In Canada it’s currently illegal to paddle a canoe and be drunk at the same time. Doing so can leave you subject to the country’s strict drunk-driving laws, which can mean fines, driving license suspensions, and vehicle impoundment. But wait! According to the National Post, paddling a canoe while smashed might soon not be a crime at all.
The crux of the issue is whether drunk people should be prosecuted for a crime that, on land, would not be a crime, since being drunk while operating a non-motorized vehicle on land (like a bicycle) is not a crime, while being drunk while operating any kind of vessel on water is, including those, like canoes, that you power solely with your muscles.
Some advice, before we continue: Don’t canoe while drunk. Or do anything, really. Take a nap.
The impaired driving legislation now before Parliament changes the definition of a vessel so that it “does not include a vessel that is propelled exclusively by means of muscular power.” The legislation could still be amended before it becomes law.
John Gullick, chair of the CSBC, argued that the comparison with biking is wrong.
“The only person who gets hurt is the person riding the bicycle. Well, in the case of muscular or human-powered vessels, there can be far many more numbers of people in the vessel, and it also affects people around the vessel. First responders, people who are searching for people who get lost or get in trouble.”
The committee later heard from Greg Yost, a justice department counsel for criminal law matters. He said the intention of criminal impaired driving laws is to target those who are endangering the public, and that drunk canoeists who cause a death could still be charged under other criminal sections, such as negligence.
The debate was spurred in part by a rash of cases in Ontario, where authorities have been cracking down on drunk paddlers.
In 2011, a Waterloo canoeist who’d allegedly been drinking and paddling on Belwood Lake had his driver’s licence suspended for 90 days, leaving him unable to drive his pregnant wife to the hospital for medical checkups (though he could have still paddled her there, as canoes don’t need a licence).
That same year, a 57-year-old man was charged with operating a pedal boat under the influence near Sault Ste. Marie, and also had his licence suspended.
The charges were dropped in both cases after prosecutors decided there was no reasonable chance of conviction.
The proposed legislation is also intended to clear up ambiguity in the current law, which makes it hard for drunk-paddling charges like these to hold up in court. Think before you drink. Or don’t drink at all. Or don’t go outdoors. Just stay inside. Nothing bad can happen there.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the impaired driving convictions of a woman who was found slumped over in her car on three occasions after allegedly inhaling from a can of dust remover.
The chemical in the can — 1,1-Difluoroethane, or DFE — was found in the woman’s system, and she was convicted of three counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a hazardous substance. But the Supreme Court overturned her convictions because DFE is not listed as a hazardous substance under Minnesota’s driving-while-impaired statute.
“We acknowledge that based on our holding today, a driver dangerously intoxicated by DFE is not criminally liable under the plain language of the current DWI statutes,” Justice Natalie Hudson wrote for the majority. She said it’s up to the Legislature to refine the law.
DFE is found in refrigerated-based propellant cans, commonly sold under the brand name Dust-Off, that are used to clean computer keyboards and electronics. Each time the woman, Chantel Lynn Carson, was found in her car — slumped over, passed out, slurring and with bloodshot eyes — she had one or more of those cans with her.
In arguing that her convictions should be upheld, the state said that while Minnesota’s occupational safety and health rule on hazardous substances does not specifically list DFE, the rule also says it “does not include all hazardous substances and will not always be current.”
The rule also includes a list of “characteristics” that would make a substance hazardous. The state argued that DFE has many of those characteristics and falls into that category.
But the Supreme Court disagreed, saying the statute plainly says that the types of hazardous substances that can lead to a driving-while-impaired conviction are limited to those specifically listed.
Justice Anne McKeig dissented, saying DFE has the characteristics of a hazardous substance even though it’s not mentioned by name.
“Under the court’s interpretation of the statute, Minnesotans may inhale Dust-Off and then drive at their pleasure while endangering their fellow citizens,” she wrote. “This impunity cannot be what the Legislature intended.”
Carson’s attorney, Lydia Villalva Lijo, said in a statement that the decision was great news for her client.
“She continues to work hard every day to contribute in positive ways to her community and to keep her life on track,” she said. “It has been a hard road and we should encourage her progress.”
A veteran Baltimore City SWAT officer is under investigation after an argument over kneeling for the national anthem led to an encounter with police in Carroll County, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned.
The argument — and suspicion that the city police officer was impaired while on call and using an SUV carrying SWAT guns — took place just after midnight Saturday in Westminster, according to police.
Westminster police were called to a Denny’s restaurant for disorderly customers. Customers were reported to be arguing over NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, police said.
In the parking lot, Westminster police encountered a customer identified as Bryant Russell. In a report, an officer wrote, “I detected a moderate odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person and exhaled breath. Further, I noticed his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. His speech was slurred as he talked.”
