace officer and trespassing.

“This was not Las Vegas,” said an official familiar with the case. “There was not an arsenal.”

Chief Art Acevedo took to Twitter to reinforce that sentiment.

“Situation from this morning at downtown hotel is contained,” he wrote. “No specific threats.”

Staff at the Hyatt Regency Houston initially called for police around 1:30 a.m. for help handling a highly intoxicated man at the hotel bar.

At first, security at the 1200 Louisiana hotel tried sending the argumentative guest to his room, but he started fighting with them, officials said. So security called the Houston police.

The first officer planned to arrest him for trespassing, but discovered the man was drunk and belligerent.

When the officer spotted ammunition lying around Ziemba’s hotel room, he decided to call for backup.

While gathering up the suspect’s belongings, police reportedly found an AR-15, a shotgun and a handgun, with many rounds of ammunition. But it wasn’t immediately clear why Ziemba brought guns and ammo to the hotel, and investigators had to wait for the alcohol to wear off before getting answers.

“He’s intoxicated so they won’t be able to interview him till he’s sobered up a bit,” Lt. Gordon Macintosh said early Sunday. The FBI confirmed it assisting with the case, but declined to offer any statement.

Authorities said they’d found and towed his truck to look for more weapons. Police said they questioned Ziemba until early afternoon.

“Based on limited amount of ammunition, interview and other investigative findings no unlawful intent found,” Acevedo tweeted just after 2 p.m.

An official familiar with the case said it appeared all three guns were legally owned, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Ziemba didn’t make any threats, the official said.

At the time of his arrest, the Tomball man was out on bond following a Dec. 23 misdemeanor arrest for allegedly carrying a handgun in his car, court records show. Previously, he’d been convicted twice for drunk driving.

Hyatt officials said the hotel will still hold its New Year’s Eve party featuring a 50,000-balloon drop at midnight from the top of a 33-story atrium. About 2,000 people are expected to attend.

“The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is our top priority, and consistent with the hotel’s prepared security plans, heightened measures are in place on New Year’s Eve,” hotel manager Tom Netting said in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with authorities on an investigation, and further questions should be directed to the Houston Police Department.”

 Houston police have arrested a man who was initially going to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct at a downtown hotel, until officers discovered an arsenal of weapons in his room.
Media: Metro Video

One Hyatt guest who said he observed the arrest said the hotel didn’t tell him anything about the incident, though the police presence didn’t have much impact on the lobby crowds as patrons came back from nearby bars.

“There wasn’t a big disruption,” said 32-year-old Zedshan Zakir, who had returned from a wedding reception when he spotted a man in cuffs on one side of the atrium.

By mid-morning Sunday, the police presence had died down and the Hyatt lobby was quiet even as the hotel geared up for a big night ahead.

“Heightened security measures, including support from local authorities, are in place and will continue through the hotel’s New Year’s Eve celebration this evening,” the company said in a statement.

Acevedo said Sunday that police and SWAT teams will be heavily deployed throughout the city.

“Proud of officers & Hyatt,” he wrote. “As always be vigilant & report suspicious activity to authorities.”

With amped up security, Houstonians went about their days downtown, some still making plans to attend the celebration.

Kelly Persaud said she anticipated turning out for the hotel’s festivities as she has in years past.

“They caught him,” she said. “You can’t live in fear, right?”

http://www.newstimes.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Arsenal-found-in-resident-s-room-in-Hyatt-Regency-12464555.php

Democrats running for Massachusetts governor in 2018 hope to repeal mandatory minimum sentences

The Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee hosted the three Democratic candidates for Governor Wednesday night. Committeee chair Candy Glazer, second from with the candidates Jay Gonzalez,left, Bob Massie and Setti Warren, right.The event was held at the Greenwood Center.   (MARK M.MURRAY/THE REPUBLICAN)
The Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee hosted the three Democratic candidates for Governor Wednesday night. Committeee chair Candy Glazer, second from with the candidates Jay Gonzalez,left, Bob Massie and Setti Warren, right.The event was held at the Greenwood Center.

All three of the Democrats running for governor in 2018 support repealing some mandatory minimum sentences, but they differ on exactly which ones to repeal.

