NJ lawmakers push bill to ban people from flying drones drunk

The New Jersey state legislature is considering making it illegal to operate a drone while under the influence, NorthJersey.com reported Monday.

Lawmakers are considering the measure as the use of drones for personal and commercial purposes grows in popularity. A bipartisan bill criminalizing certain uses of a drone passed out of an Assembly committee on Monday.

If the measure passes, operating a drone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or using a drone to harm wildlife or endanger people or property, would be considered a disorderly persons offense, according to the news outlet.

Using a drone to interfere with first responders or endanger the security of a correctional facility would also be punishable with jail time and a fine if the bill passes.If Gov. Chris Christie (R) signs the bill before leaving office on Jan. 16, it would be the state’s first law regulating drone use in New Jersey, NorthJersey.com reported.

Christie has previously declined to sign legislation that would have required law enforcement agencies in the state obtain a warrant before using a drone in an investigation, the news outlet reported.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/363430-nj-lawmakers-push-bill-to-ban-people-from-flying-drones-drunk

Man arrested for OWI after truck struck transformer box knocking out power

Driver strikes transformer box, bar in West Bend (PHOTO: Amanda H.)

WEST BEND — A Kewaskum man was arrested Sunday evening, December 3rd after crashing his truck into a We Energies’ transformer box and a bar in West Bend — knocking out power to hundreds.

It happened around 6:00 p.m.

West Bend police said the 47-year-old driver left the roadway and struck the transformer box and then the building on N. Main Street near Barton Avenue.

We Energies crews were called out to the scene to restore power. Police noted though that “due to the extent of the damage, We Energies is unable to give an estimate as to when power will be restored.” As of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the We Energies Outage Map showed nearly 400 customers without power.

The driver showed signs of intoxication, failed the standard field sobriety tests, blew a .15 in a preliminary breath test and was arrested for OWI.

Driver strikes transformer box, bar in West Bend (PHOTO: Amanda H.)

Driver strikes transformer box, bar in West Bend (PHOTO: Amanda H.)

There were no injuries.

Assistant prosecutor charged with DWI resigned from job

The Mercer County assistant prosecutor charged with drunken drivingin September has resigned from the county prosecutor’s office, a Mercer County spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

Parrey, LinkedIn photo 

Stephen Parrey, 28, resigned from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 19, Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot.

He was suspended without pay a few days after his Sept. 8 arrest in Hamilton.

Parrey, the son of Trenton Police Director Ernest Parrey Jr., was charged after rear-ending a car on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road near Estates Boulevard. No one was injured in the collision.

The status of the drunken driving case against him was not immediately available Thursday. His lawyer, Les Hartman, was not immediately available for comment.

In police camera footage of his arrest, Parrey told arresting officers he had one beer. His blood alcohol content, tested at the police station, was .20, police reports show. The state’s legal limit is .08.

Chicago cop given community service in DUI crash that injured pedestrian

A Chicago police officer was given community service Friday for striking a pedestrian while driving drunk — a sentence championed by the victim and her mother who hoped he could learn from the pain they endured.

A Cook County judge sentenced Officer Erin Mowry to 30 months of probation and 480 hours of community service in the 2015 crash that nearly killed Courtney Cusentino, now 23.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mowry will work with brain-injury patients as Cusentino and her mother, Kathy Kean, pushed for in a novel approach.

“It is something I will have to carry for the rest of my life,” Mowry, 42, told Judge Timothy Joyce after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated DUI.

Mowry’s voice cracked as he noted the “heartache and pain my actions have caused.”

In addition to the community service, Mowry was sentenced to six months in Cook County Jail, but his time on electronic monitoring after being charged will satisfy that requirement.

In a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune last month, Kean explained how she had spent more than two grueling years assisting her daughter’s slow recovery, helping her relearn to walk and speak. She said she saw no value in Mowry doing time in prison and instead proposed he work with brain-injury patients to learn firsthand the damage he had done.

Last month, Joyce announced he would grant the family’s request and impose a sentence that included community service if Mowry pleaded guilty to the DUI charge.

Mowry is suspended with pay, but his felony conviction likely means the Police Department will seek his firing.

Cusentino was crossing the street on Chicago’s Northwest Side in July 2015 when Mowry hit her with his Mercedes, prosecutors have said. The impact knocked her airborne, and she landed on her head, suffering brain injuries so traumatic that doctors initially gave her a 5 percent chance of survival, Kean said Friday in court.

“I had to watch my once vibrant, funny, loving, caring, beautiful daughter lay strapped to a bed … unable to communicate in any way for months,” said Kean, reading from a victim-impact statement.

But after months in the hospital and rehab facilities as well as extensive physical therapy, Cusentino can speak, bathe, dress herself and walk with the aid of a walker. She recently got a job, an accomplishment her family once thought would be impossible, her mother said.