Police had been told the group had been drinking at a wedding before going to Denny’s.
Russell responded, according to the reports, “He was a Baltimore City police officer. You’re not going to intimidate me or threaten me.”
Westminster police were concerned Russell was going to drive.
“I advised if I observed him operating the vehicle, he would be placed under arrest for driving under the influence, at which time he replied, ‘Don’t threaten me,’ and again advised he was an officer,” according to the Westminster police officer’s report.
The vehicle Russell was using wasn’t his personal car but a black SUV owned by the Police Department and used by SWAT officers.
In their report, police said, “Russell advised there are ‘guns in the vehicle,’ and that he was on call, and could drive the vehicle anywhere in the state,” the report said.
A Baltimore Police Department policy governs the use of so-called take home vehicles: They are to be used only for official duties and responsibilities, and officers who have them can’t exhibit conduct that discredits BPD.
Westminster police did not arrest Russell. They did not see him drive. The officers were sent to another call. When they returned to Denny’s, Russell and the SUV were gone.
MARATHON, Fla. – Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrested an intoxicated Marathon woman after she led them on a chase up U.S. Highway 1.
The deputies were called to a McDonald’s at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and witnessed Janice Hastings, 60, blocking traffic in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane.
After a customer and manager asked her to move, Hastings drove her car across the lot and parked across several spots.
When one deputy approached Hastings’ car, the manager told him he believed the woman was intoxicated.
As the deputy attempted to speak with Hastings, she hit the gas, jumped a curb and began driving north on U.S. 1.
Driving at speeds up to 45 mph, Hastings refused to stop with three deputies in pursuit. Another deputy was able to puncture all four of her tires after deploying spikes at an intersection.
However, Hastings kept driving with four flat tires and began fishtailing and endangering other drivers.
The car eventually came to a stop at mile marker 57.2, but Hastings refused to open her car door or window, shouting at officers that she was not drunk.
A passerby told deputies she had seen Hastings leaving J.J.’s Doghouse bar and driving erratically, running through a traffic light and hitting the median several times. The woman made the first call to 911 about Hastings’ driving.
Deputies said Hastings refused to take a sobriety test on the roadside or at the detention center after she was placed under arrest.
While in the detention center, Hastings also bit a deputy when he attempted to remove gum that she refused to spit out of her mouth.
Hastings was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving, DUI, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.
NC firefighter clearing storm debris killed by suspected drunk driverBY MARK PRICEmsprice@charlotteobserver.comLINKEDINGOOGLE+PINTERESTREDDITPRINTORDER REPRINT OF THIS STORYOCTOBER 09, 2017 8:05 AMA Burke County firefighter was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver around midnight Monday while answering a call about storm debris on a roadway.Triple Community firefighters were dispatched to the site of a fallen tree that was blocking several lanes of Highway 70 near the Drexel intersection, according to media outlets. Triple is about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte, near Morganton.The firefighter was identified as Jason Keith Hensley, 40, according to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV. He died instantly, media outlets reported.ADVERTISINGBurke County was under a Tornado Warning on Sunday evening and a tornado was confirmed to have touched down around the southeast of Morganton in Burke County.Firefighters were in the process of clearing debris when a vehicle traveling east on Hwy 70 struck Hensley, WBTV reported.The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged 58-year-old Randall Stewart with driving while impaired, driving without a license, reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, reported WBTV.Stewart allegedly struck two other vehicles that were parked at the scene including Hensley’s personal vehicle which had the emergency lights activated, troopers told WBTV.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When Grand Rapids Police Officer Adam Ickes told his shift commander that the driver in a wrong-way crash he was investigating was Josh Kuiper, he was quick to say the then-assistant prosecutor was “hammered” and “visibly intox.”
Ickes’ initial analysis of the crash scene was captured in recorded police phone conversations with then-Lt. Matthew Janiskee and Sgt. Thomas Warwick.
But before the recordings were made public last month based on an MLive Freedom of Information Act request, Ickes downplayed his word choice and dismissed the notion that Kuiper showed signs of being visibly intoxicated during a May 11 deposition with Brian Molde, an attorney at Johnson Law, PLC.
The contrasting statements between the deposition and “unrecorded” phone conversations have led Molde and attorney Vernon “Ven” Johnson to accuse Ickes of falsifying a police report and lying under oath. They said they plan to recommend a perjury charge against Ickes to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. Johnson Law is the attorney for the crash victim, who was injured when Kuiper crashed his truck into his parked vehicle.
“This is a guy who the city and the Grand Rapids Police Department knows he falsified his police report,” Johnson said of Ickes. “He absolutely knew (Kuiper) was hammered … this man should have been fired.”
A 27-year police veteran concluded that former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper was intoxicated in November when he caused a wrong-way crash in Grand Rapids.
