Judge arraigned on charges in hit-and-run crash

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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.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/macomb/2018/08/27/macomb-county-judge-arraigned-hit-and-run-crash/1115112002/

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.

https://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/crime/2018/08/27/shreveport-police-officer-arrested-dwi/1112002002/

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.”

https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/eastex/news/article/Liberty-county-jury-gives-Splendora-man-life-in-13185097.php

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.

TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE ON 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.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6104457/Sober-female-truck-driver-appears-heavily-intoxicated-hardly-talk-pulled-over.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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.

https://katu.com/news/local/deputies-arrest-bend-woman-beverly-marsden-accused-of-driving-wrong-way-before-head-on-crash

DUIs are down in Philly, but the influence of Uber and Lyft remains blurry

DUIs are down in Philly, but the influence of Uber and Lyft remains blurry

Arrests for intoxicated driving dropped more precipitously in Philadelphia over much of the last decade than in any other Southeastern Pennsylvania county. At the same time, use of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft skyrocketed.

So what is the connection, if any?

From 2009 to 2017, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or drink dropped 33 percent in Philadelphia, compared with 13 percent decline statewide, according to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report. No other county in the region reported that significant a drop. The number has fallen 14 percent in just two years, from 2015 to 2017.

Drunken driving crashes also show a dramatic decline in Philadelphia from 2015 to 2017, according to AAA, though fatality numbers haven’t dropped. In the last five years, an average of 17 people each year have died in the city’s drunken driving crashes.

During that 2015 to 2017 span, Uber and Lyft took off in Philadelphia, according to recently obtained data from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. From July through September 2016, the two companies provided 4.6 million trips in Philadelphia. During the same time period a year later, that number jumped to 7.6 million trips.

Ride-share apps now provide more than 10 million trips a quarter, the PPA reported — more than double the number of just two years ago.

So the ride-share and DUI data are related, right?

Uber certainly thinks so. The San Francisco-based tech company reports that trips peak nationwide at times when people are typically drinking, such as Fridays and Saturdays. In Philadelphia specifically, six of the top 10 destinations after 9 p.m. are places that serve alcohol, and trips departing bars peak around the time the city’s watering holes close, the company reported.

Uber Ridership in Philadelphia

Number of pre-arranged rides per quarter, fiscal year 2017 to FY 2018

SOURCE: Philadelphia Parking Authority
Staff Graphic

The company also noted that riders reported in a national survey that they chose Uber as a safe way to get home, something independently supported by a recent study from New York City transit researcher Bruce Schaller. That study found that ride-share users most often used the service to avoid drinking and driving or to avoid the cost and irritation of finding parking.

DUI Arrests Down Since 2010

The total number of DUI arrests by state and local police shows a downward trend in Philadelphia and surrounding counties.

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report
Staff Graphic

The question of whether ride sharing is reducing drunken driving came through Curious Philly, a forum where readers can ask journalists about their communities. It turned out to be an inquiry with answers more nuanced than a simple yes or no.

The general sense is that ride sharing is helping, but it’s unclear to what extent.

“It’s possible that there’s a reduction in alcohol-related crashes in Philadelphia that is attributable in part to ride sharing,” said Christopher Morrison, a Columbia University professor who has studied the issue. “We just don’t know that for sure.”

Muddying the waters are the many other factors that affect drinking and driving — and a lack of data. Alcohol consumption among young people is down, for one thing. Drinking and driving has also been in an overall decline since 1998, according to PennDot data, a trend that’s held even as vehicle miles traveled in the state have increased. Also in decline are motor vehicle violations issued by the Philadelphia police overall. Doing less traffic enforcement would likely lead to fewer DUI arrests.

http://www2.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/dui-drunk-driving-decrease-philadelphia-uber-lyft-rideshare-20180821.html

Beto O’Rourke arrested in 1990s for burglary and DWI

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas has said that in younger days he was twice arrested in his hometown of El Paso–once, he says, for leaping a campus fence and the other time for driving while intoxicated.