Criminal justice reform is going to be a major priority for the Legislature in 2018, even before voters decide whether to replace Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who is running for re-election. The House and Senate both passed versions of a criminal justice bill that, among other things, would eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

But where the Democratic candidates stand could be relevant if the House and Senate fail to reach a compromise next year or if activists push for further changes in 2019 or beyond.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren favors a similar policy to what lawmakers are considering: repealing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. These are typically drug dealers.

“As opposed to putting them in the criminal justice system, let’s put people in treatment,” Warren said.

“What we know is evidence-based research that shows that mandatory minimums do not reduce criminal activity nor does it address the crisis in opioids we have here in the state of Massachusetts,” Warren said.

Former health insurance executive and state budget chief Jay Gonzalez wants to go further and eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences except for murder. These would include firearms crimes, operating under the influence and stalking, which all have mandatory minimums under certain circumstances.

“We should eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences except for murder and let judges do their jobs and take the individual circumstances of every particular case into account in determining the right sentence for that person,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the current system is not rational. For example, there is no mandatory minimum sentence for rape but there is for less serious offenses.

“The truth is we have them for some and not for others,” Gonzalez said.

He noted that there is also a significant racial disparity, where the people most likely to be hurt by mandatory minimum sentences are black and Hispanic.

Environmentalist and entrepreneur Bob Massie said he opposes mandatory minimum sentences, except “maybe” for the most violent crimes. “Discretion should belong to the judge,” Massie said.

In general, all the Democrats support policies that would result in fewer people being incarcerated.

Warren said it is important that people with nonviolent drug problems are diverted out of the criminal justice system and into treatment. He wants to ensure that people in jail have access to any necessary mental health or substance abuse treatment. And, he said, it is important to provide support services, such as help finding jobs, to people who have been released from jail.

Gonzalez said although Massachusetts has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the U.S., rates are still higher than in many countries. “We need to be focused much more on addressing the underlying causes of crime,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez supports investing more money in diversionary programs and specialty courts to keep people who need services like drug addiction treatment out of the criminal justice system. He supports more programming to help former inmates be successful when they reenter society.

Gonzalez also supports eliminating cash bail and reforming fees and fines to make sure the state is not incarcerating people solely because they are poor.

Massie similarly favors reforming the justice system in ways that lock up fewer people and make it easier for prisoners to rejoin society. “We need to rethink what it is we expect prisons to do — lock people up or move them through a process where they can re-enter society,” Massie said.

Massie wants to see more addiction treatment and education in the prison system. He believes solitary confinement should be eliminated as a “form of torture.”

Warren and Gonzalez both opposed marijuana legalization, but now say the state must act to implement the law as efficiently as possible. Massie supported legalizing marijuana.

https://articles.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/12/democrats_running_for_governor_3.amp

Car found wedged between two houses in Parma after drunk driver crashes

PARMA – A Jeep was found wedged between two houses in Parma Friday night.

Police say the 21-year-old driver was found stuck inside the car in the 6000 block of W. 54th Street.

The driver was found to be under the influence and was removed from the car. He was arrested for OVI.

Police say there was structural damage to one of the homes. At the time of the crash, people were inside both houses, but no one was hurt.

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/oh-cuyahoga/car-found-wedged-between-two-houses-in-parma-after-drunk-driver-crashes

Boy, 11, loses arm when dad, accused of 4th OWI, crashed early Christmas morning

An 11-year-old boy lost an arm when his father, who is accused of driving under the influence, crashed into trees early Monday morning.

Jeremy Froemming, 38, told an officer he took three different types of pills Sunday afternoon.

He crashed into trees near Highway 67 and Highway D in the town of Ottawa at about 1:30 a.m.

Both Froemming and his son were trapped inside.

The boy was flown by Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital, where he remains, but doctors were unable to save his arm.

Court documents show Froemming has three prior OWI offense. He is charged with intoxicated use of a vehicle — great bodily harm and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated — fourth offense, with a minor child in the vehicle.

http://www.wisn.com/article/boy-11-loses-arm-when-dad-accused-of-4th-owi-crashed-early-christmas-morning/14512190

POLICE: Doing donuts in parking lot leads to DWI arrest

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) – A Tonawanda man crashed his car into a brick wall and was charged with DWI after police say he was doing donuts in a parking lot.

