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Woman had half-empty vodka bottle in vehicle while DUI

WESTPORT — A Westport cop may have stopped a possible wrong-way crash last night when he stopped a wrong-way driver trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway while driving under the influence.

Police charged Gina Heckel, 49, of Fairfield, with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, driving the wrong way on a highway, possession of narcotics and narcotics possession in its original container.

Around 9:15 p.m., an officer saw a vehicle — later found to be driver by Heckel — trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway at exit 41 northbound off ramp while traveling southbound. The officer turned on his overhead lights and followed the vehicle onto the ramp before cutting in front of it.

“(The officer’s) quick thinking and action prevented what could have been a tragic incident on the highway, not only for the part involved, but also for other innocent travelers,” said Police Lt Jillian Cabana in a news release.

The officer had Heckel pull into the nearby commuter lot. As he spoke to Heckel the officer said he detected a strong odor of alcohol and asked her to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, which she failed.

When Heckel was taken into custody, the officer took her cell phone and purse from the vehicle and saw a half empty bottle of vodka and loose pills — later found to be prescription pills that were not prescribed to her.

At police headquarters, Heckel was given a breathalyzer test and was found to be over the legal limit. She was released from custody after positing a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Westport-cops-Fairfield-woman-had-half-empty-12463762.php

Drug driving arrest as tree hits car

A35 tree strike

A falling tree injured two men when it crashed through the roof of a car in Hampshire during Storm Eleanor.

The driver and passenger were travelling on the A35 through Hinton Admiral when the tree fell on to the Ford Focus shortly after 03:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Police said both men were taken to hospital.

The road was closed by the Cat and Fiddle pub for more than three hours while the tree was cleared.

Police initially reported the driver had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Hampshire Constabulary later said: “We are investigating the full circumstances, but no arrests have been made.

“Apologies for any confusion after what was tweeted in the early hours of this morning.”

A35 tree strike

The Environment Agency had issued flood warnings and alerts across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, with coastal areas under threat from a combination of a high tide and large waves.

There were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads across Dorset in the wake of the high winds.

Dorset Police said there was “a morning of chaos” across the county on Wednesday.

The Met Office said gusts of up to 89mph (143km) were recorded on the Isle of Wight at about midnight.

Dorset tree downhttp://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-42551369?intlink_from_url=&link_location=live-reporting-story

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/