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Little Women’ reality star gets 16 years behind bars for DUI death

a person posing for the cameraFour-foot-tall reality TV star Melissa Hancock will be getting her own personal spinoff — set in a jail cell, after pleading guilty to the drunk-diving death of a New Jersey man.

Daniel Dill, 29, was killed Nov. 4, 2017, while driving in Virginia Beach to pick up his wife from a birthday party. En route to picking her up, Hancock — who copped to chugging between two and four mixed drinks at a nightclub earlier in the evening — was on the road when she crashed into Dill head-on.

Earlier this year, she pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter, reported NJ Advance Media. On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Hancock, 26, to a 16-year prison term.

While she previously had offered apologies to Dill’s family for her tragic mistake, the victims still mourning father was in mo mood to hear excuses.

“It’s just totally destroyed the entire family,” said Christopher Dill, who was preparing to drive from his New Jersey home to the Virginia courthouse. “He’s a clean-cut guy dong the right thing, making the right choices, volunteering to be the designated driver. … It’s brutal. I can’t wrap my head around it.”

At the accident scene, cops noted Hancock’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and the smell of alcohol was present on her body. A blood-alcohol content test revealed she was more than twice over the legal limit.

Hancock had a recurring role on the second season of “Little Women: Atlanta,” a Lifetime series that chronicled to lives of little people living in Georgia.

Dill had been a Coast Guard information systems technician at the time of his death.

Caught on Video: Candidate for Judge arrested for driving under the influence

The tragic limo accident was preventable

20 dead in limo crash in New York 01:20

Deborah A.P. Hersman is President and CEO of the National Safety Council and the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. She also leads the Road to Zero Coalition, established in 2016, with the goal of eliminating all preventable roadway deaths by 2050. The views expressed in this commentary are solely her own. View more opinion on CNN.

(CNN)Twenty people lost their lives in a tragic limousine crash in upstate New York on Saturday. As the nation pauses to remember the victims, we rightly start the conversation about what could have prevented this crash.

However, we need to remember that on any given day, more than 100 people die on our roadways, and while these deaths do not make headline news, they are no less important. We accept them as the cost of mobility, but they are all preventable.
Tragically, the factors that may have contributed to this crash — speed and lack of occupant restraint use — are incredibly common. Compound these common factors with an improperly licensed driver who was operating a vehicle that failed an inspection just last month, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted Monday, and we create a perfect storm.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will conduct a thorough investigation to identify each contributing factor, and the Board will make recommendations to improve the safety of limousine riders. Notably, we do not yet know all the facts surrounding the crash and the tragic deaths of the victims.
When it comes to stretch limousine construction and oversight, there is an element of Frankenstein involved. Many of these vehicles are modified after original construction. States have different regulations, requirements and capabilities, and there is no one-stop shop for consumers to determine whether a limousine they are riding in is safe.
Limo crash witness heard loud bang, screaming 01:37
We need to close these gaps if we want to ensure the integrity of the vehicles, but equally important is consistency in qualifying drivers, who are tasked with chauffeuring people who, in many cases, opted for a limousine because they did not want to drive impaired.
The National Safety Council strongly encourages people to arrange alternative transportation like limousines if they know they will be celebrating. Alcohol-involved crashes continue to claim nearly 10,000 lives each year, and no amount of alcohol is safe to drink if you are planning to drive. That said, we cannot undercut a good safety choice with a poor one. Operators should provide occupant restraints for every seating position, and if you are in a limousine — or a ride share vehicle of any kind — it is imperative to buckle up, even in the back seat.
In many cases, lack of restraint use may not be a choice. Some limousines may not have seat belts available. While the vehicle carrying 18 passengers on Saturday was a 2001 Ford Excursion, “over-the-road” buses were required to have seat belts on all new construction beginning in 2016, and passenger cars have been required to have three-point seat belts in all seating positions for many years. This represents yet another gap in safety.
Seat belts are the cheapest and most effective tool we have to save lives on the road, so no vehicle should operate without them. And it is the responsibility of passengers to use them. Passengers report a nearly 20 percent drop off in rear seat belt use when riding in a ride-share vehicle or taxi, according to a 2017 NSC public opinion survey.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that the risk of serious injury goes up eight-fold for unrestrained passengers in the back, while over 40% of all occupant fatalities continue to be unbelted.
New York, in particular, has notable passenger protection gaps in its laws. Despite being the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law, New York still doesn’t require all passengers to wear them. New York earned a C for road safety on the 2017 National Safety Council State of Safety report, in part because it does not require adults to buckle up in the back seat.
We cannot let tragedies like the one in Schoharie pass us by without doing something about it. Limousines can be a smart way for us to travel and a great choice for people who are celebrating. But there are risks we can and should address. Today many are outraged, but the key is turning that indignation into action tomorrow.