Police say 22-year-old Michael Day told them he was “doing donuts and figure 8’s” in the BJ’s parking lot on Young Street Wednesday night when he lost control.  He smashed his Ford pickup against a brick retaining wall in the parking lot.

Day told police he had been drinking during the day, and blew a .11% when his BAC was tested.  He was charged with DWI and reckless driving.

https://www.wkbw.com/news/police-doing-donuts-in-parking-lot-leads-to-dwi-arrest

West Mifflin School District Superintendent To Stand Trial On DUI Charges

WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — The superintendent for the West Mifflin School District will stand trial on DUI charges.

West Mifflin School superintendent Daniel Castagna showed up in Beaver County Court on Friday to face charges of driving under the influence, speeding and careless driving.

In September, Castagna was stopped on Interstate 376 in Beaver County after his car was seen weaving and straddling the lane. State police say he had slurred speech, blood-shot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

State police say Castagna’s .15 alcohol blood level was nearly twice the legal limit.

“His reputation is suffering, obviously, with the nature of the allegations with the school district, but again, I can’t comment to that,” defense attorney Steven Valsamidis said.

The West Mifflin School District would only say that it’s taking the charges seriously. The law requires that Castagna receive due process, and this is considered a personnel matter. However, this is Castagna’s second DUI offense. Nine years ago, he went through the ARD program; it allows first-time offenders who go through the program to get the charges dismissed and their record expunged.

“This is a second offense DUI. Statutorily, he is eligible for ARD again in light of the circumstances of the first ARD. A little known fact a lot of people don’t realize, you can get ARD a second time for a second DUI,” Valsamidis said.

Castagna was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Jan. 30.

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/12/22/west-mifflin-superintendent-dui-charges-trial/amp/

Des Moines police officer charged with drunk driving, authorities say

Of the 54 drivers involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes in Iowa in 2016, 43 percent of them were repeat drunk driving offenders. Since 2005, more than 134,000 people have been charged with drunken driving. A Des Moines Register investigation. Wochit
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A Des Moines police officer was charged late last week after he was pulled over for driving with a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit, authorities said.

Brett Vanderpool, a probationary officer with the force, was arrested early Friday morning in Ankeny after he was pulled over on suspicion of driving while drunk, Sgt. Paul Parizek said. Vanderpool has been placed on administrative leave while Des Moines police conduct an internal investigation, he said.

Parizek said police officials were surprised by Vanderpool’s arrest, calling him an exceptional officer who had a lapse in judgment. He was hired as a probationary officer in January and was set to become a full-time officer Jan. 3.

Following the department’s internal investigation, Vanderpool could be suspended or terminated. Parizek said the officer was arrested with a blood alcohol concentration of .145; the legal limit in Iowa is .08.

“Everyone makes mistakes … but we set our standards high at this organization,” Parizek said. “Bottom line is, we’re not supposed to get arrested.”

Vanderpool is out on bond. He could not be reached for comment Monday morning

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2017/12/25/des-moines-police-officer-charged-drunk-driving-authorities-say/980605001/

Country star Michael Ray Roach arrested for DUI and possession of cannabis oil

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– Slurred speech and bloodshot eyes – that’s what Eustis Police say they noticed about country music star Michael Ray before conducting a field sobriety test captured on police body cameras outside a Eustis McDonald’s early Wednesday morning.

The 29-year-old, born-and-raised in Eustis entertainer, was arrested and booked into the Lake County Jail under his full name Michael Ray Roach. Officers say he was driving under the influence when he allegedly hit the car in front of him in the McDonald’s drive thru line, telling officers he was coming from a bar in Tavares.

“I feel what happened last night was very unfortunate, we all make bad decisions,” said Melissa Frazier, a family friend.

His loyal fans are standing by their hometown heartthrob, Frazier has known him and his family for years.

“I just feel really bad for him, I’m praying for him I know he’s resilient, he’ll bounce back but I just want people to know what great kind caring soul he is,” Frazier said.

Ray is still very connected to his hometown. His music video for his hit song “Kiss Me In The Morning” was all filmed in Eustis. In the video, he sings to the backdrop of a large crowd in the city’s downtown, and the video highlights Eustis lakes, wildlife and rural scenery.

“He’s the most wonderful artist to his fans, he has a following you can find Michael Ray fans everywhere, all over lake county,” Frazier said.

