Convictions Overturned for Driver Who Inhaled Dust Remover | Minnesota News | US News

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the impaired driving convictions of a woman who was found slumped over in her car on three occasions after allegedly inhaling from a can of dust remover.

The chemical in the can — 1,1-Difluoroethane, or DFE — was found in the woman’s system, and she was convicted of three counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a hazardous substance. But the Supreme Court overturned her convictions because DFE is not listed as a hazardous substance under Minnesota’s driving-while-impaired statute.

“We acknowledge that based on our holding today, a driver dangerously intoxicated by DFE is not criminally liable under the plain language of the current DWI statutes,” Justice Natalie Hudson wrote for the majority. She said it’s up to the Legislature to refine the law.

DFE is found in refrigerated-based propellant cans, commonly sold under the brand name Dust-Off, that are used to clean computer keyboards and electronics. Each time the woman, Chantel Lynn Carson, was found in her car — slumped over, passed out, slurring and with bloodshot eyes — she had one or more of those cans with her.

In arguing that her convictions should be upheld, the state said that while Minnesota’s occupational safety and health rule on hazardous substances does not specifically list DFE, the rule also says it “does not include all hazardous substances and will not always be current.”

The rule also includes a list of “characteristics” that would make a substance hazardous. The state argued that DFE has many of those characteristics and falls into that category.

But the Supreme Court disagreed, saying the statute plainly says that the types of hazardous substances that can lead to a driving-while-impaired conviction are limited to those specifically listed.

Justice Anne McKeig dissented, saying DFE has the characteristics of a hazardous substance even though it’s not mentioned by name.

“Under the court’s interpretation of the statute, Minnesotans may inhale Dust-Off and then drive at their pleasure while endangering their fellow citizens,” she wrote. “This impunity cannot be what the Legislature intended.”

Carson’s attorney, Lydia Villalva Lijo, said in a statement that the decision was great news for her client.

“She continues to work hard every day to contribute in positive ways to her community and to keep her life on track,” she said. “It has been a hard road and we should encourage her progress.” 

Westminster police say BPD officer using SWAT vehicle may have been drunk

A veteran Baltimore City SWAT officer is under investigation after an argument over kneeling for the national anthem led to an encounter with police in Carroll County, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned.

The argument — and suspicion that the city police officer was impaired while on call and using an SUV carrying SWAT guns — took place just after midnight Saturday in Westminster, according to police.

Westminster police were called to a Denny’s restaurant for disorderly customers. Customers were reported to be arguing over NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, police said.

In the parking lot, Westminster police encountered a customer identified as Bryant Russell. In a report, an officer wrote, “I detected a moderate odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person and exhaled breath. Further, I noticed his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. His speech was slurred as he talked.”

Police had been told the group had been drinking at a wedding before going to Denny’s.

Russell responded, according to the reports, “He was a Baltimore City police officer. You’re not going to intimidate me or threaten me.”

Westminster police were concerned Russell was going to drive.

“I advised if I observed him operating the vehicle, he would be placed under arrest for driving under the influence, at which time he replied, ‘Don’t threaten me,’ and again advised he was an officer,” according to the Westminster police officer’s report.

The vehicle Russell was using wasn’t his personal car but a black SUV owned by the Police Department and used by SWAT officers.

In their report, police said, “Russell advised there are ‘guns in the vehicle,’ and that he was on call, and could drive the vehicle anywhere in the state,” the report said.

A Baltimore Police Department policy governs the use of so-called take home vehicles: They are to be used only for official duties and responsibilities, and officers who have them can’t exhibit conduct that discredits BPD.

Westminster police did not arrest Russell. They did not see him drive. The officers were sent to another call. When they returned to Denny’s, Russell and the SUV were gone.

Baltimore police SWAT SUV© Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Baltimore police SWAT SUVA spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said the incident is under investigation by Internal Affairs.

