GLENDALE — A Los Angeles police sergeant is set to be arraigned Wednesday on DUI charges stemming from his April 27 arrest in Glendale, along with an LAPD commander charged with public intoxication involving the same incident.
Sgt. James Kelly, now 47, was charged last Friday with one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and driving with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content, along with an allegation that his blood alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent or more.
LAPD Cmdr. Nicole Mehringer, 47, is charged with one misdemeanor count of public intoxication. She is also set to be arraigned Wednesday at the Glendale courthouse.
The two — who were both assigned to the LAPD’s Employee Relations Group — were arrested early April 27 by Glendale police near Lomita Avenue and Brand Boulevard. They were released from custody later that morning.
“Both have been relieved of duty without pay pending disciplinary action,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement released shortly after the charges were announced.
Then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck previously released a statement in which he said he had “been briefed on the circumstances of these arrests and am extremely concerned about the allegations.” He said then that the LAPD had initiated personnel investigations that “can result in serious consequences.”
McCoy: He’s dead, Jim
During his high-profile run for Senate against Ted Cruz, Democrat Beto O’Rourke has not shied away from discussing a troubling element of his past: an arrest for drunk driving in September 1998, the day after he turned 26.
But a new story in the Houston Chronicle claims that there’s an important part of the story that the Texas Congressman hasn’t addressed. According to records acquired by the paper, O’Rourke was not only nabbed for driving under the influence; he caused what could have been a catastrophic accident, then tried to flee the scene. Neither detail had previously been made available to the public. The Chronicle reports:
“State and local police reports obtained by the Chronicle and Express-News show that O’Rourke was driving drunk at what a witness called “a high rate of speed” in a 75 mph zone on Interstate 10 about a mile from the New Mexico border. He lost control and hit a truck, sending his car careening across the center median into oncoming lanes. The witness, who stopped at the scene, later told police that O’Rourke had tried to drive away from the scene.”
The 1995 records, obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, are based in large part on the testimony of a witness who reported seeing O’Rourke’s vehicle speed by him at 3 a.m. on September 27, 1998. After the accident, the same witness helped prevent O’Rourke from leaving the aftermath of the accident. There were no injuries at the scene; criminal charges were dismissed.
As the Chronicle notes, O’Rourke once told the El-Paso Times that he had been driving an intoxicated friend home, but no friend was mentioned in the police report.
In a statement issued on Thursday, O’Rourke repeated what he has said before: that he regrets the incident.
“I drove drunk and was arrested for a DWI in 1998,” O’Rourke said. “As I’ve publicly discussed over the last 20 years, I made a serious mistake for which there is no excuse.” The “serious mistake” wording was identical to the formulation he used in a Chronicle op-ed he wrote earlier this week. The piece addressed his past mistakes, which also include an arrest for jumping a fence in 1995, through the lens of criminal-justice reform.
Texas Republicans have already slammed O’Rourke for the drunk-driving incident, most recently in a tweet earlier this week, which took him to task for skipping a debate with Cruz. (In the same thread, the GOP also went after O’Rourke for having a social life in the early 1990s, a tactic that backfired.)
But it remains to be seen how potent an attack line the new revelation could be for Cruz’s campaign.
It’s true that drunk-driving offenses are nothing new for Texas voters — former governor George W. Bush once pleaded to driving under the influence, an incident that came out in the press just before he won the presidency in 2000, and did not seem to hurt his standing in the eyes of Texans. But O’Rourke came closer to causing death and destruction than Bush. Rourke has also positioned himself as a forthright chronicler of his own imperfect past, and the fact that he left out a key part of it may hurt his reputation for candor.
So far, the Cruz campaign has not commented on the Chronicle report.
The charismatic O’Rourke has embraced a strategy of staying true to his liberal bona fides and activating a wide swath of previously apathetic voters, as he crisscrosses the state, raising eye-popping fundraising totalsexclusively from small donors. Recent polls show Cruz clinging to a single-digit lead in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. The race has become so competitive that Cruz has resorted to asking his ex-adversary President Trump — who, during the 2016 campaign insinuated that Cruz’s father had a hand in killing John F. Kennedy and has attacked Cruz’s wife’s looks — for help. On Friday, the president confirmed that he would step in.
Cruz is not likely to stay quiet about O’Rourke’s omissions. But if there’s anyone willing to really exploit a personal flaw, it’s our president.
Arizona Wildcats sophomore forward Ira Lee was cited for driving under the influence in the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 19, according to a University of Arizona statement.
Lee, who averaged 2.4 points per game in 27 appearances as a freshman last year, may face repercussions from the school and team, depending on the course of a review by academic staff.
“The incident has been referred to the Dean of Students for review under the University’s student code of conduct, and the Athletics Department is reviewing the incident for team consequences,” the UA statement reads. “Students also have access to counseling and other support services.”
According to Pima County Consolidated Justice Court records, Lee was cited for Failure to Yield, Minor Driving After Drinking and DUI Extreme BAC .20 or More at the intersection of 6th Street and Warren Avenue.
Lee is scheduled for a criminal arraignment hearing on Sept. 10, according to the court’s report.
The University’s athletics department would not release any additional information regarding Lee’s citation.
The Wildcats open the 2018-19 regular season with their Red-Blue intra-squad game on Oct. 14, with their first game on Wednesday, Nov. 7 against Houston Baptist.
McCoy: Dammit Jim, I’m a Doctor, not an ornithologist!
