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Surf icon arrested on suspicion of DUI drugs

PIPELINE MASTER: Bruce Irons acknowledges the crowd after receiving his trophy during his induction into the The Surfers’ Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2007. Irons was arrested on Npv. 22, 2018, by Newport Beach Police on suspicion of DUI. (File photo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Big-wave Hawaiian surf icon Bruce Irons was found asleep in a running vehicle at a Newport Beach gas station and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to police.

Irons was seen in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, on Nov. 22, at 8:18 a.m. at a 76 gas station on Pacific Coast Highway, said Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department. “Someone called it in that they couldn’t wake the person up,” she said. “We knocked on the window several times.”

The arrest happened at about 11:22 a.m. after police believed the 39-year-old surfer was under the influence of drugs. Irons was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2007, his name set in cement among other surf legends.

Surfers Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Irons of Hawaii. Handout

He was a fierce competitor in his heyday during the 2000s, with a win against Kelly Slater in the 2001 Pipeline Masters and a stand-out performance and win at the 2004 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

Irons, who grew up in Kauai, is known for his fearless approach to surfing big waves. In 2005, he was ranked 9th on the world championship tour, according to the World Surf League.

His older brother Andy Irons, a three-time surfing champion, had a long battle with drug use and died in 2010 at age 32, a tragic end to one of surfing’s most beloved characters who was 11-time world champion Slater’s only true rival.

Bruce Irons surfs his 100-point wave en route to winning the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay, Hawaii, on December 15, 2004. (File photo by Kevin Sullivan, The Orange County Register/SCNG)


Irons spoke about his brother’s drug use during their younger years in the film “Andy Irons: Kissed by God” made by a Laguna Beach filmmaker and released earlier this year

“He was definitely living it up, and he was also paying the price,” Irons said in the film. “I would hear a lot of stuff, I wouldn’t be with my brother, it would just be a fight. I was trying to stay away from him. I was still trying to get through school.”

In a more recent interview with Huntington Beach forecasting, Irons talked about grappling with his brother’s death.

“I just try and balance the lows of sadness … and I do get my tears out, you know. But I have to try and stay positive,” Irons said in the article. “Happiness attracts happiness and darkness attracts darkness. And I believe that whatever you put out is what you get back.”

In an interview with TMZ, Irons said he’s confident he will beat the DUI drug allegations against him, calling it a “hiccup in the road” and saying he’s “innocent until proven guilty”.


Surf icon Bruce Irons, whose brother Andy died from overdose, arrested on suspicion of DUI in Newport Beach

Michigan’s adult-use marijuana law takes effect Thursday.

The wait is nearly over for Michigan residents eager for the state’s new adult-use marijuana law to take effect.

On Thursday, just 30 days after state voters said yes to Proposal 1, a lot of what’s been illegal about marijuana suddenly becomes legal in Michigan.

But what exactly happens? Here are answers to key questions about recreational pot in Michigan:

So on Dec. 6, I can legally own and use pot in Michigan?

Yes, if you’re in Michigan and are 21 or older, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana anywhere, anytime, said Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. That means you could legally have it in your car, or in your bag if you drop by the courthouse on business.

But you cannot consume it in your vehicle or in public. Using pot in a public place is prohibited, as is smoking it where it’s prohibited by whoever owns or manages the property.

And while you can have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, no more than 15 grams of it can be in the form of a marijuana concentrate.

Also, the new law will allow you to possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in your home. Any amount over 2.5 ounces must be locked away.

Where will I be able to buy marijuana?

Nowhere yet, not until retail shops open sometime in 2020.

Until then, the law allows one adult to give for free up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to another adult. Also, if you live in Michigan, you will be able to grow marijuana in your home as of Thursday.

Adult-use retail marijuana shops probably won’t open until the first quarter of 2020, according to David Harns, public information officer with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Business license applications will be available by Dec. 6, 2019, Harns said.

The law was written to facilitate adding retail cannabis onto medical marijuana businesses, in order to speed setting up the retail system, according to Hovey.

Some medical marijuana provisioning centers could open in nearby towns like Niles and Buchanan before 2020, but they would be open only to registered Michigan patients.