Readers have asked us whether the third-term congressman challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has a criminal history. We decided to fact-check mention of the arrests in a 2012 TV ad that also was screenshot for an April 2017 Texas Tribune news story.

In the ad, sponsored by then-U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, text next to what looks like O’Rourke’s mugshot states that the “facts” are that O’Rourke has a “criminal record” including burglary and DWI. The ad’s narrator says O’Rourke “has a criminal record that includes DWI and burglary arrests.”

That he does, we confirmed, which he’s acknowledged since his first run for office.

We tried to phone and email Reyes about his claim and failed to connect. Next, we attempted to get our own fix on the facts by seeking documentation of the DWI arrest through a public information request to the El Paso Police Department. Martin Rodriguez, a department records specialist, said by email the agency had no responsive records. We similarly queried the University of Texas at El Paso about the earlier arrest and didn’t immediately hear back.

 

Separately, we ran a background check of O’Rourke using the LexisNexis service. According to the results, O’Rourke’s May 1995 misdemeanor arrest on the UTEP campus was later declined and his September 1998 misdemeanor DWI arrest in El Paso was dismissed.

The check gave us case numbers for the arrests enabling us to fetch an El Paso County record stating that O’Rourke was initially arrested in May 1995 and that case was disposed of in February 1996. We saw too that after the DWI arrest, according to another county record, O’Rourke was referred to a misdemeanor diversion program in March 1999 and completed “DWI school” in May 1999. That document’s last entry, dated Oct. 20, 1999, says: “Misdemeanor diversion completed successfully.”

Campaign: O’Rourke often confirms arrests

When we sought detail from O’Rourke’s spokesman, Chris Evans, he said by email that O’Rourke had consistently addressed his arrests, notably during campaign stops in Paris, Sunnyside, San Antonio and Houston, where O’Rourke told a group in August 2018 that he spent a night in the El Paso County jail after what he referred to as his 1995 arrest for criminal trespass.

In San Antonio, a resident told O’Rourke she’d seen what someone described as his mugshot. O’Rourke replied: “More than 20 years ago, I was arrested–not once, but twice. So you should know that and we should all own that, if asked.” O’Rourke specified that he’d been arrested for attempting to hop a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso and later, he said, for a “far more serious mistake: I drove under the influence of alcohol. There’s no justifying that.”

April 1995 news story

The oldest published account of the arrests appears to be an April 2005 El Paso Times news story about O’Rourke’s successful run for a seat on the El Paso City Council. The story, which we found by searching the Nexis news database, quoted the incumbent, Anthony Cobos, stressing O’Rourke’s DWI arrest. Cobos, who later served as county judge before being convicted on embezzlement charges, said at the time: “I think you lead by example and his example speaks for itself.”

According to the story, O’Rourke was arrested on a DWI charge in September 1998 that was dismissed in 1999 after he completed a court-recommended DWI program. “I’ve been open about that since the very beginning. I have owned up to it and I have taken responsibility for it,” O’Rourke told the paper.

The Times further reported that court records showed that O’Rourke earlier was arrested in 1995 at UTEP on a burglary of building charge, which was later dropped. O’Rourke told the paper: “That happened while I was in college. I along with some friends were horsing around, and we snuck under the fence at the UTEP physical plant and set off an alarm. We were arrested by UTEP police. … UTEP decided not to press charges. We weren’t intending to do any harm,” he was quoted saying.

O’Rourke’s campaign later provided a photo of a document Evans described by email as the original UTEP police report on O’Rourke’s arrest there. It says O’Rourke and two other students were arrested at the university’s Physical Plant under the “burglary” portion of the state penal code, section 30.02, for “attempted forcible entry.”

Congressman Reyes’ TV ad

Seven years later, then-Rep. Reyes unveiled his ad, which was still viewable online as of Aug. 22, 2018.

A May 2012 Times news story on the ad quoted O’Rourke saying that he was driving an intoxicated friend home when he was arrested for DWI. The story said that according to police records, O’Rourke completed a diversion program and the charge was dismissed.