BRATTLEBORO — What sort of testimony might be allowed during the trial of a 26-year-old man accused of causing the death of his fiance during a ride on a utility vehicle was the subject of discussion in Windham Superior Court on Monday morning.
Andrew Ielpi is facing charges of grossly negligent vehicle operation resulting in death and manslaughter in the May 22, 2016, death of Angelique Frost, who was 23 at the time of her death.
According to court documents, Ielpi was driving a six-wheeled utility vehicle when, at the urging of Frost “to go get some air” over a culvert in a privately owned road in Westminster, he lost control and crashed, throwing Frost off the vehicle and into a tree. Ielpi and his parents transported Frost’s body to an urgent care facility in Bellows Falls only to find the clinic closed. They then drove to the Bellows Falls Police Department, where Frost was declared dead.
Neither Ielpi nor his parents called 911 or sought emergency assistance for Frost before transporting her to Bellows Falls.
Ielpi’s defense attorney, David Sleigh, told Windham Superior Court Judge John Treadwell that the prosecution’s attempt to introduce testimony about what happened after the accident “was not germane or relevant in determining whether Andrew operated the vehicle in a grossly manner …”
Sleigh said introducing testimony on what happened after the accident was just “a distraction and an attempt to cast Andrew in a bad light in a way that would shift the focus of the jury from determining whether the operation of the vehicle was grossly negligent … It really doesn’t establish anything as to the essential elements. It doesn’t add anything to the jury’s analysis of whether the operation was negligent.”
The state’s attempt is to shift the jury’s analysis away from the question of whether the operation of the vehicle was grossly negligent to whether Ielpi “is a bad guy,” contested Sleigh, and allowing the state to introduce evidence to impugn his client’s character wasn’t admissible.
But Winhdam County Deputy State’s Attorney David Gartenstein argued that the testimony of what happened after the accident, including moving Frost’s body and not calling 911 and the discussions between him, his mother and his step-father during that process, was evidence of negligent conduct that the jury should have an opportunity to consider.
“To cut out part of that evidence and to say that magically the body appeared at the police station … that just does not do justice to the facts of the case as a whole,” he said, adding leaving it out would call into question the integrity and completeness of the investigation.
Gartenstein acknowledged that the medical examiner would testify that Frost’s death “was a natural consequence of her body impacting the tree,” but by moving her body, Ielpi had denied the state the opportunity to fully examine the crash scene with her body present.
“The evidence includes explanations of the time gap between when the crash occurred and when the defendant and his family members and the decedent arrived at the police station,” argued Gartenstein.
The decision to move Frost’s body also demonstrates Ielpi’s impulsive judgment that led to the accident and whether he was operating the vehicle “in a reasonable prudent manner,” the basis of the negligent operation charge, argued Gartenstein. “It’s for the jury to decide what was his state of mind and to what extent his judgment was impaired … He doesn’t call police and he doesn’t call 911. He gets in the car, he calls his mom and drives back, loads the body in the vehicle … those issues go to define standard of care as a whole.”
Gartenstein also reassured the judge that he wouldn’t offer character evidence against Ielpi, even though there is “a lengthy history” between Ielpi and the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office, he said.
Treadwell said he would issue a written decision in response to the court arguments. He also has to rule on whether toxicology should be admitted about marijuana consumption prior to crash. Ielpie’s criminal trial was originally scheduled for September, but due to a miscommunication between the defense and the state, was postponed to early next year. A report on the structural integrity of the utility vehicle commissioned by the defense was not received by prosecutors until recently, said Gartenstein.
“What we want and what [Frost’s] mom wants is a fair adjudication of the merits of what happened,” said Gartenstein, which will require a review of the report and perhaps the state’s own analysis of the vehicle.
Judge Treadwell, who characterized the miscommunication as a “wholly inadvertent error,” said he would reschedule the trial.
Ielpi, his mother and step-father and others are named in a civil suit filed by Frost’s mother, Rebecca Kemp, of Putney, who is seeking in excess of $3 million in the death of her daughter.
Ielpi’s biological father, Jonathan Ielpi, was 29 and a New York City firefighter who died when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund distributed awards to 2,880 of the 2,963 death claims filed. The average award was $2,082,128 and went as high as $7.1 million.
ROTHSCHILD – A Wausau man is facing his ninth operation while intoxicated charge after police found him passed out behind the steering wheel of the parked vehicle in the Domtar employee parking lot Wednesday night.
According to a Marathon County criminal complaint, police were called about a Silverado truck swerving all over the road near Rothschild. An officer observed a Silverado truck turn into a Domtar employee parking lot at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. While checking the lot, the officer found the truck and saw a man with his head down on the steering wheel, according to the complaint.
The officer saw the keys in the ignition of the truck, according to the complaint. The officer knocked on the window and the man, Cole Knapp, 33, talked with him, according to the complaint; Knapp’s speech was slurred and he said he didn’t know how he got there. The officer saw a Budweiser opened and sitting in the middle console cupholder, according to the complaint.
The officer asked Knapp whether he was drinking and he responded “yep,” according to the complaint; the officer also asked how many beers Knapp had and he said “enough.”
Knapp has eight prior drunken driving arrests starting in 2002, the most recent before Wednesday being in 2013, according to documents.
Knapp initially refused a breathalyzer and a blood draw, but when taken to Aspirus Hospital he consented to a breathalyzer, which registered a 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content, according to the complaint.
Knapp is being held on a $25,000 cash bond. Knapp is charged with operating while intoxicated (7th or higher) and operating with prohibited alcohol content (7th or higher).
If found guilty, Knapp faces over 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for each charge.