And whether those potential medical cannabis locations or different businesses would be able to sell adult-use marijuana would be up to the cities.

What’s the news about opting out?

Niles City Council already voted to opt out of retail marijuana sales for the time being, while Buchanan delayed a possible opt-out vote. Niles Charter Township board is expected to discuss the issue, but it’s unclear when.

If a municipality does not want adult-use marijuana businesses, the board or council has to vote to opt out of the law, Matt Bach, director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League, said.

This is the opposite of the medical marijuana commercial business law, which required municipalities to opt in if they wanted to allow the businesses.

The new adult-use law indicates municipalities could have up to a year from the law’s effective date to opt out before retail businesses might start applying for licenses, but it’s a little fuzzy.

Bach said the municipal league is advising its 520 members to consult with their municipal attorneys and decide what’s right for their town.

Niles Charter Township Supervisor Jim Stover said that since the township does not allow medical marijuana businesses, it might opt out of allowing retail marijuana businesses as well. He said the issue will be discussed before a vote is taken.

“Our lawyer hasn’t said it [opting out] must be done immediately,” Stover said.

Can I possess and use pot in Michigan if I live in Indiana?

Yes, according to Hovey. As long as you are 21 or older and are in Michigan, you can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and you can consume it, if you are not in a public place. So don’t light up in your car or in the park. When retail marijuana shops open, you’ll be able to buy at them, too, even if you are a Hoosier, as long as you can prove you’re 21 or older, Hovey said. Remember, though, that as soon as you cross the state line back into Indiana, it is illegal to possess or consume marijuana.

What about driving?

Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance is illegal, and if your driving is impaired, police say you could be arrested, in Michigan or Indiana.

Will old pot charges be dropped?

Maybe, maybe not. County prosecutors have discretion on what to do and many are exercising it differently.

In Kalamazoo County, for instance, the prosecutor is dismissing pending cases where the alleged crime becomes legal under the new pot law.

But in Cass County, Prosecutor Victor Fitz says he will not dismiss any pending cases because the law is not retroactive.

Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Pierangeli said his office will not dismiss any current charges even after the law takes effect. Charges will be handled on a “case-by-case basis seeking a just result,” according to Pierangeli.

Can I grow it at home?

Yes. The new Michigan law allows you to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in your home. That means a maximum of 12 plants per household, not 12 plants per adult. The 12 plants are not included in the 10-ounce home possession limit, Hovey said.

Lush Lighting, south of Niles, carries agricultural supplies and equipment to cultivate all types of plants. Owners Matt and Renae Johnson are marijuana legalization advocates and can offer advice on growing cannabis.

Matt Johnson said the business has seen a 20-percent jump in sales since Proposal 1 passed on Nov. 6. But he also thinks most people who’ve wanted to grow marijuana probably already are doing so by being registered under the existing medical marijuana law.

A place like Lush Lighting can sell you the tools to start growing, but it can’t sell you the plants or seeds.

If someone is looking to start legally growing their own plants at home, then they need to know someone who already has the plants or seeds and see if the person will give them a few, according to Hovey.

Port commissioner, former supervisor arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter

STOCKTON — Longtime community leader Victor Mow was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence following a fatal collision with a pedestrian in west Stockton, police reported.

A police report stated Mow was driving eastbound on Country Club Boulevard near Fontana Avenue, west of Interstate 5, just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, when he struck an 82-year-old man in the roadway. The victim apparently was not in a crosswalk. When medics arrived, they pronounced the victim dead.

The victim was identified as Muhammad Ashraf Butt of Stockton, according to the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office. Further details of the collision have not been provided.

Mow, 77, a member of the Stockton Port Commission, former Stockton vice mayor and chairman of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, remained at the scene of the accident.

Responding officers determined through their investigation that Mow was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time his vehicle struck Butt. His blood alcohol content was measured at 0.10 percent, higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent to be considered legally impaired, police reported.

Mow was booked into San Joaquin County Jail later that night and released early Thursday morning, according to police and jail records.