Drunk birds are causing havoc in a Minnesota town. Police say they’ll sober up soon.

Police in Gilbert, Minn., are warning residents about a group of youthful residents unable to handle their alcohol. They’ve been drifting around town looking disoriented, narrowly avoiding getting hit by cars.

But these aren’t teenagers getting drunk. Instead, it’s the local bird population.

“The Gilbert Police Department has received several reports of birds that appear to be ‘under the influence’ flying into windows, cars and acting confused,” Police Chief Ty Techar wrote in a statement Tuesday. An early frost meant that berries had fermented earlier than usual, he explained, and birds were eating them and getting drunk.

Incidents around town involving intoxicated birds appear to be more prevalent than in past years, Techar added, because many have not yet migrated south. “It appears that some birds are getting a little more ‘tipsy’ than normal,” he wrote. “Generally, younger birds’ livers cannot handle the toxins as efficiently as more mature birds.”

He concluded: “There is no need to call law enforcement about these birds as they should sober up within a short period of time.”

A number of Gilbert residents commented on the Facebook post and thanked the police department for explaining why the birds had been acting so strangely. One woman wrote that she had found three dead birds on her deck recently, while another described quickly slamming on her brakes when a bird flew directly into her windshield. “This explains why I have hit 7 birds with my car this week,” commented another.

“I was going to say something . . . but I thought I was crazy!!!” wrote one resident. “This has been happening to me!” She added, “I know this post is a joke . . . but seriously . . . 2 birds dove into my windshield both on the way to work and on the way home . . . I was wondering what was going on.”

Another commenter joked, “There goes the chance of any bird from Northern MN ever being on the Supreme Court.”

The police news release ended with a suggestion that residents of the small northern Minnesota town call if they see “Angry Birds laughing and giggling uncontrollably and appearing to be happy” or “Tweety acting as if 10 feet tall and getting into confrontations with cats.”

Jokes aside, however, birds really can get intoxicated by eating fermented berries. A group of California scientists who performed necropsies on several flocks of cedar waxwings that had collided with hard surfaces found that all of them had recently gorged on overripe berries. “Flying under the influence of ethanol” had led to the birds’ deaths, they concluded in a 2012 study published in theJournal of Ornithology.

Obviously, birds can’t exactly take a breathalyzer test. Matthew Dodder, a self-described “bird guy” with four decades of birding experience who leads classes in Palo Alto, Calif., told The Washington Post that the key giveaway to tell whether birds are drunk is their goofy behavior.

“They’ll be flying kind of erratically,” he said. “We typically see them flying lower than usual through traffic. They’re just careless and they’re not looking for cars or other obstacles.”

Certain bird species, such as robins, cedar waxwings and thrushes, are the most prone to drunken antics since they eat more berries than other species such as warblers and flycatchers that primarily eat insects. And as they prepare to fly south for winter, they may overindulge in an attempt to store up fat for the journey, Dodder said. The birds go from bush to bush trying to find more berries, their balance getting progressively worse.

“They just get sloppy and clumsy,” Dodder said. “They have actually fallen out of trees on occasion.”

In Portland, Ore., the Audubon Society operates what’s essentially a drunk tank for birds. “We get in birds into our Wildlife Care Center in the fall that are drunk on fermenting berries,” Bob Sallinger, the conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland, wrote in an email. “Sometimes they are picked up after crashing into windows. Others are just found disoriented on the ground. We will hold them in captivity until they sober up and then set them free.”

The same thing happens in Canada’s Yukon Territory, where animal welfare officials will gently place intoxicated birds in small hamster cages until they’re ready to fly again a few hours later.

As humorous as it might sound, binging on berries can be deadly for birds. Portland has seen multiple incidents in the past decade where between 30 and 50 robins have suddenly turned up dead because of suspected alcohol poisoning. In 2011, police were called to investigate the suspicious deaths of 12 blackbirds at an elementary school in Britain, but a necropsy revealed the birds had not been the victims of foul play and instead may have just eaten too many fermented rowan berries.

