Highway Patrol reports 5 crashes involving troopers in last month

HELENA – The Montana Highway Patrol posted on their Facebook page early on Saturday and said five troopers were involved in crashes that were not their fault just last month.

They reported that on Friday Major Lavin’s patrol car was almost side-swiped while he was out investigating another crash.

There were luckily no major injuries, but in some cases, the troopers were in their cars when they were struck.

MHP said these crashes were all caused by people driving irresponsibly.

Adding that people should be more concerned, If not for their safety but because it’s not just those involved in the crash that will pay for the damage.

These crashes cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars since now these vehicles need to either be fixed or replaced altogether. MHP said that there are easy ways to avoid these situations.

  • Have appropriate tires.
  • Slow down. Even if you’re traveling below the speed limit, it is best to slow down in certain weather conditions.
  • Follow at a greater distance.
  • Make sure your vehicle is cleaned off, and headlights are on to avoid limited visibility.
  • Never drive under the influence.
  • Stay home if law enforcement recommends it unless it is an emergency.
  • Buckle up and slow down for emergency vehicles.

Below is the post from Montana Highway Patrol’s Facebook page.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to report that, within the last month alone, five troopers have been involved in crashes through no fault of their own. In addition to the five crashes, Major Lavin’s patrol car was nearly side-swiped yesterday while he was at the scene investigating a crash (picture below).

In each of these cases, drivers were not driving appropriately for conditions. In some cases, our troopers were in the vehicle when it was struck. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.

When crashes like this occur, everyone should be concerned, primarily, for the safety and security of themselves and everyone that they share the roadway with. Secondarily though, these senseless and avoidable crashes cost the tax payers money as thousands of dollars are being paid to repair, or in some cases, completely replace these vehicles.

We very deliberately use the word “crash” here because the word “accident” implies an event caused unexpectedly or by chance.

Crashing in winter conditions or sliding off the road is not an unexpected outcome if:

1. you’re driving too fast. Yes, driving the speed limit can be too fast for certain weather conditions.

2. your tires are bald or the tread is worn past legal limits.

3. you’re following too closely

4. you’re voluntarily taking the risk and driving in extreme weather conditions that emergency personnel have warned you to avoid. (Not talking about people who find themselves caught in a sudden storm or emergency situations).

5. You drive impaired. Ever. At any time.

What you can do to be the change:

1. Slow down!

2. Keep your vehicle street legal and in good condition

3. Increase your following distance

4. Turn on your headlights in inclement weather

5. Stay home if the roads are terrible and you don’t need to drive.

6. Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles (or any vehicle on the side of the road, really).

7. Buckle up!

When we all begin to take responsibility for the enormous privilege of operating a motor vehicle and hold ourselves and others to higher standards, change is possible.


Trooper charged with drunken driving after Thanksgiving crash

SANDUSKY, MI — A 25-year-old Michigan State Police trooper was charged with operating while intoxicated after he allegedly crashed his car into a tree while off-duty Thanksgiving morning.

Cody Gueldenzopf was arraigned on that misdemeanor charge Dec. 22, The Times Herald reports .

Gueldenzopf was taken into custody after a hunter reported a 2010 Cadillac had crashed into a tree about 100 yards away around 8 a.m. Nov. 23, Sanilac County Undersheriff Brad Roff previously said .

Investigators say Gueldenzopf drove about half a mile across a field before crashing into the tree, which was located about a quarter mile west of Germania Road north of Cass City Road.

After Gueldenzopf was treated for injuries, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Roff said.

Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser said Gueldenzopf is currently on sick leave for an injury to the arm he suffered in the crash.

Once he is OK’d to return to work, he could be placed on administrative duty until the case has concluded, Kaiser said. That decision, he added, will be made by the police agency’s human resources department.

An internal investigation will follow the conclusion of the criminal case against Gueldenzopf, Kaiser said.

“Even if he’s found not guilty in a criminal prosecution, it doesn’t mean he won’t be disciplined,” Kaiser said. “We hold our troopers to high standards. If you violate that, it could result in discipline.”