Mow’s biography notes that he is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served during the Vietnam War. He is a graduate of University of the Pacific and California State University, Stanislaus, having earned a master’s degree in public administration. He served for two terms on the Stockton City Council and two terms on the county Board of Supervisors. He was appointed by the board to the Port Commission in 2010.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller has known Mow for many years, working with him while she was director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance and Mow served on the City Council. She followed the same path as Mow, first serving on the City Council then getting elected to the Board of Supervisors after Mow termed out.

“It’s tragic for everyone involved, for the victim and his family and for Vic and his family,” Miller said.

“I’ve known him for many, many years and he’s always been a real gentleman and a real thoughtful elected official.”

Miller said it was too early to know how Mow’s arrest will impact his county appointment to the Port Commission.

Douglass Wilhoit, a former county supervisor and current chief executive officer of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, has known Mow since the early 1980s before Mow was first elected to the City Council. Wilhoit said he was saddened and shocked upon learning of the accident.

“I’m sending a lot of prayers to both the victim and his family and Victor and his family,” Wilhoit said. “Knowing Victor and his family, he is a very caring person, as is his wife. I’m sure certainly they are devastated.”

School Bus Crashes Into Woods

RI-Bound School Bus Crashes Into Woods Off Route 24

About 25 people aboard a school bus that crashed on its way back to Tiverton were rushed to hospitals late Saturday night.

BERKLEY, MA — All 25 people aboard a school bus that crashed on its way back to Tiverton, RI, were rushed to hospitals late Saturday night, and the driver of another car is accused of driving under the influence, according to police.

The passengers on the bus ranged in age from very young children to elderly adults. The severity of injuries varied, but injuries were not initially believed to be life-threatening. Two adults were seriously injured, police said.

Police arrested the driver of the other car that went off the road and plan to charge that person with operating under the influence of alcohol. Police are still investigating whether that caused the crash.

A mass casualty incident was declared, bringing in mutual aid in the form of fire trucks and ambulances from approximately a dozen cities and towns.

The passengers were transported to Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Charlton Memorial Hospital and Morton Hospital.

Shortly after 10 p.m., police, fire and EMS units from multiple jurisdictions were called to Route 24 southbound in Berkley near shy of exit 10 after dispatch centers received multiple 911 calls that an occupied school bus had crashed and had possibly rolled over. Early reports indicated people were trapped on the bus. Police later clarified the bus did not roll over, but it had gone off the road into the woods.

Rt. 24 was shut down for more than an hour on Saturday evening with vehicles detoured off the highway at exit 11. One exit was re-opened southbound shortly after 11 p.m.

The incident occurred in Berkley, and the incident will be under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police.

‘Drunk’ Tesla driver, 45, arrested for ‘falling asleep behind the wheel while his car was on autopilot mode’ driving down the highway at 70mph

  • California man Alexander Samek, 45, was arrested Friday morning at 3.37am
  • He was found passed out behind the wheel of his Tesla Model S car by officers
  • His car is believed to have been on autopilot mode going down Highway 101 at 70mph while the driver was asleep 
  • California Highway Patrol officers had to drive in front of his car to slow it down 
  • He allegedly failed a field sobriety test and was arrested
  • Officers suspect that his car was on autopilot mode, investigation to take place 
Alexander Samek, 45, was arrested in Palo Alto early Friday morning at 3.37am in his grey Model S Tesla and was identified by Redwood City Police

A California man has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after he was found asleep behind the wheel of his Tesla believed to be running on autopilot mode.

Alexander Samek, 45, was arrested in Palo Alto early Friday morning at 3.37am in his grey Model S Tesla and was identified by Redwood City Police.

Cops followed his car after spotting the Tesla driving south on Highway 101 at 70mph while it looked like the driver was passed out behind the wheel.

They suspect the car was on autopilot mode, but a proper investigation will take place.

In order to get the car to stop a California Highway Patrol officer had to get in front of the Tesla to make it slow down and eventually pull over at a gas station.

When officers peered into the car, the driver was still passed out.

The officer who pulled him over said the driver appeared very drowsy and possibly sleeping, according to KTVU. 