Because intoxicated birds also have a tendency of smashing into things, the Audubon Society recommends putting decals on windows and other large reflective surfaces. And if you do come across a drunk bird that has survived a collision, Dodder recommends contacting an animal rescue or wildlife rehabilitation center.

“Sometimes, they just need a bit of time in a quiet setting to recover,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Gilbert, police are asking residents to call if they spot Woodstock pushing Snoopy off the doghouse for no apparent reason, Big Bird operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner, or the Roadrunner darting in and out of traffic on Main Street. Or, they suggested, any birds making a late-night run to Taco Bell.

Woman charged after police find her passed out in car with children crying in back seat

MASSILLON, Ohio – A Massillon woman has been charged after police say they found her passed out behind the wheel with her two small children in the back seat, according to

Diane Triplett, 38, was charged with possession of cocaine, aggravated drug possession, operating a vehicle while impaired and endangering children, police officials confirmed.

According to, police found two wrappers inside the car that contained drugs. Triplett’s children were crying in the back seat when officers arrived at the car.

Triplett is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m.

Council member sentenced in drunken driving case

CEDAR FALLS – A Cedar Falls City Council member was sentenced to two days in jail — or two days at a community college class — after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

Mark Anthony Miller, 42, pleaded to first-offense operating while intoxicated in Black Hawk County District Court on Friday.

Assistant County Attorney Molly Edwards had sought four days in jail because of Miller’s high blood-alcohol content — he blew a .215 on a breath test, more than twice the legal limit to drive — and the fact he was stopped while driving down the wrong side of the road.

But Judge Brook Jacobsen sided with the defense, sentencing Miller to two days in jail and one year of self probation. Another 88 days in jail were suspended.

Under the sentence, Miller can take part in an operating while intoxicated program through Hawkeye Community College in lieu of jail time, which is a standard option for first-time drunken driving convictions. The class, which costs $450 and is held at a local hotel, usually starts on a Friday night and runs all day Saturday and Sunday.

Miller was also ordered to pay a $1,250 fine, $140 in court costs and a $447 surcharge for a total of $1,837. Half of the fine and surcharges can be waived if he acquires a temporary restricted license and an ignition interlock device.

A University of Northern Iowa police officer pulled over Miller on 18th Street shortly after 1 a.m. June 2.

Miller was elected to the City Council in 2013, serving the city’s First Ward.

UPDATE: Cedar Falls Council member Mark Miller charged with OWI

Moline suspends captains in chief’s OWI case

Two Moline police captains who were with Police Chief John Hitchcock when he was cited for drunk driving in September have been suspended for five days because they did not prevent him from driving while impaired.

Hitchcock was stopped the evening of Sept. 7 by an Iowa State Patrol trooper who clocked him going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone near mile marker 131 on southbound U.S. 61 in Scott County. Hitchcock was taken to the Eldridge Police Department, where a test recorded his blood alcohol content at .201, according to reports.

As a result of the stop, Hitchcock has been cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, first offense, and speeding.

Capt. Trevor Fisk and Capt. Brian Johnson were with Hitchcock at the time of the traffic stop, according to the city.

The captains witnessed the chief drinking and should have stopped him from driving, Doug Maxeiner, Moline city administrator, said Wednesday in a news release.

“I find discipline is warranted for the failure of the captains to act to prevent Hitchcock from operating a motor vehicle while impaired,” he said in the release.

While they did not act when needed during this incident, Fisk and Johnson cooperated during the stop and following the investigation, and were remorseful and forthcoming, Maxeiner said.

“I am confident both Fisk and Johnson will continue to be effective in their leadership roles in the city,” Maxeiner said.

Hitchcock also cooperated during the stop, and there is also no indication he attempted to influence the trooper or the investigation, the release stated.

A ruling on Hitchcock’s status was still pending Wednesday.

Mayor arrested for DWI

Leonard Mayor Steven Bolin was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated following a traffic stop on Saturday night.

Leonard Police Department Chief Brian Meserole said at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 911 dispatchers received a call of a possible intoxicated driver near the intersection of U.S. Route 69 and East Fannin Street. Leonard Police responded to the scene and conducted a traffic stop of the reported vehicle. Once officers identified Bolin as the driver, Meserole said the investigation was immediately turned over to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“Obviously there’s the conflict of interest — he is our mayor,” Meserole said of why that decision was made. “The best option for the city and the police department was to turn it over to another jurisdiction.”