“What we are not sure of is if she will ever ride a bike again, run, learn to drive a car or fulfill her dream of doing hair and makeup,” Kean said in a calm and steady voice.

Mowry was not administered a Breathalyzer test until more than four hours after the crash and still registered a 0.092 blood-alcohol level, above the legal limit of 0.08.

Kean said she suspected that Mowry, as a police officer, was given preferential treatment by other officers.

Joyce could have imposed a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.

After court, Kean said she is still hopeful that Mowry, through his community service, will see up close the kind of pain her daughter — and other family members — went through.

“I think he’s willing to do his best and make things right,” she said of Mowry.

But Cusentino said she had hoped to hear a more personal apology from Mowry.

“I want more than just ‘yeah, I feel bad,’ ” she said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-cop-dui-crash-guilty-20171201-story,amp.html

Man crashes into house, police car while driving drunk, backward, police say

Rogelio Solorio, 37, of Merced

Officer drives off-duty cop home after DUI stop

FERNDALE, Mich. (WXYZ) – A man identified as a Roseville police officer was pulled over by Ferndale Police on suspicion of being intoxicated on Nov. 9 at northbound Woodward Ave.

A supervisor was notified, who ordered the driver and his passenger, also suspected to be intoxicated, to be brought to the Ferndale Police Department and to later be driven home.

Ferndale Police was made aware of the incident on Nov. 17 and launched an internal investigation.

A criminal complaint was submitted against the driver for warrant for Operating Under the Influence; the case is currently active and ongoing.

“On the surface, this appears to be an example of poor decision making by one of our lieutenants,” Ferndale Police Chief Collins said. “As a police department, we take cases of operating and driving under the influence incredibly seriously. It’s a critical threat to public health and safety, and we as a department work regularly to educate the community to reduce instances of intoxicated driving.”

Collins reports that if the lieutenant’s actions are found to be in violation of policy and procedure once the investigation is complete, the individual will face appropriate disciplinary measures.

He expects the investigation to be complete within the next week.

“Our jobs are complex and we trust our people to use sound judgment,” Collins said. “When somebody makes a call that is unsafe or not indicative of the department’s values and operations, we take that seriously and we act accordingly.”

Collins said within the next month, the entire department will go through an educational program about intoxicated driving. He says it is department protocol to regularly educate and retrain to ensure continual improvement.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure that this kind of error isn’t made again,” Collins said.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/region/oakland-county/ferndale-officer-drives-off-duty-roseville-cop-home-after-dui-stop

Violent confrontation erupts between two Ypsilanti Twp. residents after road rage, drunk driving

Allegedly intoxicated man struck in the head with unknown object

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Deputies responded to the area of Ford Boulevard and East Clark Road Friday night, where after a violent confrontation erupted after a traffic collision.

According to Washtenaw County Sheriff’s, officers arrived at approximately 11:40 p.m. and made contact with a 31-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man, both residents of Ypsilanti Township who had been involved in the collision. Suspects had been involved in road rage that had led to a crash, after which both subjects exited their vehicles and began fighting.

The woman was arrested for felonious assault, due to striking the other driver in the face with a blunt object. The man was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired.

The investigation is ongoing.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/violent-confrontation-erupts-between-two-ypsilanti-twp-residents-after-road-rage-drunk-driving

Eight-time drunk driver graduates drug court; didn’t serve prison time

Michael Myers, an eight-time drunk driver, raised eyebrows in 2015 when he was sentenced to drug court, rather than prison time.

Drug court is a two-year program divided into five phases that includes things like counseling, community services and drug and alcohol testing.

Myers will remain on probation until February 2020, unless he earns an early release date.

Myers reached a 2015 plea agreement with the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office in which pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated: endangering a person and being a habitual vehicular substance offender.

PREVIOUSCALL 6: Repeat drunk driver avoids prison on 8th offense

Myers faced a possible prison sentence of more than 10 years.

However, he did not serve any time in prison for the 8th drunk driving conviction.

Hendricks County Superior Court Judge Mark Smith gave Myers a 1,670 day sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction, but suspended 1,567 days, and as a condition of his probation, Myers had to successfully complete drug court.

His eight drunk driving convictions dating back to 1996.

The Brownsburg man has served three stints in prison for drunk driving in 2003, 2004-2005 and 2013.

His driver’s license has been suspended 20 times, BMV records show.

PHOTOS | Myers’ arrests
RELATED | CALL 6: Indiana’s deadliest DUI hot spots

In July 2015, Myers was driving on Jeff Gordon Boulevard in Hendricks County when he slammed into a concrete barrier and then a guardrail.

At the time of the crash, he was drunk and still on parole with the Indiana Department of Correction from his last drunk driving offense, also in Hendricks County.