Roach was also charged with possession of cannabis after police say the found cannabis oil in the car he was driving.  He bonded out of the Lake County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

http://amp.fox26houston.com/entertainment/country-star-michael-ray-roach-arrested-for-dui-and-possession-of-cannabis-oil

Poll: People get behind the wheel when impaired because they think they are OK to drive

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – The Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA, Inc. (TIRF USA), in partnership with TIRF in Canada and with sponsorship from Anheuser-Busch, released the third annual Road Safety Monitor (RSM) on alcohol-impaired driving. The public opinion poll conducted in September and October 2017, investigated U.S. drivers’ opinions and behaviors in relation to this issue. Results are based on a representative sample of 5,027 drivers, aged 21 years or older.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater accounted for 28 percent of total motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2016. This percent is the lowest since 1982. However, expressed in absolute numbers, data show there were more alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2016 (10,497) compared to 2015 (10,320).

According to Dr. Ward Vanlaar, Chief Operating Officer of TIRF in Canada and a co-author of the study, “When asking U.S. drivers why they drove when they thought they were over the legal alcohol limit, our data consistently reveal the number one answer is that they thought they were “OK to drive.” Other top reasons include driving short distances, thinking they can drive carefully, and simply not thinking about it. In other words, a lack of appreciation of the dangers associated with this behavior appears to be an important factor. This is concerning.”

The poll revealed a smaller percentage of drivers in 2017 thought they had no alternative to alcohol-impaired driving in comparison to previous years. This may indicate that drivers are learning about alternatives to driving while impaired, such as ridesharing and safe ride programs, which have been hailed as promising countermeasures.

The three years’ worth of RSM data collected to date (2015, 2016 and 2017) show that the number of U.S. drivers reporting alcohol-impaired driving was the highest in 2016, which is also the year with the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In fact, since 2014, there have been two consecutive increases in this number from 9,943 in 2014 to 10,320 in 2015, and to 10,497 in 2016. These increases have taken place in a context of decreasing concern about the issue, both measured in relation to other societal topics as well as other road safety topics.

According to Vanlaar, however, there is perhaps also some good news as the 2017 RSM data reveal decreases in the prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving in comparison to 2016. “While there is no perfect correlation between self-reported behavior and its consequences, our RSM early warning system suggests there might be a decrease in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017. Continued monitoring will be essential to inform countermeasures.”

Click here to download: Alcohol-Impaired Driving in the United States. Results from the 2017 TIRF USA Road Safety Monitor.

About the poll. These results are based on the 2017 TIRF USA RSM, an annual public opinion survey developed and conducted by TIRF USA, in partnership with TIRF in Canada. A total of 5,027 U.S. drivers aged 21 years or older completed the poll in September and October of 2017. Results can be considered accurate within plus or minus 1.4 percent, 19 times out of 20. The data were stratified and weighted by sex, age, and region. The majority of the questions were answered using a scale from one to six where six indicated high agreement, concern, or support and one indicated low agreement, concern, or support, as well as numerous yes/no questions. All respondents completed the survey online.

About TIRF USA. The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA, Inc. (TIRF USA) is to develop and share the knowledge that saves – preventing injuries and loss of life on American roads, reducing related social, health and insurance costs, and safeguarding productivity. TIRF USA is an independent road safety research institute that obtained 501(c)3 non-profit status in the U.S. in 2014 and is affiliated through an exchange of services agreement with TIRF in Canada, established in 1964. Visit us online at www.tirf.us or twitter.com/tirfusainc

About Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch and its employees build on a legacy of corporate social responsibility by focusing on three key areas: promoting alcohol responsibility, preserving and protecting the environment and supporting local communities. In the past three decades, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have committed more than $1 billion in national advertising campaigns and community-based programs to encourage responsible drinking and prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. Anheuser-Busch reduced total water use at its breweries 32 percent over the last 5 years and by 45.5 percent over the last 10 years. The company has been a leading aluminum recycler for more than 30 years. Since 1997, Anheuser-Busch and its Foundation have invested in local communities through donations of more than $573 million to charitable organizations. The company also has provided more than 76 million cans of emergency drinking water to people impacted by natural and other disasters since 1988. Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch, the leading American brewer, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/poll-people-get-behind-the-wheel-when-impaired-because-they-think-they-are-ok-to-drive-665194953.html