Molde and Johnson are representing Daniel Empson, who is involved in lawsuits against Kuiper and three of the bars that they said allegedly over-served Kuiper on Nov. 19.
During the May civil deposition, Molde questioned Ickes’ use of the word “hammered” and said the word choice indicated that the officer was certain Kuiper had been consuming alcohol to the point he was intoxicated prior to the crash.
“No,” he said, according to the deposition transcript. “I knew he had been drinking. The use of the word hammered is what I used. I wouldn’t — in my verbiage I don’t say ‘had been drinking,’ I normally say intoxicated, intox, you know. He had been drinking, I knew that much.
“Apparently I used hammered today — that day. That’s just the term I used.”
Ickes went on to say that he doesn’t know why he used the term “hammered” but that it has caused him “a lot of grief over the last few months.” He also said Kuiper didn’t slur his words that evening, and that he couldn’t smell any alcohol on his person following the crash.
In his police report, Ickes wrote that alcohol was suspected as a contributing factor in the crash. He indicated that no alcohol test was offered, and wrote in his narrative that no breathalyzer was offered “due to dexterity performance.”
“He actually stood quite well, had good balance,” Ickes told Molde during the deposition. “(He) didn’t have any overt signs of heavy intoxication, but he stated he had been drinking, there was a crash, so, I had to do, you know, to check to make sure.”
Ickes put Kuiper through three sobriety tests. The officer told Molde that Kuiper’s performance during his dexterity tests made him change his opinion regarding whether he was “hammered.”
However, his impression of Kuiper’s performance varied between what he told his shift commander that night and his analysis shared with Molde six months later.
“He got through the alphabet, hand dexterities were OK,” Ickes said to Janiskee, according to police phone recordings. “He said he couldn’t do the one-foot stand because his knees were not great so I skipped that one. Then we did the walk and turn, which wasn’t awesome at all. I’ve got two that were passable, one that wasn’t good.”
When Warwick showed up on scene, he called Janiskee on the city phone line he believed wasn’t recorded, and told him Kuiper was “f—-ed up.”
The public waited nearly 10 months to hear the conversation between officers after an assistant prosecutor’s crash on Nov. 19.
In January, Sgt. Stephen LaBrecque was asked by Chief David Rahinsky to conduct an operating-while-intoxicated investigation regarding the Nov. 19 crash. He reviewed Ickes’ body-worn camera footage as part of the investigation, and interviewed witnesses.
In his report, LaBrecque wrote that Kuiper’s speech was slow and deliberate, and that he had to think before answering questions. He also said Kuiper paused after the letter “F” while reciting the alphabet, before continuing, and that he lost his balance slightly during the walk-and-turn test, causing him to step backward to the left.
Ickes told Molde he didn’t have any concerns with how Kuiper answered his questions, and said he didn’t notice the pause or the slight loss of balance seen by LaBrecque.
“Again, that’s his interpretation of things,” Ickes said to Molde. “I don’t know how he feels. I know how I feel about the tasks and I’ve told you that I felt that it was performed well enough and I couldn’t tell you what this sergeant’s interpretation is.
“The determination I made at the scene is the one that I made. I’m not going to go back and arm chair quarterback myself on the video or what his determination is.”
Kalamazoo Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, acting as a special prosecutor for the case, determined there was no evidence of neglect of duty or obstruction of justice on the part of Ickes.
The state Court of Appeals ordered Grand Rapids to release the recordings taken from a “non-recorded line” in response to MLive lawsuit.
After reviewing all available materials related to the crash, LaBrecque concluded that the former prosecutor was driving his truck while intoxicated.
“Based on the information gathered in this investigation as well as my experience of nearly 27 years as a police officer, and several years as a crash investigator, Mr. Kuiper operated his truck while intoxicated/impaired by alcohol and caused a crash that resulted in serious injuries to Mr. Empson,” LaBrecque wrote in his report.
Kuiper was later charged with a felony for reckless driving causing serious impairment of a body function and a misdemeanor moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function. He is currently appealing the charges, claiming the victim’s fractured shoulder didn’t constitute as a serious impairment.
Despite Police Chief David Rahinsky’s recommendation to have all three officers terminated from their positions, city officials suspended Ickes and Warwick for 160 hours without pay. Warwick was also demoted from sergeant to patrol officer, while Janiskee was fired.
The document shows what the city police officers said to each other during phone calls on a line they believed was not recorded.
“Lying on a police report is grounds for termination,” Johnson said. “Every single police report (Ickes) writes from now on should be called into question. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want this guy pulling me over and lying on a police report.”
Johnson and Molde are hoping to strengthen Empson’s civil lawsuits against Kuiper and the three establishments that served him alcohol.
