LAPD cop hit by DUI vehicle: Major injuries as 405 freeway shut

A Los Angeles police officer was seriously injured when a man allegedly driving while impaired crashed into his patrol SUV on the shoulder of the San Diego (405) Freeway while he was outside the vehicle conducting a traffic stop on another motorist, authorities said Tuesday.

The crash occurred at 11:47 p.m. Monday on the northbound freeway near Santa Monica Boulevard, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.

The officer had just pulled over the driver of a Honda Accord for alleged speeding, and he was outside his 2014 Ford Explorer SUV, which was parked behind the Honda, when a 2003 Infiniti Q35 crashed into the SUV, which then struck the officer, the CHP reported.

The officer, whose name was not released, suffered a “major” injury, the CHP reported. According to reports from the scene, the officer suffered a serious leg injury. He was hospitalized in unknown condition. An LAPD spokesman declined to provide a condition report, citing privacy concerns.

“It was a close call,” CHP Officer Vance Perreira told reporters at the scene. “Any time you operate on the right shoulder of the freeway, it’s never safe.”

Perreira said CHP officers were driving in the area a short time after the crash occurred.

“They said it could have been about … a minute after it happened,” Perreira told ABC7. “They passed by, were first on scene, rendered aid, possibly saved his life.”

CHP officers arrested the driver of the Infiniti, 34-year-old Douglas Donovan of Woodland Hills, and booked him on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the CHP reported. He was not injured.

The driver of the Honda also was not injured.

All northbound lanes were closed until about 6 a.m., when two lanes were re-opened, the CHP reported. By about 7:30 a.m., all but one northbound lane had been re-opened. The remaining lane was re-opened a couple of hours afterward.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the West Los Angeles Area CHP office at (310) 642-3939.

Christmas Party

Christmas Party Bj’s Brewary

Monday, Dec 18, 2017, 6:00 PM

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
1690 28th Street Boulder, CO

24 Members Attending

Happy Holidays WordPress Peeps!After almost 5 years of leading the WordPress meetup, I have decided its time to pass the baton to Angela Bowman ( As most of you know Angela teaches classes at BDA, and she has been co-organizing the WordPress Builders Meetup for the past three years. This meetup is designed for people who build WordP…

Check out this Meetup →

Checkpoints don’t violate amendment in most cases, officials say

Percentages of crash deaths involving alcohol or speed
The International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group reported in 2015 that the United States, among 19 countries, has one of the highest percentages of crash deaths involving alcohol or speed.

WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2015. IRTAD Road Safety Annual Report, 2015.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that if they’re conducted properly, sobriety checkpoints do not constitute illegal search and seizure, in most states.

The decision held that the interest in reducing alcohol-impaired driving was sufficient to justify the brief intrusion of a properly conducted sobriety checkpoint.

“We understand that some think checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment,” said Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King. “However, both Oklahoma Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have found that checkpoints are legal.”

Checkpoints are used randomly to check primarily for sobriety and driver’s license and insurance verification. Most states, including Oklahoma, allow sobriety checkpoints, during which suspicious drivers are subject to sobriety tests.

The Daily Press recently conducted a Facebook Forum wherein it asked citizens what they thought about the legality of random checkpoints.

“I don’t mind DUI checkpoints because I feel there is no excuse for impaired driving,” said Brandon Eubanks. “Drunk driving constitutes what I think of as a crime against the community. However, using them as random search points and running ID, I am not nearly as OK with.”

According to guidelines passed by the Tahlequah City Council on Oct. 3, 2005, the TPD may conduct random driver’s license and safety stops to check driver’s license and mechanical condition of vehicles. Officers are expected to be alert for other violations of the law. It reads: “Officers shall use care and good judgment in placing checkpoints at locations that will not endanger the public or the officer.”

Night checks will be conducted at the supervisor’s discretion, and officers shall follow guidelines in accordance with federal, state and municipal laws.

Some citizens believe authorities use checkpoints as a form of harassment.

“I’ve had too many friends and family have this used as a reason to harass them and throw them on the ground, because small-town cops and brown people… pretextual stops have been used forever as ‘reasonable suspicion,'” Izzy Rayovac said on Facebook. “When you get pulled out with a gun to your head while your 5-year-old is in the car watching, just because of the way you look, you tend to think a bit differently. If using the checkpoint as a pretext for stop is finally made unlawful, then I’d feel safe with DUI checks. There is no accountability these days and until there is, it’s not worth the risk.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a sobriety checkpoint is a predetermined location at which law enforcement officers stop vehicles to check whether the driver is impaired. They either stop every vehicle or stop them at some regular interval, such as every third or 10th vehicle.

“While performing checkpoints, we have to have some type of pattern where we randomly stop every other car, stop every car, and so on,” King said.

At sobriety checkpoints, law enforcement officials evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment at certain points on the roadway.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop C, Lt. Bill Golden said each department has its own policies to follow on how to perform checkpoints. Checkpoints performed by the OHP Troop C must have a minimum of two officers, be conducted in a safe area, and receive supervisor approval.

