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

Man arrested for drunk driving after fixing truck and crashing into his home

According to Clare County Sheriff's Office, 38-year-old David Wesley Wright had repaired his 2000 Dodge Durango and decided to take it for a test drive and ended up crashing into his home. Police arrested him for drunk driving.
According to Clare County Sheriff’s Office, 38-year-old David Wesley Wright had repaired his 2000 Dodge Durango and decided to take it for a test drive and ended up crashing into his home. Police arrested him for drunk driving.
(Courtesy | Clare County Sheriff’s Office)

HAYES TWP, MI — A man was three times the legal limit when he was arrested for his third drunk driving charge early Monday, according to police.

It was about 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 when a call came through to Clare County Central Dispatch reporting a suspicious situation involving a vehicle on Oak Flats Road in Hayes Township.

David Wesley Wright
 According to Clare County Sheriff’s Office, 38-year-old David Wesley Wright had repaired his 2000 Dodge Durango and decided to take it for a test drive.

Somehow, Wright drove the vehicle into his own home and when officers arrived at the scene they found him intoxicated and arrested him for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, according to police.

Wright was arraigned Monday in the Clare County 80 th District Court for operating while intoxicated third offense and bond was set at $10,000 or 10 percent.

https://articles.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2017/11/man_arrested_for_drunk_driving.amp

Fort Bend County deputy recovering after being hit by DWI driver, officials say

 RICHMOND, Texas – A driver is in custody after a deputy-involved crash in Richmond, officials said.

Fort Bend County Deputy Crystal Schooler was out of her vehicle investigating a suspicious person on the 11000 block of Harlem Road near the Grand Parkway at 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators said a driver hit the deputy’s vehicle, knocking it into her and the person she was questioning.

According to officials, the deputy reportedly has a concussion and a fractured tibia.

Deputies said the person she was speaking to suffered minor injuries.

The driver was arrested for a DWI.

Get email alerts for local stories and events around the world.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Monday posted a message from Schooler:

“First and foremost I would like to thank God for watching over me. I’m truly blessed and grateful to be alive.

“I would like to thank everyone for all the text messages, calls and visits. To my FBCSO family, thank you so much for the love and support. I truly appreciate y’all going the extra mile in my time of need. I feel happy knowing that y’all will have my back with whatever may come.

“I would like to thank Sugar Land P.D., Stafford P.D., Missouri City P.D, and Houston P.D. for assisting the FBCSO with providing a police escort all the way to Memorial-Hermann Hospital – The Medical Center due to Life Flight not being available.

I also would like to thank Fort Bend County EMS and Fire for their support and help in my time of need. As well, I would like to thank the nurses and doctors of Memorial-Hermann Hospital – The Medical Center for their treatment and care.

“I also appreciate all of the flowers and cards I have received. To my family and friends, I appreciate the love and support you have given me. I also appreciate the citizens of Fort Bend County and surrounding areas who have been outpouring their support for me in this situation.

“Last but not least, a special thank you to my husband for being by my side this whole time. I hope to have a speedy recovery and get back to work as soon as I can. Much love.”

https://www.click2houston.com/news/fort-bend-county-deputy-hit-injured-by-dwi-driver-officials-say

Cannabis sales must avoid mistakes made by alcohol deregulation

University of Alberta professor Dr. Elaine Hyshka says the Alberta government needs to make sure it sets proper regulations for looming cannabis legalization.

University of Alberta professor Dr. Elaine Hyshka says the Alberta government needs to make sure it sets proper regulations for looming cannabis legalization. (The Canadian Press)

As the province begins developing a framework for legalizing cannabis, a University of Alberta doctor said she hopes Alberta learns from past mistakes with alcohol deregulation.

Dr. Elaine Hyshka said the government has some decisions to make before legalization takes place on July 1.

“I’ll be watching to see how government maintains control over things like price, advertising and marketing, the density of outlets and other factors that really are critical for really trying to encourage moderate use,” Hyshka told CBC’s Radio Active Wednesday.

Hyshka is speaking at the University of Alberta Thursday about what the Cannabis Act means for Canadians. The presentation at 5 p.m. will be livestreamed on their website.