In a statement provided by text message, DPS Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett said Bolin was allegedly found with an open container in the vehicle and was arrested, without incident, for DWI. It was unclear whether DPS troopers conducted a field sobriety test at the scene, but Meserole said he understood that investigators had taken blood samples from Bolin and were still awaiting the toxicology results Monday morning. Tackett said Bolin was booked into the Fannin County Jail on Saturday, but a representative of the correctional facility said he had posted a $4,000 bond and was released.

A Leonard city employee, who answered the phone, declined to comment Monday, and referred to a statement posted on the city’s website.

“While the events surrounding Mayor Bolin’s momentary indiscretion are unfortunate, the case remains open and, as such, we do not comment on open investigations,” the statement read. “Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

Bolin was elected as Leonard’s mayor in May 2016 and previously served as a city council member.

Cardi B turns herself into police after apparently ‘ordering attack’ on strip club workers

Cardi B turned herself over to New York City police Monday morning regarding charges stemming from an alleged strip club altercation that occurred on August 29.

The rapper, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, was charged with reckless endangerment and assault, a NYPD spokesperson told The Independent.

The fight reportedly occurred at the Angels Strip Club in Flushing, New York – where the singer’s husband Offset was performing.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media LimitedWhile the full details of the incident are not clear, TMZ reported the charges are related to an altercation that occurred after Cardi B reportedly ordered an attack on two bartenders.

Joe Tacopina, the lawyer for the bartenders, called the attacks “vicious” and told People: “Cardi B ordered and committed violent assaults against my clients, and is being called to justice for her crimes. Apparently, she thinks her celebrity status puts her above the law, since she has bragged to multiple people and on social media that she orchestrated these vicious attacks.”

The charges are related to an altercation that occurred after Cardi B reportedly ordered an attack on two bartenders.© GETTY The charges are related to an altercation that occurred after Cardi B reportedly ordered an attack on two bartenders.Cardi B has since been released from the 109th Precinct after she was fingerprinted and had her mugshot taken.

She will appear in court on October 29.

Nicki Minaj was allegedly attacked by fellow rapper Cardi B during a New York Fashion Week party last month.© ASSOCIATED PRESS Nicki Minaj was allegedly attacked by fellow rapper Cardi B during a New York Fashion Week party last month.The rapper previously found herself embroiled in controversy after allegedly attacking fellow rapper Nicki Minaj during a New York Fashion Week party last month.

Are women at a disadvantage in DUI breath testing?

Does the DUI breath test discriminate against women?

Washington DUI lawyer Ziad Youssef, founder of, has been researching this topic for several months. What he’s discovered is that the DUI machine that all drivers submit to after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol should adjust breath results based on factors like sex, height, weight and more, but does not.

“Washington uses the breath test to predict the level of alcohol in someone’s blood, but the breath test instruments do not adjust for physiological differences between people of different sexes or ages, for example,” Youssef says.

Smaller lung capacity can affect results

This is important because in the research article Sex Differences in Respiratory Function, the authors explained the differences they discovered between respiratory systems of men and women, and concluded that statistically, women do have a smaller respiratory system, meaning a smaller lung capacity than men.

And, according to researchers Michael P. Hlastala and Joseph C. Anderson, the smaller lung capacity can have an effect on the results of a breathalyzer test.

Specifically, when the alcohol breath test is being administered, the subject is asked to inhale ambient air and then exhale into the breath test a minimum of 1.5 liters of air. According to the statistics, in order to satisfy the 1.5 liter minimum requirement, a female driver with smaller lung capacity would have to exhale deeper into her lungs than a male driver of the same height, weight and age.

Exaggerated readings possible

Youssef argues that requiring females to blow deeper into their lung capacity than men is unlawful discrimination because, according to the article Physiological Aspects of Breath-Alcohol Measurements, the majority of the alcohol exhaled from the lungs comes from the deeper section of one’s lungs.

“In other words, the closer a person is to reaching the end of their total lung capacity, the more concentrated the results will be, and that means a higher breath test reading will result,” Youssef says.

“Consequently, women are put in greater jeopardy of giving an exaggerated reading.”

Youssef suggests that if the State wants to know what intoxicants are in a driver’s blood, they shouldn’t estimate it from breath, they should justify a warrant to the judge like the 4th Amendment requires and perform a blood test.

Are women at a disadvantage in DUI breath testing?