Jury gives man life in prison for DWI’s

A Liberty County jury took about an hour to return a life sentence for a repeat Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offender from Splendora in the 253rd District Court of the Honorable Judge Chap Cain.

On June 5, 2015 Trooper Chris Cash made a routine traffic stop on a vehicle traveling 80 miles an hour on TX 105 west from Cleveland.

 

Cash immediately noticed the odor of alcohol emitting from the breath of the driver, Randy Gene Bauer, 61, of Splendora. After conducting field sobriety tests, Cash placed him under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Bauer refused to submit to a blood test, so a warrant for his blood was obtained.

After the blood draw at the Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center, the vials were sent to the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Houston for testing.

Rachel Aubel, a DPS forensic scientist, ran four tests of the alcohol concentration that averaged to a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .142. The tolerance for the four tests to be considered valid is 10 percent. The legal limit in Texas is .08.

Because of prior DWI convictions, the case was elevated to a felony offense.

Trial began Aug. 20 with jury selection in Cain’s court.

The evidence concluded the next day and after closing arguments, the jury deliberated for less than 10 minutes before returning a guilty verdict.

The punishment phase began immediately with evidence that Bauer’s bond had been forfeited in this case after he failed to appear as required by Judge Cain. He also failed to maintain his alcohol monitoring device as required by his bond.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was found in San Jacinto County where he fought with deputies trying to arrest him.

District Attorney Logan Pickett presented evidence that Bauer had previously been convicted of family violence assault and three DWI convictions — one of which resulted in a trip to the penitentiary.

He also had felony Bribery and Assault on a Peace Officer convictions in that same penitentiary trip, all of which occurred in Montgomery County.

He was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary.

In 2006, shortly after his release, Bauer attempted to abduct an 11-year-old girl for illicit purposes in broad daylight at her school bus stop. That offense resulted in an 8-year prison sentence in Montgomery County District Court and yearly sex offender registration. The young girl, now 23, appeared before the Liberty County jury and recalled fighting Bauer off and preventing the abduction.

Following the presentations by both the prosecution and defense, the jury deliberated for about an hour before deciding that the maximum sentence of life was appropriate for Bauer.

Pickett said in a press release that some jurors struggled with the idea of punishing someone for DWI so harshly, but when it was coupled with the tremendous danger his criminal history showed, the jurors felt compelled to protect their community.

“For almost 30 years, Randy Bauer has placed the people of Liberty and Montgomery counties in great danger. We have been lucky that his actions have not resulted in more serious injury and the 12 jurors virtually assured we will never have to worry about Randy Bauer again.”

https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/eastex/news/article/Liberty-county-jury-gives-Splendora-man-life-in-13185097.php

Alderman arrested on drunken-driving charges early Saturday

Derek ShackelfordA Frederick alderman was charged with driving while under the influence and driving while impaired early Saturday after a traffic stop, according to city police.

Derek Timothy Shackelford, 48, was driving a four-door Lexus on Rosemont Avenue near U.S. 15 at about 2:10 a.m. Saturday when a city police officer pulled him over for driving with an inoperable headlight, according to Capt. Dwight Sommers, commander of the Frederick Police Department’s Operational Services Bureau.

“During the stop the officer could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage and asked the driver to complete a standardized field sobriety test, which he did,” Sommers said. “[Shackelford] was later subsequently arrested.”

A breath test was not completed as a result of the stop, but Sommers said more information regarding the stop would likely be made available after the officer’s report was finished and reviewed.

Along with DUI and DWI, Shackelford was also charged with failure to display two lighted front lamps when required, Sommers said. The alderman was released from police custody later Saturday after he was taken to police headquarters and advised of the charges against him, Sommers said.

Shackelford declined to specifically address the charges against him when reached for comment Monday afternoon.

“Upon advice of my attorney, I have been advised not to discuss the charges or allegations while this case is pending,” Shackelford wrote in an email response to The Frederick News-Post’s questions. “I remain committed to my service to the people of the City of Frederick.”

Mayor Michael O’Connor confirmed that he was informed of the arrest by Shackelford himself later on Saturday.

DUI after taking cold and flu medication

Shocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication.