Kaiser said possible disciplinary measures include an involuntary transfer to another post or firing.

Gueldenzopf, a Sandusky native, graduated recruit school on Dec. 22, 2016, and was assigned to the Michigan State Police Flint Post, according to a news release from the agency.

He was give a personal recognizance bond of $1,000, The Times Herald reports.


Council member gets probation on DUI charge

Bowie City Council member Courtney Glass pleaded guilty last week to driving while impaired and was given probation before judgment by a Prince George’s County judge.

District Court Judge Vincent J. Femia set aside the plea and sentenced Glass to six months of unsupervised probation and assessed $645 — a $500 fine and $145 in court costs, said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Glass could not be reached for comment. She was represented by attorney Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., president of the state Senate, online court records show.

The traffic incident involving Glass took place in May of last year. Bowie police responded to a call about a possible hit-and-run accident near Annapolis Road and Grenville Lane at about 11:15 on the night of May 18, police said.

Streeter could not be reached for comment.

A witness was able to get the license plate number of the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist. Bowie police officers eventually traced the vehicle to Glass, police said

Officers went to Glass’ home in Bowie shortly after midnight, where they encountered her after she had parked her car. Officers said they smelled alcohol on her breath, according to police, and administered a field sobriety test.

Glass, a legislative analyst for the Prince George’s County government, declined to take a Breathalyzer test, police said.

She was cited for driving under the influence, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to return and remain at the scene of an accident, online court records show. All of the charges were merged into a single county of DUI.

Glass, 34, is in her first term on the council, representing District 3. She won the spot in 2015, during the most recent citywide election.

Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said he did not anticipate any sort of official reprimand for Glass, because she received only probation and a fine for the incident.

“I don’t think we’ll be doing anything,” he said. “It’s a matter between her and the court.”


Am I legally allowed to drive before my summons. May I drive?

Hello, Tuesday evening I was arrested for a careless driving and an open alcohol container. They also checked the box for DUI. The officer gave me my identification back and I was wondering if I am legally allowed to drive before my summons. Additionally, I had a trip planned and was wondering if I was allowed to leave the state. Thanks!

Check your hearing request form. It will indicate if it is also a license.

If you are on summons only, you are free to travel. If you are on bond, you need to get permision from the Court.

Court docs: Vancouver woman drove over woman, caused miscarriage

A Vancouver woman was under the influence of methamphetamine and other drugs when she ran over a woman and caused her to have a miscarriage, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Jessica Mill, 30, appeared in court Tuesday. She’s facing a charge of vehicular assault.

The court document from Clark County says that just before 2 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2017, Mill was driving to Muchas Gracias in Vancouver in a 1997 Plymouth Neon.

Her passenger was Jameshia Carter.

They ordered food and parked in the parking lot. The court document says Mill then walked around to the passenger side of the vehicle and began arguing with Carter.

Mill grabbed Carter’s purse and while they fought over the purse, they broke the vehicle’s right front window.

Mill then climbed back in the vehicle and Carter thought she was going to leave without her, so she started getting back into the passenger seat.

As Carter was partially in the vehicle, Mill put the vehicle in reverse and backed up.

While the vehicle was reversing, Carter said she was struck by the open passenger door and knocked to the ground. Mill continued driving in reverse and ran over Carter with the right front tire.

Mill kept driving backwards onto the sidewalk on the north side of the restaurant, causing the door to hit the building and fold forward. She then drove forward through the parking lot, over a curb and crashed into a tree.

A deputy who responded to the scene suspected Mill was impaired on illicit drugs. After obtaining a search warrant to collect a blood sample, investigators discovered her blood contained 0.021 mg/L of amphetamine, 0.16 mg/L of methamphetamine, 12ng/mL of Carboxy-THC and 0.083 mg/L of Alprazolam.

Carter suffered a fractured left side rib, an abrasion to her left hip and right knee and a contusion of her left knee. She was about two months pregnant and suffered a miscarriage.