In August 2017, more recently, O’Rourke described the arrests to an East Texas newspaper. The Palestine Herald-Pressquoted him saying: “Some 20 years ago, I was charged with driving under the influence and, during my college years, I jumped a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso which resulted in a burglary charge,” O’Rourke said. “I was not convicted of either.

“Both incidents were due to poor judgement and I have no excuse for my behavior then. However, since then, I have used my opportunities to serve my community and my state. I’m grateful for the second chance and believe that we all deserve second chances.”

Our ruling

A 2012 Reyes TV ad still viewable online six years later said O’Rourke “has a criminal record that includes DWI and burglary arrests.”

O’Rourke’s comments and records indicate that UTEP police arrested O’Rourke in 1995 for  burglary, a misdemeanor charge disposed of the next year. In 1998, El Paso police arrested O’Rourke for DWI, a misdemeanor charge that was dismissed after he completed “DWI school” the next year.

We rate the claim True.

https://www.chron.com/politics/politifact/article/Beto-O-Rourke-arrested-in-1990s-for-burglary-and-13175793.php

FDLE: Hundreds of Northeast Florida DUI cases may be wrong

Breathalyzer tests in Duval, Nassau, St. Johns purchased from unofficial vendor

By Ethan Calloway – Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Imagine getting arrested for driving under the influence, only to later learn you weren’t actually over the legal limit. It could happen to hundreds of cases in Northeast Florida.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement discovered more than 250Breathalyzer tests distributed by the Florida Highway Patrol within Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties weren’t completed properly. Despite that, it says there’s no way to know for sure those tests are inaccurate.

“It’s junk. It’s just plain junk,” said David Robbins, a DUI attorney. “They are playing with people’s lives and it’s reckless.”

According to the FDLE, the breathalyzer tests administered October 2017 to July 2018 may have been calibrated using unapproved methods as they were purchased from an unofficial vendor. That means they could be wrong.

As attorney Susan Cohen explained, whether the case is admissible depends on what’s known as the alcohol reference solutions. Those are used to determine the results of the breathalyzer in the field.

Still, Cohen said, the outcome doesn’t mean all affected DUI suspects will avoid conviction.

“The only thing this impacts is the breath test result.” Cohen said. “While that is significant, there may be other evidence, there may be a video, there may be sufficient other evidence that the state can still prosecute the case.”

Robbins said in many instances, it wouldn’t make a difference if the case was thrown out.

“People lose their jobs, people get jail sentences. You can’t give them back a jail sentence. They’re not going to get their job back,” Robbins said.

FDLE said it’s unclear why the solutions were purchased from an unapproved vendor. FHP said going forward officers will be using the approved solution.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/https:/www.news4jax.com/news/florida/fdle-hundreds-of-northeast-florida-dui-cases-may-be-wrong

Deputy fought with officers during drunk driving arrest

Deputy Robert Nathan Fontana, 27, was arrested Saturday for AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – A Wayne County deputy was arrested for drunk driving and fighting with officers in Auburn Hills early Saturday morning, police said.

Deputy Robert Nathan Fontana, 27, is facing a drunk driving charge, as well as misdemeanor charges of possessing a firearm while intoxicated and resisting arrest, according to officials.

Police said Fontana was pulled over about 1:12 a.m. Saturday after he was observed driving at 90 mph and nearly hitting another car on northbound I-75 near Lapeer Road. The deputy informed arresting officers that he was armed with a pistol, and he was arrested for drunk driving.

While being transported to the police station, officers said Fontana was able to get his handcuffs in front of himself. The deputy then attempted to choke himself out, according to police. Officers said that when they pulled over to resecure the deputy, he became combative.

Fontana was taken to the hospital before being transported to the Oakland County Jail, according to officials.

Fontana was arraigned on Monday. His bond was set at $20,000, officials said.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/wayne-county-deputy-fought-with-officers-during-drunk-driving-arrest-in-auburn-hills-police-say