Police pulled over a 64-year-old B-double truck driver on the Hume Highway in New South Wales as she was travelling to Sydney.

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test. 

VShocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication as a truck driver was pulled over on the Hume Highway (pictured)

Shocking footage released by police has highlighted the risks associated with driving while on cold and flu medication as a truck driver was pulled over on the Hume Highway (pictured)

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test

The footage shows the woman struggling to stay alert and requiring help from police to exit the truck before they initiate a breath analysis test

As the woman waits for the results she needs to lean against her truck for stability and seems to doze off while standing. She also continues to sway and at one point looks like she may vomit.

Despite appearances suggesting otherwise, the woman was not drunk, returning a blood alcohol level of zero. However, she was on cold and flu medication.

Police were seen transporting the woman from the roadside, leaving her truck to be picked up at a later and safer time.

9 News spoke to Southern Highlands police Inspector John Klepzarek and pharmacist Asim Iqbal about the dangers associated with driving while affected by the drug.

Despite slurring and having to be helped from the truck, the woman was not drunk - but she was on cold and flu medication

‘This could have resulted in tragedy or something quite serious, whilst it isn’t alcohol or illegal drugs some of these other drugs can affect you just as badly,’ Inspector Klepzarek said.

Mr Iqbal said he warns all customers about the risks associated with driving while taking cold and flu medications.

‘Some of those ingredients can affect your ability to drive and your ability to react to certain situations,’ he said.

A Queensland University of Technology study also looked into the dangers of driving while under the influence of cold and flu medication.

‘The use of drugs that affect mood, cognition and psychomotor functioning can directly or indirectly potentially impair driving ability,’ the study reads.

‘Many over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as some cough, cold and flu day and night formulas, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories….can potentially impair driving.’

QUT study states that some medications impair driving by causing drowsiness, slowing reaction time and affecting mental concentration

The study states that some of these medications impair driving by causing drowsiness, slowing reaction time, affecting mental concentration, shakiness or unsteadiness and affecting coordination.

Some of the factors which cause varied reactions to the drugs include the speed of metabolism, the time and strength of the dose taken and what the drug might have mixed with which was already in the system.

‘Researchers and health professionals have called for improvements to medication classification and warning systems to improve user awareness and knowledge of the effects of classes of medications on driving performance, assist appropriate medication choices and underpin legislation,’ the study states.

‘Australian research suggests there may be potential to improve Australian medication warning and labelling systems to meet consumer needs.

‘And improve driver awareness, attitudes and compliance with medication warnings.’

Motorists have been charged with culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm in the past for driving while affected by cold and flu medication.

TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE ON COLD AND FLU MEDICATION

  • Remember your driving can affect not only you, but also your passengers and others on the road
  • Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medication you have been prescribed and its potential effects on your driving capabilities
  • Read all the labels on all your medicines
  • Keep the telephone number of your doctor or pharmacist handy
  • Be aware of the dangers of mixing medications with other drugs and alcohol
  • Remember to tell your doctor if you are required to drive or operate machinery for work
  • Make arrangements for alternative transport

Source: QUT Research 

‘If your medicine affects your driving, stop driving, not your medication the study suggests.

‘Make arrangements for alternative transport while you are taking the medication.’

It’s not yet known which brand of cold and flu tablets the driver had taken prior to being pulled over however people over the age of 65 are cautioned to seek advice from their doctor as they may be more at risk of side effects such as drowsiness.

For example, Codral Original Day and Night tablets have different active ingredients for the day and the night but both carry risks of drowsiness.

The day tablet’s active ingredients are 500 mg paracetamol, 30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and 6 mg codeine phosphate while the night tablets contain contains 500 mg paracetamol, 30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and 1.25 mg triprolidine hydrochloride.

Pseudoephedrine is known to cause side effects ranging from fast pounding or uneven heartbeat, severe dizziness or anxiety, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms.