Attempts to contact the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association for comment on behalf of Ickes were not immediately returned.
COLUMBUS — A preliminary hearing for a South Solon driver accused of fatally injuring a Barnesville man in a construction zone early Saturday morning has been scheduled for Oct. 10 in the Franklin County Municipal Court. Edward A. Torres, 30, is facing one count of aggravated vehicular homicide while impaired, a second-degree felony, and aggravated vehicular homicide while driving reckless in a construction zone, a third-degree felony, according to the court’s website. Torres is suspected of being impaired when he struck and killed Steve L. Cook, 59, on Interstate 70 in Franklin County. Torres was released from the Franklin County Jail after Callif Bonding LLC posted a surety bond on his behalf. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or abuse drugs as a condition of his bond. A 2009 Honda Odyssey operated by Torres entered the eastbound lanes of I-70 at Hilliard-Rome Road at 1:35 a.m. Saturday before moving into the construction zone where three right lanes were closed to traffic. He passed a marked deputy sheriff’s cruiser that had emergency lights activated. “He drove around barricades and around construction equipment before striking a worker,” said Columbus police Sgt. Brooke Wilson, who oversees the Accident Investigation Unit. According to the affidavit, “Mr. Torres came upon a large pavement roller in the middle lane of those closed lanes and switched to the rightmost lane. Mr. Torres took his eyes off the roadway to look down at his cellular phone and when he raised his head to look back at the roadway there was a construction worker … directly in front of him.” The Odyssey then struck Cook, who was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and pronounced dead. Investigators noticed Torres had an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the cup holder of the Odyssey just adjacent to the steering wheel, according to the affidavit. He told authorities he had a few beers to drink. Investigators reported he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Court records show Torres was convicted of an operating while impaired charge stemming from a 2008 stop when he was 21 years old. In that case, he did not have have the headlights of the vehicle turned on and attempted to turn where there was no road. His blood alcohol came back at .203 — more than twice the legal limit (0.08) in Ohio, Clark County records show.
Michigan State Police are investigating a Roseville judge’s alleged involvement in a hit-and-run traffic incident.
Judge Catherine Steenland of the 39th District Court in Roseville refused to cooperate with police officers who responded to the scene of an incident and her vehicle was impounded, WWJ-AM (950) reported while citing unidentified authorities.
“A compliant was made, and as Judge Steenland is a sitting judge responsible for the city of Roseville, the matter was turned over to the Michigan State Police for investigation,” Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said in a news release Monday morning.
State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said the matter was turned over by Roseville police last week.
“They took the report and figured it was a judge in their jurisdiction, so they turned it over to us,” Shaw told The Macomb Daily Tuesday morning. “We are currently investigating it. We haven’t interviewed the judge.”
Shaw is not sure when an investigator will attempt to contact Steenland to arrange an interview.
Details about the traffic incident have not been released.
Steenland has been on medical leave since July 21, but took a few days off prior to that due to pain, Chief Judge Marco Santia told The Macomb Daily.
“I have not talked to her since I was notified about what happened,” Santia said.
He said Steenland is scheduled to return to work from medical leave on Oct. 17.
“Because of the matter being in the public eye, I’m probably going to have that discussion” sooner, Santia said.
The chief judge said the police chief officially notified him on Monday about the hit-and-run incident.
“But I had heard some rumors the week before,” said Santia, who added that he heard the incident occurred Sept. 27.
The 39th District Court’s jurisdiction also includes the city of Fraser.
Steenland wound up on the opposite side of the bench after she was arrested in June 2008 and charged with drunken driving for an incident near West Branch in Ogemaw County.
Steenland, 41 at the time, initially told a Michigan State Police trooper she had not been drinking and that she tried to turn the vehicle around in a driveway but backed up too far, plunging into a ditch. She admitted she had a couple of beers but insisted she was not drunk. According to a police report of that incident, Steenland failed four field sobriety tests, including at least five attempts to recite the alphabet.
A Michigan State Police laboratory report of Steenland’s blood revealed her blood-alcohol content was 0.23 percent –- almost triple Michigan’s legal standard of intoxication of 0.08 percent.
She later pleaded guilty to driving while impaired by alcohol. At her sentencing in July 2008, Steenland was ordered to serve 31 days in jail, with credit for one day behind bars. The sentencing judge suspended the balance of the jail term on the condition Steenland complete six months informal probation in which she was required to attend an alcohol highway safety program, a victim impact panel and pay $100 in prosecution costs. She also was ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $700.
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission later accused her of misconduct, stemming from her arrest. In lieu of a formal complaint, the judicial board and Steenland reached a settlement agreement that called for her censure and 90-day suspension from the district court bench without pay.
Steenland is the wife of Roseville City Clerk Richard Steenland.