Driver arrested for being under the influence of vanilla extract

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Police said a driver was arrested for driving under the influence after drinking vanilla extract Wednesday evening.

Stefanie Warner-Grise, 50, of New Canaan, was booked for operating under the influence after police were called to the scene of a vehicle stopped in a New Canaan intersection. The 911 caller said that the driver’s eyes were closed.

Responding officers said Warner-Grise had an odor of vanilla on her breath, her speech was slurred, and she was unable to answer basic questions. Several bottles of vanilla extract were allegedly found inside the vehicle.

Police said Warner-Grise failed field sobriety tests and was taken into custody. She refused a blood alcohol content test.

She was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Dayton man indicted for fleeing traffic stop, killing passenger in crash

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton man was indicted Thursday on charges related to a crash that killed his passenger last July.

On July 14, 2018, around 1:40 a.m., troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol tried to pull over a Dodge Magnum for a traffic stop on Gettysburg Avenue.

The driver, 38-year-old Thurston Melson, initially pulled over but quickly drove off and turned onto Oakridge Drive.

He lost control of the car near the intersection of Geneva Road and struck an RTA pole. The force of the impact broke the vehicle in half.

35-year-old Ebony Radford, who was sitting in the front seat, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following the crash, Melson tested positive for both marijuana metabolite and alcohol.

He was indicted on the following charges:

  • Two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide
  • One count of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer
  • One count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol
  • One count of operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana metabolite
  • One count of OVI

Melson will be arraigned on February 7, 2019, at 8:30 a.m.

Police sergeant with pending OWI sent to leadership training on taxpayers’ dime

The Kenosha Police sergeant who was sentenced this month to 40 days in jail in connection with an OWI crash attended a leadership training program on the taxpayers’ dime while his court case was pending.

According to online court records, Sgt. Greg Munnelly pleaded guilty Jan. 2 to causing injury while operating a vehicle under the influence.

The crash happened Nov. 6, 2017, after prosecutors said Munnelly had been drinking and watching a Packers game with a friend.

But on Aug. 9, 2018, while Munnelly’s court case was pending, the Kenosha Police Department received confirmation from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that Munnelly had been accepted to attend the DOJ’s Leadership in Police Organizations Training. The sergeant had previously registered for the training.

A Kenosha Police Department spokesperson said Munnelly began the training in October 2018 along with two other sergeants.

“The sergeants graduated from LPO in December of 2018, prior to the disposition of the pending case,” said Kenosha Police Lt. James Beller in an email.

“The case was not adjudicated prior to LPO training, so (Munnelly) attended/graduated from training,” Beller added.

The cost of the training was $400, according to Beller, which came out of the Kenosha Police Department’s training budget.

Beller said the Kenosha Police Department strives to provide leadership training to all of its supervisors, and that Munnelly being promoted to sergeant in 2017 is what qualified him for the leadership training through DOJ.

The Kenosha Police Department’’s Training Division then applied and scheduled Munnelly’s training, despite the fact that he was involved in the ongoing court case related to the OWI crash.

“The pending (court) case against Sgt. Munnelly was information not known to the Training Division,” Beller said in an email.

On Jan. 3, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said Munnelly had been placed on administrative leave.

“I will be preparing charges for submission to the Kenosha Police and Fire Commission,” the chief said in his Jan. 3 statement. “Sergeant Munnelly’s off-duty incident is not acceptable or reflective of our standards, and is in no way condoned. Based on his conduct and the conviction, I will be seeking termination of his employment with the Kenosha Police Department.”

On Tuesday, Beller said Munnelly’s completion of the LPO training “has no bearing on Chief Miskinis’ position on Sergeant Munnelly’s employment.”

Beller said there is no update available regarding charges the department expects to submit to the Fire and Police Commission.

Munnelly rear-ended a vehicle in the November 2017 crash near Ryan Road and Howell Avenue.

The driver of the other car sustained a concussion and injuries to his back and knees. He needed to undergo physical therapy and miss roughly one month of work.

Munnelly also suffered a concussion in the crash.