The CDC stated the purpose of checkpoints is to deter driving after drinking by increasing the perceived risk of arrest. To do this, checkpoints should be highly visible, publicized extensively, and conducted regularly.

Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said while the sheriff’s office doesn’t typically participate in checkpoints, sobriety checkpoints have to be publicized before they are conducted.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2016 that there were 10,497 drunken driving deaths across the nation.

OHP Lt. Golden said while performing random checkpoints, the OHP typically checks for vehicle defects, driver’s license and security verification, and sobriety.

“DUI arrests are high in Cherokee County, particularly during the summer,” he said.

The CDC reported that sobriety checkpoints can potentially prevent nearly one out of 10 DUI-related deaths, reducing impaired driving crashes and deaths by a median of 9 percent.

“Checkpoints do help reduce the amount of impaired driver’s,” King said.

NHTSA defines a sobriety checkpoint as the stopping of vehicles, or a specific sequence of vehicles, at a predetermined fixed location to detect drivers who are impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

For instance, while conducting a checkpoint in 2015, TPD, OHP and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service arrested Nicholas Ryan Renfro, 25, after observing he had “exaggerated reflexes” and displayed signs of impairment.

He was arrested for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, driving while under the influence of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of more than $1,300 in counterfeit bills.

According to Oklahoma statutes, any person operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or any other substance, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100, not more than $500, not more than six months’ imprisonment or a fine and imprisonment.

Upon conviction, the Department of Public Safety shall suspend that person’s driving privilege. The first suspension would be for 30 days.

King said TPD has participated in at least five checkpoints this year, but he could not determine how many citations were issued.

Ohio Sheriff: Drinking-and-driving Facebook video leads to arrest

COLUMBUS – Authorities say an Ohio man took cellphone video of himself drinking while driving and posted it on Facebook, leading to his arrest hours later.

The Franklin County sheriff’s office says someone tipped off deputies about the video after it was posted Monday, and the vehicle was stopped that afternoon south of Columbus, in Hamilton Township.

The driver, 28-year-old Dustin Rittgers, is from nearby Obetz. He faces five misdemeanor charges, including operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and having an open container in a vehicle.

Rittgers pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Franklin County Municipal Court. Rittgers had no publicly listed phone number, and his public defender couldn’t be reached for comment early Wednesday.

Records indicate Rittgers pleaded guilty earlier this year in a separate impaired-driving case.

“This situation shows the power of social media. Social media led us straight to this suspect to stop him before he was able to hurt himself or others. Social media is another crime-fighting tool we use to keep Franklin County residents safe,” said Sheriff Scott.

Police officer charged with DWI on the job

Officer was allegedly driving a department vehicle in uniform 

A 16-year veteran of the Pearland Police Department was charged Saturday with driving while intoxicated, according to the department.

Officer Michael Gebert “was in uniform and driving a department patrol vehicle at the time of the incident,” the department reported.

As a result of the incident, the department as opened an internal affairs investigation. Gebert, 42, was immediately placed on administrative leave.

“I am disappointed one of our officers is the subject of a criminal investigation,” Chief of Police Johnny Spires said in a written statement. “I can assure the citizens we will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations, keeping in mind the officer is entitled to the same due process as any other citizen.”

Gebert originally joined the department in 2001, and has earned recognition for the quality of his work throughout the years.

“I believe he was the traffic division officer of the year one year,” said Department Spokesman Capt. Onesimo Lopez.

The Breathalyzer’s Effect on Drinking & Driving

How scientists and bureaucrats conspired to make American roads safer for driving.

Eighty years ago, science slipped into the backseat of your car, rolled down the windows, and made itself at home. It has remained there ever since.

In 1937, the first drivers were fined for drinking and driving based on evidence from a newfangled device called the “drunkometer.” It could figure out how much you’d been drinking based on what you exhaled, and it fundamentally reshaped our relationship with liquor, not to mention the relationship between lawmakers and local police.

Technology often arises to solve a problem, and this was no exception. Drunk driving had long been a problem. Before Henry Ford was born, drunk drivers got behind the reins, causing mayhem and destruction with horse and buggy.

As late as 1915, when Ford’s Model T’s were already tootling about, a Georgia man named Vince Sullivan tore down the road at a high rate of speed in his horse-drawn carriage. He swore loudly as he passed a church then swerved into a yard and tore up a garden fence. He was arrested for drunk driving (also referred to at the time as “drunk and driving” or “driving while drunk,” but never “drink driving,” as the British have awkwardly phrased it).

A report in the Macon Telegraph suggested the circular vagaries behind Sullivan’s offense: “The court holds that a drunk is a man who races a horse along a public highway, uses bad language and is so under the influence that that he can’t keep in the highway but tears down fences along the side of the road or street.”

But this definition gets at a central point: For years, behavior defined inebriety, not consumption. If you acted like a drunk and damaged property or person like a drunk, you were drunk and unfit for the road and subsequently could be jailed or fined.