The driver was woken up and allegedly failed a field sobriety test and was arrested, according to ABC. 

Cops followed his car after spotting the Tesla driving south on Highway 101 at 70mph while it looked like the driver was passed out behind the wheel 

Cops followed his car after spotting the Tesla driving south on Highway 101 at 70mph while it looked like the driver was passed out behind the wheel

But this isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened.

In January CHP officers pulled over a Tesla and found an allegedly drunk driver also passed out behind the wheel and was found to have a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, according to CBS.  

Officer Art Montiel says the autopilot function on the smart cars should only be used to assist driers while they’re awake and sober and actively using the wheel.

Tesla hasn’t commented on the incident.

Hearing scheduled in OVI case against Sheriff’s wife

— A change of plea hearing has been scheduled in the OVI case involving the wife of the Miami County Sheriff, according to court records.

Sheri Duchak, 52, the wife of Sheriff Dave Duchak, previously pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content greater than .236 that were filed in Miami County Municipal Court stemming from her Aug. 8 arrest in Piqua.

The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Retired Kettering Municipal Court Judge Thomas Hanna has been assigned to the case, and a special prosecutor was appointed.

According to a Piqua Police Department report, police at Pisenbarger Park saw a woman, later identified as Duchak, drive across the center line of South Street and strike a curb, then drive across a sidewalk, through the grass and over the parking lot curb. Her vehicle also hit a grass island barrier with a concrete curb before pulling up to a cruiser parked in the parking lot. The officer reported Duchak appeared confused with bloodshot and glassy eyes.

During the incident, Duchak told the officer that her husband is the Miami County sheriff and repeatedly told the officer to call “Bruce,” referring to Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamison, and said they would lose their jobs, the report stated.

In an audio recording of the conversation, obtained by this news organization through a records request, Duchak told officers, “the two of you are in peril.”

On Aug. 23, Piqua police reported they received the results of Duchak’s urine test, which showed her blood-alcohol content was .360. This is more than four times Ohio’s legal driving limit of .08.

Jamison and Sheriff Dave Duchak both praised the department’s professionalism in handling Sheri Duchak’s arrest.

According to court records, attorney Jack Hemm is representing Duchak.

Woman jailed on OVI, weapon’s charges

A Norwalk woman spent the Thanksgiving holiday behind bars, thanks to a traffic stop that resulted in a felony charge.

After police administered field sobriety tests, Nickoli, 43, of 62 Simpson Ave., was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). She was taken to the police station, where she refused to submit a breath sample, police said. She was issued a citation for the OVI and traffic offenses.

A loaded handgun and other suspected contraband were located inside Nickoli’s vehicle after her arrest, police said.

As a result, Nickoli also was charged with improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fifth-degree felony, police said. She was taken to Huron County Jail, where she remained as of Friday morning.

The matter was referred to the Law Director’s Office for review and consideration of additional charges.

Man arrested after fleeing from deputies, attempting to jump off overpass


MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — A West Allis man has been arrested for third OWI after causing a one-car crash and attempting to flee from authorities.

Deputies were called to a one-car crash on I-94 westbound near General Mitchell Blvd around 9:45 p.m. on Saturday.

The car was located off the freeway in a grassy ditch.

The driver, later identified as Edwaljer Coats, attempted to leave the scene and walk in traffic.

Coats then allegedly walked to the overpass above Mitchell Blvd and straddled the bridge wall.

Officers were able to get him to come back over but he allegedly became combative.

Coats is now facing charges of 3rd OWI and Resisting/Obstructing.

Contractors can’t account for 234 seized vehicles, audit says


NC contractors can’t account for 234 seized vehicles, audit saysRALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Contractors hired by North Carolina to tow, store and auction vehicles seized during DWI cases cannot account for 234 vehicles, according to a state audit.
Martin Edwards & Associates, Inc. and Eastway Wrecker Service, Inc. were contracted to handle vehicles as part of North Carolina’s DWI/Felony Speeding to Elude Vehicle Seizure Program.
The vehicles handled by the contractor would be connected to repeat DWI offenses and for felony speeding to elude arrest cases.
Read the audit
The audit states Martin Edwards & Associates can’t account for 221 vehicles of the 4,772 it seized.
Eastway was unable to provide documentation for 13 of the 4,018 vehicles, the audit states.
The vehicles had an approximate value of $634,000.

