DRUNK MAN INVADES POLISH TOWN DRIVING A SOVIET TANK

THE 40-TON ARMORED VEHICLE TORE THROUGH THE STREETS OF PAJĘCZNO, POLAND, SHORTLY BEFORE 10PM.

A drunk driver was arrested last week for driving a tank through the streets of Pajęczno, Poland.

The vehicle, a Soviet T-55 tank that’s at least 60 years old, belonged to the Polish military. But on June 12 shortly before 10pm it looked like it was attacking residents, who quickly called police.

According to Polish newspaper Twoje Pajęczno, the unnamed driver, 49, was only responsible for putting the tank on and off its trailer. But the trailer broke and, when it was being repaired, he drunkenly decided to take the war machine out on a joyride.

By the time the cops arrived, he had parked the 40-ton machine, which was uninsured, on a main street and was standing nearby. Another man, believed to be his passenger, was also present.

It’s not clear if the muddled motorist caused any permanent damage to Mickiewicza Street but he was arrested and, once he sobered up, questioned by police. He faces up to eight years in prison if charged with creating “direct danger of a catastrophe in land, water or air traffic,” or two years for driving under the influence.

Located about 200 miles from Warsaw, Pajęczno has less than 7,000 residents.

The armored vehicle had to sit until 5am the following morning, when an ex-soldier who knew how to operate it could come load it onto a tow truck and take it to a guarded parking lot.

polish tank t-55
A preserved T-55 tank on display in front of the Army Museum in Poznan, Poland. GETTY IMAGES

Introduced shortly after WWII, T-54s and T-55s became the go-to tanks for armored army divisions belonging to the Soviets, Warsaw Pact nations and other countries. The most-produced tanks in military history, they’ve been involved in many armed skirmishes since the 1950s and ’60s. The T-55 is reportedly easier to operate than comparable tanks designed in the West, and does not require a high level of training or education.

Last year, a Russian man was nabbed after stealing an armored personnel carrier and riding it through the front of a local supermarket.

According to RIA Novosti, the man stole the tank-like vehicle, which uses treads, from a military driving school near his home in Apatity, just south of the Arctic Circle, in January 2018. He drove the juggernaut through town, badly damaging a parked car before smashing into the the grocery.

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The unnamed suspect—believed to be intoxicated at the time, as well—climbed out of the hatch, made his way through the rubble and tried to steal a bottle of wine before he was apprehended by authorities.

The store was reportedly not licensed to sell alcohol that early in the day. https://www.newsweek.com/drunk-poland-soviet-tank-1444475

Crews work to recover car that drove into Cuyahoga River

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CLEVELAND — Authorities were searching for a driver who drove into the Cuyahoga River early Monday morning. Police said he later returned to the scene and told police that nobody else was in the water.

Crews were searching for the driver and the car that was heading eastbound on Elm Street and drove into the river in the Flats West Bank, according to a witness on scene.

A witness said he was driving across the bridge in the Flats when he saw a car’s headlights go into the river near the Center Street Swing Bridge.

News 5 has obtained surveillance video from a nearby apartment building which shows the car careening off the boardwalk into the water.

A witness called 911 ,and when he looked back at the river, the car was already submerged. Coast guard and fire crews resumed their search for the driver later Monday morning.

Police are also looking into an Instagram video which shows a middle-aged man, soaking wet, climbing out of the water and asking two bystanders for a cigarette. The camera pans to the river to show the car partially-submerged in the water. News 5 has asked police if they are still searching for the driver; they said they are aware of the video. 

Police later confirmed to News 5 that the man who drove the car into the river went home, then returned to the to the scene later and told police that no one else was in the water. Police said that’s when the operation became an effort to recover the vehicle from the river. Police said the man will likely face a slew of tickets, but he has not been arrested for OVI at this time.  https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/witness-says-car-drove-into-the-cuyahoga-river-in-the-flats-driver-still-missing

Lebanon man pleads not guilty in fatal crash after test finds marijuana in his system

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A 34-year-old Lebanon man has pleaded not guilty to driving while impaired by marijuana and causing a crash that killed one passenger and injured another on Interstate 91 in Norwich in September.