For obvious reasons, this became more of an issue with the rise of the internal combustion engine. As horsepower increased and speed limits rose, the consequences of piloting a couple of tons of hurtling steel with impaired reflexes—and without a sober horse as co-pilot—grew more dire. The first recorded arrest for drunk driving in an automobile took place in London in 1897, when a sodden 25-year-old taxi driver plowed into a grocery wagon.

The first American laws against driving a motor vehicle while impaired were passed in New York in 1910, at which time the United State was home to nearly a half-million automobiles. And the goal of the constabulary soon shifted more to detecting drunk drivers before they caused damage or death.

At the outset, drunkenness was determined by observation. If a car was moving erratically, the police were empowered to pull it over and administer a field test. The officer would sniff the driver’s breath, and then would ask the suspect to follow the tip of a pencil with their eyes, stand on one foot, or walk a line the officer had drawn on the pavement in chalk. Another test was to ask someone to say “Methodist Episcopal” three times in a row.

Such tests were of course subject to grading on a curve. A well-known local doctor might be deemed sober enough to continue home, but a similarly soused warehouseman might be frogmarched off to the hoosegow to sleep it off and be levied a fine. Also, these tests lacked a certain scientific rigor.

So scientists showed up, clipboards in hand. In the 1920s, a Swedish toxicologist named Erik Widmark, a giant in forensic pharmacology, developed protocols for analyzing blood to determine how much alcohol a person had tippled. The early approach was intrusive—five small tubes of blood would be collected from your earlobe, and then a carefully measured portion placed in a small cup over a solution, which changed composition and color as the ethanol in the blood evaporated. (Five samples were needed for multiple tests to ensure reliability.) While Widmark’s blood tests were widely employed in Europe (Nazi Germany embraced them in 1938; Sweden established a limit of 0.08-percent blood alcohol in 1941), the blood test was largely resisted in the United States as being overly invasive.

Addressing the problem, several devices appeared soon after that could estimate how much alcohol was in your system by testing your breath, which science had calibrated to match the alcohol in your blood. Dr. Emil Bogen of California used chemicals held in a football bladder for his device; an inventor in Chicago named W.D. McNally developed a similar instrument that got wide play in the popular science press, although it never caught on.

In 1931, Dr. Rolla N. Harger of Indiana University developed and named a breath-based testing unit he called “the drunkometer” as a joke, but the name stuck. The suspect would be asked to inflate a balloon, the contents of which would then be passed through a purple mixture of potassium permanganate, sulfuric acid, and water. Trace amounts of alcohol would alter the purple color of the solution. This would be compared with the color of test tubes prepared from samples of people whose alcohol blood content levels were known.

By 1937 the results were accepted by state courts in Indiana; two drivers that year were fined $5 each for drunk driving. In 1939 Indiana passed the first state laws linking degrees of intoxication with alcohol blood levels, defining drunkenness as having a blood alcohol content of 0.15-percent—nearly double the common threshold of 0.08-percent today. “Science is replacing guesswork in obtaining evidence in drunken-driving cases,” The New York Timesreported.

Still, the drunkometer was cumbersome. So in 1954 a more refined version—called the Breathalyzer—was rolled out at the National Safety Congress, followed by tests in six communities in the U.S. and Canada. This device was developed by Lt. Robert Borkenstein, supervisor of the Indiana State Police Laboratory, who had help from Indiana State University. (Note to self: Do not mess with Indiana when it comes to drunk driving.)

The early version wasn’t exactly pocket-sized. It weighed 14 pounds and had a tube into which the suspect blew. The breath sample then bubbled up through a liquid, which would change color from yellow to blue—the bluer it became, the drunker you were. This was analyzed by photoelectric cells, which it then translated to a meter and showed how much a person had drunk. (It wasn’t foolproof; some found they could clog the machine by spitting into it. Strainers were installed.)

Technology is adept at shrinking things down if nothing else. Today’s breathalyzers are smaller and far more complicated internally—most employ a fuel cell with two electrodes bridged by electrolytes. The ethanol in the breath is broken down by one electrode into acetic acid, while the other extracts oxygen, creating a mild electric current between them. A microprocessor analyzes the current, and calculates how much alcohol is present, which is converted to a blood alcohol content percentage.

For about $25, you can now buy a BACtrack analyzer that fits on a keychain, and instantly gives you your blood alcohol level in cheerful red numbers with reasonable accuracy and reliability.

As the technology has gotten smaller and easier to use, it has enabled social control to be more easily corralled by centralized authority. In the past century, drunk driving has gone from being a matter of local discretion to something now tightly regulated from above. Thanks to science, states first took the power to determine who was drunk away from local police by establishing blood alcohol levels. Later the federal government took that control from the states by making the 0.08-percent blood alcohol level a virtual national mandate by controlling grants for highway construction and the like, most notably with 1998 legislation signed by President Bill Clinton.

As we mark eight decades of laws based on what was once called the “chemical breath smeller,” we thus mark the rise of science and federal oversight, with the incontrovertible result that society has become safer as a result.

At a time when science seems widely mistrusted and the federal government widely loathed, it also may mark the last time that a dramatic, national policy backed by facts and overseen by legislators in Washington has gone unresisted, virtually unremarked, and hailed for its impressive track record of success.