The audit report includes a six-page list of automobiles that were seized by the state and are now unaccounted for.
“Because contractors were unable to provide documentation supporting the status or location of these vehicles, there is a risk that contractors inappropriately benefited from the contract,” the audit states.
The vehicles were seized between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2016.
The Department of Public Instruction was in control of the program from Dec. 1, 1997 to Feb. 29, 2016.
The Department of Administration’s State Surplus Property Agency took over the program as of March 1, 2016.
Auditor Beth Wood told CBS North Carolina her investigators had great difficulty in trying to get information from Martin Edwards and Associates.
She says they were “uncooperative and rude” and at one point a company staffer “threw a subpoena at one of her auditors” when they were ordered to produce documents.

According to the audit report, Martin Edwards and Associates
Actively hindered the audit
Was unwilling to produce requested documentation
Had poor record keeping
Could not produce over 440 documents
When consumer reporter Steve Sbraccia called the company to try to get answers and said he was as a reporter, a person identifying herself as Nicole said, “let me stop you right there. We have no comment.”
“It is our recommendation that the state of North Carolina not do business with that eastern vendor,” said Wood.
The state seized the cars under a program that takes away vehicles from those arrested repeatedly for DWI or those who flee police during high-speed chases.
Martin and Associates writes on its website that it in fact gets many of the cars it auctions from the state seizure program under its contract with the state.
The auditor wants that contract pulled.
“The bottom line, the DPI did not do their job,” said Wood.

In a response letter attached to the audit report, DPI says it was never set up to oversee a vehicle auction program as this is not part of our core function.”
Some of the money generated by sales from the seized vehicles is supposed to go the state’s public schools, which is why the seizure program was supposed to be overseen by the Department of Public Instruction.
Auditor Wood says the program was moved from DPI to the Department of Administration last year and that DOA is now taking steps to insure a situation like that won’t happen again.
She explained what DOA must do.
“The Dept of Administration needs to look at the number of vehicles seized monthly and tie it back to documentation from the vendor saying it’s been released, sold or on their lot,” said Wood
Meanwhile the search is on to locate the hundreds of vehicles that can’t be accounted for.
CBS North Carolina has learned the state License and Theft bureau is now on the case, trying to track down what happened to the vanished vehicles. The auditor says it will be up to that agency to decide if criminal charges need to be filed once it completes its investigation.

The audit report also says Eastway Wrecker Service cooperated fully regarding the investigation into the 13 vehicles it couldn’t account for.
The audit scope included a review of Program activities between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2016.
The audit recommends the Department of Administration should monitor contractors regularly and determine to what extent the contractors are able to provide these services under current and future state contracts.
The Department of Administration said it began monitoring the program as soon as it was handed to them in March 2016 and agrees with the audit’s findings.
Martin Edwards released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“Martin Edwards is disappointed that we were not given an opportunity to either review or respond to the state’s audit prior to its release to the media. The report currently indicates that the paperwork for 221 vehicles was not provided. Martin Edwards, in fact, complied with requests for document production on four different occasions, sending more than 3500 pages of documents to the state auditor’s office. Martin Edwards has cooperated fully with this audit.

Deputy injured in early morning I-65 crash

A Jefferson County deputy was injured in an early morning crash on I-65 involving a DUI suspect, according to authorities.

State Troopers say a DUI suspect lost control of his vehicle on I-65, left the roadway, struck a guardrail and reentered I-65 where he hit a tanker truck. The vehicle finally came to a rest in the middle of a dark roadway.

Following the initial crash, a Jefferson County deputy traveling in the area struck the suspected DUI driver’s vehicle which sent the patrol vehicle into the guardrail, crossed over into I-65 SB and flipped multiple times. Authorities say the deputy and DUI suspect were taken to UAB for treatment. Neither of their injuries are believed to be serious.