Keith Cushman was arraigned on Tuesday in Windsor Superior Court on two felony counts — gross negligent operation with a fatality resulting and gross negligent operation with serious bodily injury resulting — that allege he was high, fatigued and speeding when he lost control of his pickup truck on Sept. 3 and caused the death of Theodore Haley III and injuries to Michelle Hayward, both 37, of Hartford.

Judge Theresa DiMauro released Cushman on conditions, including that he not drive with any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in his system. 

Cushman, Haley and Hayward were headed south on Interstate 91 around 4:30 a.m. when Hayward told police Cushman fell asleep and drove into rock ledges, causing the vehicle to roll over. Haley was ejected and pinned underneath the truck, causing fatal injuries, according to an affidavit written by Vermont State Trooper Jeremy Lyon.

Police spoke with Cushman at the scene that morning and reported his speech was “somewhat slurred and mumbled.” An officer administered a breathalyzer to test for alcohol and it came back negative, Lyon wrote.

Lyon, a drug recognition expert — an officer who is specially trained to test for impairment from substances other than alcohol — conducted a “partial” evaluation on Cushman to test for impairment and determined that he was “not able to operate a motor vehicle safely” at the time of the crash. Lyon couldn’t complete the test because of Cushman’s injuries. He wrote that he couldn’t opine on what drug Cushman was on at the time; Cushman told police he had smoked marijuana the day prior to the crash.

Cushman consented to a blood draw at the hospital, according to reports, and tests showed he had THC in his system. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that can cause various symptoms including relaxation, distorted perception and euphoria, according to the affidavit.

“Although the defendant indicated he smoked marijuana approximately 22 hours before the crash, the toxicology showed consumption occurring much more recent,” Lyon wrote.

Cushman later told police that Haley and Hayward were smoking in the truck with the windows rolled up, the affidavit states. Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and reported finding a small amount of marijuana inside it.

Since the fatal crash, Cushman has been involved in a second motor vehicle crash in which police suspected he was impaired, according to an affidavit from Hartford Police Officer Sean Fernandes. On Oct. 1, Cushman allegedly crashed into a stop sign at the intersection of Maple Street and Cascadnac Avenue in Hartford and fled the scene. No one was injured.

Because of Cushman’s “poor operation and body language,” Fernandes administered roadside sobriety tests, some of which Cushman struggled with, according to Fernandes’ affidavit. Cushman told Fernandes that he had smoked marijuana earlier that day. A drug recognition expert evaluated Cushman but said he didn’t have enough evidence of impairment to seek further testing, Fernandes wrote. (Cushman had tested negative for alcohol intoxication.)

Prosecutors in that case charged him with careless or negligent motor vehicle operation and leaving the scene of the crash, two misdemeanors that he pleaded not guilty to in November. That case is still pending.

Cushman’s fatal crash case highlights some of the complexities the state has prosecuting cases where a person is accused of driving under the influence of substances other than alcohol.

For example, Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill filed gross negligent operation charges instead of driving under the influence-related offenses because of potential problems with being able to prove the latter, he said in an interview after the hearing. Both offenses carry the same penalty — up to 15 years in prison.

In order to find Cushman guilty of a DUI-related charge, Cahill said he would need to prove that Cushman crashed because he was impaired, something that could be difficult with the lack of an objective roadside test that demonstrates marijuana impairment, like a Breathalyzer would for alcohol.

Recreational marijuana use became legal in Vermont last July, and Gov. Phil Scott has stressed the need for a such a test.

Currently, the state pairs a DRE’s evaluation with a toxicology report in court.

Defense attorneys in Vermont have questioned the reliability of the DRE’s work. Cushman is being represented by attorney Robert Lees, who declined to comment after Cushman’s arraignment. https://www.vnews.com/Man-Charged-With-Driving-Under-the-Influence-of-Marijuana-and-Causing-Fatal-Crash-Appears-in-Court-23591938