She said Alberta’s cannabis price point can’t be so low people are encouraged to use it, nor can it be so high that users turn to the black market for cheaper prices.

Ontario has proposed a $10 per gram price, which, with the proposed federal tax plan, would cost $11 in Alberta. A mid-level dealer in Calgary told CBC News in October that he typically sells for anywhere between $6 and $8 a gram.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci has rejected the federal cannabis tax plan and the Alberta government has not set a price yet.

Hyshka said she’ll also be watching how many stores selling cannabis will be allowed in a particular area. She said the amount of liquor stores on every corner, some of which are open until 2 a.m., is a mistake the government shouldn’t repeat.

Elaine Hyshka

Hyshka says restrictions should be placed on marketing and advertising cannabis. (CBC )

“Although cannabis as a substance is less harmful than alcohol, we’d be wanting to see some new restrictions put in place that really set the standard for how we regulate psychoactive substances,” she said.

She also hopes marketing of the product is restricted to prevent influencing a new generation of cannabis users.

“[Hopefully, we] don’t go out of the way to stimulate a new market or stimulate a new demand for what is not a harmless substance,” she said.

Cannabis still ‘liberally available’

Hyshka said that though there are documented benefits of cannabis, such as for those in chronic pain, that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful — or, in the case of impaired driving, dangerous.

But she said concerns raised recently by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police about impaired driving, while valid, are not new.

“It’s important to remember that cannabis is liberally available right now through the illegal market and many people are using it and some people are driving while impaired,” she said.

“Enforcing cannabis impaired driving or other sorts of infractions is not new.”

But Hyshka and the police chiefs place importance on a common, primary goal: discouraging those who don’t use cannabis from starting.

“I think that’s a main objective,” she said. “[And] if you are going to engage in cannabis use, how can you do so responsibly in a way that is going to try to, as much as possible, protect your health.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cannabis-marketing-advertising-legalization-1.4415063

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regs

OTTAWA — Health Canada offered hints Tuesday about the government’s plans for legal pot, including, plain packaging and stern, stark health warnings like those found on tobacco products.

The department released a set of proposed regulations that, among other things, would limit colours and graphics on cannabis packs and establish a system to trace pot through the distribution system.

It said the warnings should highlight risks, including the dangers associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, drug-impaired driving and what can happen when alcohol is mixed with marijuana.

The department’s so-called consultation paper is now open to public feedback for the next two months.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the government is studying other proposals including a tracking system to monitor the cannabis supply chain and help prevent pot being diverted into and out of the legal market.

Health Canada also said Tuesday the proposals seek to elaborate on elements including what can be displayed on a package and what can’t, including anything that might entice youngsters.

“Text and graphics used in brand elements could not be appealing to youth and would be subject to the packaging and labelling restrictions in the proposed Cannabis Act,” the department said.

“Health Canada is also considering establishing standards (such as limiting use of colour and size) of these brand elements.”

Government officials said late Tuesday the proposals attempt to elaborate on what can be displayed on a package to ensure the legal industry can keep itself distinct from the black market, while competing with it.

Producers would be allowed to display brand elements, the officials confirmed, saying they are talking to legal producers about packaging.

The officials also said Health Canada sees its plans as consistent with what the federally appointed task force on pot legalization recommended: plain and standard packaging.

The proposed regulations would also require that cannabis workers get valid security clearances issued by the minister of health. Individuals with connections to organized crime, or criminal records or shady associates could be denied clearances.

Earlier Tuesday, Statistics Canada said it plans to start measuring the economic and social impacts of recreational pot — even before it becomes legal.

The agency said it wants to gradually develop the capabilities to capture and report information on non-medical cannabis.

It says collecting data both before and after marijuana becomes legal will allow Canadians, governments and businesses to form a clearer picture of the economic and social consequences of lawful pot.

The Liberals also faced criticism from the opposition Tuesday for limiting debate on their cannabis legislation, which is currently before the House of Commons.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould defended the move, saying the government has long been up front with the House and with Canadians about the plan to legalize pot by July 2018.

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regs