As part of his sentence, Myers’ driver’s license was suspended for one year.

Judge Mark Smith disputed the notion that prison is always the best place for repeat offenders.

“There are other ways to hold people accountable besides sending them to prison,” said Smith in 2015. “Statistically a large percentage of people in prison are going to get back out. And we know that statistically for people released from prison, there’s a high rate of recidivism.”

Smith said he has the option to send someone to prison if they’re not complying with the rules of the drug court program.

“There’s no magic number I can pull out of the air that says if I send this person to prison or jail for so many days they’re never going to drink again,” said Smith. “Who wouldn’t love that? That’s an easy solution, but we know historically that does not work.”

At the time, Mothers Against Drunk Driving wrote letters to Judge Smith asking for stiffer penalties for Myers including in-patient treatment and an ignition interlock on Myers’ car.

“To make this poor choice and put the public at risk over and over again is quite concerning,” said Lael Hill, victims services specialist for MADD Indiana in 2015. “We think anyone convicted of a DUI, even if it’s the first time, should have an ignition interlock mandated to be installed on their vehicles.”

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/call-6-investigators/call-6-eight-time-drunk-driver-graduates-drug-court-didnt-serve-prison-time

Former Texas Cheerleader Killed When Driver Crashed Into Her Car While Using Breathalyzer: Cops

Authorities say they are investigating after a man crashed into a Texas teenager’s car earlier this month — ultimately killing her — while he was using a court-ordered breathalyzing device, PEOPLE confirms.

“There have been no arrests at this time,” Lt. Chris Cook of the Arlington, Texas, Police Department tells PEOPLE. “We still have [an] investigation that needs to be done on the speed involved.”

Alexis Butler, 18, of Arlington, died on Friday from injuries she suffered in the Nov. 10 collision, Arlington police said in a statement.

According to authorities, Butler was backing out of a friend’s driveway in a Toyota Camry about 6:20 p.m. that Friday when a 31-year-old unidentified man driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck struck the passenger side of her car.

The impact pushed the teen’s Camry off the road and into a grassy area nearby.

She was rushed to the Medical Center of Arlington Hospital but never regained consciousness, reports local TV station KDFW.

“They really didn’t think she would last that night and she was just a miracle,” her mother, Barbara Barr, told the station. “I have to have faith that there’s a purpose, there’s a reason and there’s a plan for all this.”

Detectives are reconstructing the crash scene to determine what happened, including looking at the vehicles’ event data recorders, police said.

During their investigation, authorities noticed that there were no tire marks indicating the driver tried to stop before the collision, according to local station KXAS.

The driver of the pickup truck was not impaired at the time of the crash, police said.

They said he told investigators that before the wreck, he briefly looked down from the road while performing a retest of an ignition interlock device attached to the truck. That’s when he struck Butler’s vehicle.

Alexis Butler
Alexis Butler

Courts will often order those convicted of driving while intoxicated to install ignition interlock devices in their cars. Like a breathalyzer, the device requires drivers to blow into a mouthpiece to measure the level of alcohol in their systems. If the level is over the legal limit, the vehicle will not start.

It is unclear why the driver, who was not impaired, was using the device. Authorities are trying to find out if the court had directed the driver to use the breathalyzer while the truck was in motion.

“No. 1 thing we’ll look at is tracking down the original court order to read exactly what it said,” Cook said, according to KXAS.

“And more importantly for us, as a police department, is to determine what the manufacturer recommendation is as far as the guidelines in how to operate this type of equipment,” he continued. “It’s very concerning to us, as a police department, that an individual may be operating some type of ignition equipment while they’re in a moving vehicle.”

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the driver could face charges, police reportedly said.

Arlington police will be consulting with the Tarrant County, Texas, Criminal District Attorney’s Office next week, Cook tells PEOPLE.

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Butler went to Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, Michigan, before moving to Texas in 2015, her obituary says.

Earlier this year, she graduated from Arlington Martin High School. She is survived by her parents and three siblings.

While in Michigan, she was an active member of the Lakeview dance team and she was a member of several competitive cheer teams, including Spirit of Texas.

At the time of the wreck, Butler was attending the Paul Mitchell School in Arlington to pursue a career in cosmetology. She was also a member of the Church on Rush Creek in Arlington.

In a statement to KXAS, her family said: “She was larger than life — everyone loved Lexxy. Her laugh, her smile, her bubbly personality. She touched so many people’s lives in just her short 18 years, more than most will touch in a lifetime.”

Her legacy, her family said, will continue to touch lives “even in death” because of her “final selfless act of organ and tissue donation, which she elected.”

A funeral for Butler will be held Tuesday in Texas. Friends are reportedly holding a vigil for her Monday in Michigan.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/former-texas-cheerleader-killed-driver-214111280.html