Russell is not on any type of suspension. It is not known how the city-owned SUV was taken from the parking lot at Denny’s after Westminster police left.

Source: Westminster police say BPD officer using SWAT vehicle may have been drunk

Suspended detective back on duty

Detective Stacey Jenkins of the Fort Wayne Police Department has been on sick leave since he served his 30-day suspension for drunken driving, Police Chief Steve Reed announced Thursday.

At the Board of Public Safety meeting, Reed said he doesn’t normally talk about leave. However, he did say that Jenkins, who was suspended from July 25 to Sept. 6, was back with the department.

“He’s just not on the streets yet,” Reed said after the meeting.

Jenkins pleaded guilty in late July to operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.15 percent.

Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck handed Jenkins a suspended 60-day sentence. A charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Jenkins was arrested at 3:45 a.m. June 14. He was found asleep in his car at the side of Maplecrest Road, near East State Boulevard.

A police report indicated his pupils were normal and his speech was good, although he was swaying.

He told the arresting officer he had taken insulin and had received injections for his back.

A Breathalyzer test administered about an hour later indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.101 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the report said.

 

Source: Suspended detective back with FWPD | Local | The Journal Gazette

Drunken Florida Keys woman arrested after leading deputies on chase

MARATHON, Fla. – Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrested an intoxicated Marathon woman after she led them on a chase up U.S. Highway 1.

The deputies were called to a McDonald’s at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and witnessed Janice Hastings, 60, blocking traffic in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane.

After a customer and manager asked her to move, Hastings drove her car across the lot and parked across several spots.

When one deputy approached Hastings’ car, the manager told him he believed the woman was intoxicated.

As the deputy attempted to speak with Hastings, she hit the gas, jumped a curb and began driving north on U.S. 1.

Driving at speeds up to 45 mph, Hastings refused to stop with three deputies in pursuit. Another deputy was able to puncture all four of her tires after deploying spikes at an intersection.

However, Hastings kept driving with four flat tires and began fishtailing and endangering other drivers.

The car eventually came to a stop at mile marker 57.2, but Hastings refused to open her car door or window, shouting at officers that she was not drunk.

A passerby told deputies she had seen Hastings leaving J.J.’s Doghouse bar and driving erratically, running through a traffic light and hitting the median several times. The woman made the first call to 911 about Hastings’ driving.

Deputies said Hastings refused to take a sobriety test on the roadside or at the detention center after she was placed under arrest.

While in the detention center, Hastings also bit a deputy when he attempted to remove gum that she refused to spit out of her mouth.

Hastings was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving, DUI, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.

 

Source: Drunken Florida Keys woman arrested after leading deputies on…

NC firefighter killed by suspected drunk driver while clearing storm debris

NC firefighter clearing storm debris killed by suspected drunk driverBY MARK PRICEmsprice@charlotteobserver.comLINKEDINGOOGLE+PINTERESTREDDITPRINTORDER REPRINT OF THIS STORYOCTOBER 09, 2017 8:05 AMA Burke County firefighter was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver around midnight Monday while answering a call about storm debris on a roadway.Triple Community firefighters were dispatched to the site of a fallen tree that was blocking several lanes of Highway 70 near the Drexel intersection, according to media outlets. Triple is about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte, near Morganton.The firefighter was identified as Jason Keith Hensley, 40, according to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV. He died instantly, media outlets reported.ADVERTISINGBurke County was under a Tornado Warning on Sunday evening and a tornado was confirmed to have touched down around the southeast of Morganton in Burke County.Firefighters were in the process of clearing debris when a vehicle traveling east on Hwy 70 struck Hensley, WBTV reported.The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged 58-year-old Randall Stewart with driving while impaired, driving without a license, reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, reported WBTV.Stewart allegedly struck two other vehicles that were parked at the scene including Hensley’s personal vehicle which had the emergency lights activated, troopers told WBTV.

Source: NC firefighter killed by suspected drunk driver while clearing storm debris | Charlotte Observer