According to the criminal complaint, Munnelly initially agreed to perform field sobriety tests but later refused.

He was transported to a hospital, where a blood draw revealed his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.

On Jan. 2, a Milwaukee County Judge sentenced Munnelly to 40 days of confinement in the House of Corrections.

He began his sentence Jan. 9.

Attorney charged with DWI after disobeying officer’s Uber order

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A New Mexico defense attorney is accused of driving while intoxicated after disobeying a police officer’s warning not to get behind the wheel, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

According to a criminal complaint, a police officer said David Serna, 65, appeared to be intoxicated as he got into his vehicle at a supermarket parking lot. The officer called an Uber to take him home, the newspaper reported.

Serna got into the vehicle, but 10 minutes later he allegedly told the driver to return to the parking lot so he could drive to his girlfriend’s house and bring her flowers, KOB reported.

When Serna tried to drive away, the same police officer stopped him, the Journal reported. When Serna’s blood-alcohol level was allegedly above the legal limit when he was tested, he was arrested, the newspaper reported.

Serna was released on his own recognizance Tuesday, 

Dash cam video: Uber driver fights with ‘drunk’ passenger over steering wheel

A Sacramento-area Uber driver escaped what could have been a deadly ride when his front-seat passenger grabbed the steering wheel on multiple occasions while in highway traffic. 

The driver, Dax Castro, picked up his passenger, 32-year-old Tswj Vang, around 10 p.m. Saturday from Corner Pocket Sports Bar in Citrus Heights. 

Vang would eventually be arrested and charged with DUI for taking control of the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said. 

His preliminary alcohol screening, or initial Breathalyzer test, registered 0.19, CHP said.

Tswj Vang, 32

Sacramento County Sheriff’s DepartmentTswj Vang, 32

Castro explained that what ensued Saturday night nearly cost him his life and the life of his rider. 

Q: Take us back to this weekend. What happened?

Castro: So, I pick this guy up at the Corner Pocket, and he was like every other drunk I pick up at that time of night. He seemed fine and everything was good. He gets in the car and I got the disco lights and stuff going on on my Uber, and he thinks it’s great. 

Q: When did things change?

CastroAll of the sudden, he starts asking me, “Have you ever crashed?” 

“No man, I’m good,” (I replied). 

“We’re going to crash,” (he said). 

“No, we’re not going to crash,” (I said). 

I’m just thinking he’s drunk and talking nonsense.

Q: He first grabbed the wheel near Business 80 and Fulton Avenue. What happened there?

CastroHe reaches over and grabs the wheel and yanks the car across two lanes of traffic. 

Of course I freaked out, hit his hand and, you know, you stay there. I’ll stay here. Let me get you home because what am I going to do? I can’t drop him off on the side of the freeway.


Q: He backs off for a bit. What happens next?

Castro: He just reaches over and grabs the wheel with both hands and just pulls as hard as he can, and we go three lanes of traffic across (Highway) 99 and it was… it was intense. 

I just was — I was shocked. Who plans for that?

Q: Are you slamming on the brakes at this point?

CastroNo, I’m actually looking at all my mirrors and trying to figure out how we’re not hit already. 

And then I’m like trying to figure out, OK, he’s grabbing the steering wheel. 

I’m trying to fight him off.

Q: You eventually make it to the U.S. 50/Highway 99 interchange, where you come to a stop. How did you call police while fending off the rider and keeping you both safe?

CastroI was able to reach over and press the hot button, the little 911 button in the app. So I’ve got Bluetooth in my ear. 

So, I’m talking with them while I’m holding onto him. And they did a traffic block and came up and grabbed him out of the car.

Q: In addition to having solo riders sit in the back, what other advice would you recommend for other drivers?

Castro: If you don’t have a dash cam, go get one today. 

I’ve used it for domestic violence, people fighting in the back. I’ve had people spill alcohol in my car, you know, sneak it in, and I’ve been able to go back to the footage and actually isolate where it was. 

I’ve had people pass out and say that I did stuff and all sorts of things that can happen, and the camera’s your only protection.