Codeine phosphate, contained in the day tablets, also has side effects of drowsiness, making both day and night tablets a risk to take when having to drive.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6104457/Sober-female-truck-driver-appears-heavily-intoxicated-hardly-talk-pulled-over.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

Deputies arrest Bend woman accused of driving wrong way before head-on crash

Beverly Marsden mug shot courtesy Deschutes County Jail

BEND, Ore. – Deputies arrested a Bend woman who they say drove the wrong way on Highway 97 and crashed head-on into another driver Wednesday morning.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office first responded to 911 calls of a dark-colored sedan driving southbound in the northbound Lanes of the Bend Parkway at Pinebrook Boulevard at 4:04 a.m.

Callers said the driver continued going the wrong way as she drove onto Highway 97. She then crashed into a northbound silver Ford Escape driven by Merle Brubaker, 69, of La Pine.

Deputies arrived at the scene and found Beverly Marsden, 60, of Bend, in a dark-colored Ford Focus. Investigators determined Marsden was impaired at the time of the collision and did not realize the highway was divided.

Neither Marsden nor Brubaker were injured in the crash, deputies said. But their vehicles sustained substantial damage.

Marsden was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, recklessly endangering and fourth-degree assault. She was lodged in the Deschutes County Adult Jail.

https://katu.com/news/local/deputies-arrest-bend-woman-beverly-marsden-accused-of-driving-wrong-way-before-head-on-crash

DUIs are down in Philly, but the influence of Uber and Lyft remains blurry

DUIs are down in Philly, but the influence of Uber and Lyft remains blurry

Arrests for intoxicated driving dropped more precipitously in Philadelphia over much of the last decade than in any other Southeastern Pennsylvania county. At the same time, use of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft skyrocketed.

So what is the connection, if any?

From 2009 to 2017, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or drink dropped 33 percent in Philadelphia, compared with 13 percent decline statewide, according to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report. No other county in the region reported that significant a drop. The number has fallen 14 percent in just two years, from 2015 to 2017.

Drunken driving crashes also show a dramatic decline in Philadelphia from 2015 to 2017, according to AAA, though fatality numbers haven’t dropped. In the last five years, an average of 17 people each year have died in the city’s drunken driving crashes.

During that 2015 to 2017 span, Uber and Lyft took off in Philadelphia, according to recently obtained data from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. From July through September 2016, the two companies provided 4.6 million trips in Philadelphia. During the same time period a year later, that number jumped to 7.6 million trips.

Ride-share apps now provide more than 10 million trips a quarter, the PPA reported — more than double the number of just two years ago.

So the ride-share and DUI data are related, right?

Uber certainly thinks so. The San Francisco-based tech company reports that trips peak nationwide at times when people are typically drinking, such as Fridays and Saturdays. In Philadelphia specifically, six of the top 10 destinations after 9 p.m. are places that serve alcohol, and trips departing bars peak around the time the city’s watering holes close, the company reported.

Uber Ridership in Philadelphia

Number of pre-arranged rides per quarter, fiscal year 2017 to FY 2018

SOURCE: Philadelphia Parking Authority
Staff Graphic

The company also noted that riders reported in a national survey that they chose Uber as a safe way to get home, something independently supported by a recent study from New York City transit researcher Bruce Schaller. That study found that ride-share users most often used the service to avoid drinking and driving or to avoid the cost and irritation of finding parking.

DUI Arrests Down Since 2010

The total number of DUI arrests by state and local police shows a downward trend in Philadelphia and surrounding counties.

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report
Staff Graphic

The question of whether ride sharing is reducing drunken driving came through Curious Philly, a forum where readers can ask journalists about their communities. It turned out to be an inquiry with answers more nuanced than a simple yes or no.

The general sense is that ride sharing is helping, but it’s unclear to what extent.

“It’s possible that there’s a reduction in alcohol-related crashes in Philadelphia that is attributable in part to ride sharing,” said Christopher Morrison, a Columbia University professor who has studied the issue. “We just don’t know that for sure.”

Muddying the waters are the many other factors that affect drinking and driving — and a lack of data. Alcohol consumption among young people is down, for one thing. Drinking and driving has also been in an overall decline since 1998, according to PennDot data, a trend that’s held even as vehicle miles traveled in the state have increased. Also in decline are motor vehicle violations issued by the Philadelphia police overall. Doing less traffic enforcement would likely lead to fewer DUI arrests.

http://www2.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/dui-drunk-driving-decrease-philadelphia-uber-lyft-rideshare-20180821.html