A judge apologized to Rachel Winter on Tuesday as he dismissed a drunken driving charge lodged against her by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office after an internal process that Winter’s father, a prominent Niagara County attorney, said was politically motivated.Winter, 21, was pulled over by Deputy Timothy Caughel in Lockport Nov. 24, and Caughel wanted to charge her with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti said last month that the DWI charge was not brought at the time because Caughel’s supervisor that night, Lt. Steve Broderick, was doing a favor for Winter’s father, Ronald J. Winter, a former assistant Niagara County district attorney. Filicetti said the ex-prosecutor came to Sheriff’s Headquarters that night and talked to Broderick.Broderick, who is also Town of Lewiston supervisor, was the subject of an undisclosed internal administrative action, as was his commander that night, Capt. Jill Herrington.”Persons in the Sheriff’s Department viewed Steve Broderick as a potential candidate for sheriff and sought to discredit him, and used this case to do it,” charged Ronald Winter, the law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr.Broderick, who said he couldn’t comment, is a Republican whose family has long been prominent in politics. Sheriff James R. Voutour, whose term runs through 2020, is a Democrat.”The assertion that this was done to discredit Lt. Broderick is absurd,” Voutour said. “The actions of (the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office) were to do the right thing when no one else would. That is what the public expects.””I feel we did the right thing. I have no control over what the court does,” Filicetti said. “I’d rather get faulted for doing my job rather than be accused of covering something up.””I never asked for a favor, and certainly my daughter didn’t,” Ronald Winter said. “My daughter and I are going to explore what options we have as far as recourse.”The Sheriff’s Office added the DWI charge against Rachel Winter March 5, but Niagara Falls City Judge Robert P. Merino threw it out Tuesday, along with the reckless driving charge, finding the evidence of each was legally insufficient.Rachel Winter then pleaded guilty to failure to keep right and an equipment violation. She was granted a conditional discharge and was not fined, although Merino had to impose state-mandated surcharges totaling $146.”The court issued an apology to my client on behalf of the justice system,” defense attorney Theresa L. Prezioso said.Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone didn’t fight Prezioso’s dismissal motion. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.Cardone was named special prosecutor after Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek, a former colleague of Ronald Winter, recused herself. Merino ended up with the case after city judges in Lockport and North Tonawanda also recused themselves because of their connections to Ronald Winter.
While most companies refrain from allowing consumption of alcohol on the premises, there are some arguments for changing that policy.
Reasons for allowing drinking at work include:
1. It’s an incentive to show up.
2. It reduces stress.
3. It leads to more honest communications.
4. It reduces complaints about low pay.
5. It cuts down on time off because you can work with a hangover.
6. Employees tell management what they think, not what management wants to here.
7. It helps save on heating costs in the winter.
8. It encourages carpooling.
9. Increases job satisfaction because if you have a bad job, you don’t care.
10. It eliminates vacations because people would rather come to work.
11. It makes fellow employees look better.
12. It makes the cafeteria food taste better.
13. Bosses are more likely to hand out raises when they are wasted.
14. Salary negotiations are a lot more profitable.
15. Suddenly, farting during a meeting isn’t so embarrassing.
16. No one will remember your strip act at the Christmas Party.
A local man with a long criminal history was cited for felony DUI on Sunday after leaving Aspen Valley Hospital’s emergency room under the influence of narcotics, according to a police report.A nurse warned Benjamin Levy, 30, not to drive because of the medication he’d been given, but he apparently didn’t heed the advice, according to the report. So the nurse called a drunken-driving hotline and reported that Levy was driving a white Audi station wagon, the report states.An Aspen police officer spotted the vehicle pulling into the Local’s Corner gas station not long after and approached the driver’s side door. The officer noticed Levy wearing an AVH hospital bracelet and discovered that his license is suspended for failure to install an interlock device, the report states.”During my conversation with Levy, I could hear that his speech was slurred,” Officer Marcin Debski wrote in the report.Levy refused to perform roadside sobriety tests and had a breath-alcohol content of 0.0, according to the report.Debski called the AVH nurse, who explained that Levy “was under the influence of narcotics and should not be operating a motor vehicle,” the report states.Levy also refused to provide a sample of his blood for testing.Levy, who has three previous DUI convictions, was charged with felony DUI because it is his fourth, according to the report. He also was charged with driving with a suspended license, and had failure-to-appear warrants from Garfield County Court and Arapahoe County Court and another misdemeanor failure-to-appear warrant from the Denver Marshall’s Office.Levy has been arrested repeatedly since 2013, when he fired a gun inside his Woody Creek apartment and the bullet entered his neighbor’s apartment. No one was injured in that incident, though Levy also was charged with DUI later that same day.His latest arrest before Sunday occurred in August, when he was found unconscious next to a hypodermic needle he later admitted contained heroin.
ALBANY — The state’s top court has upheld a policy implemented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration that allows the state Department of Motor Vehicles to permanently revoke driving privileges for repeat drunk drivers.
In a 5-0 decision, the state Court of Appeals upheld Cuomo administration rules, put in place in 2012, that take steps going beyond state law governing relicensing procedures for drivers with multiple DWI convictions.
Under state Vehicle and Traffic Law, a driver’s license can be revoked if he or she has three drunk-driving convictions in the span of four years, or four convictions in eight years.
The administration added new rules permanently revoking the license of those convicted of five or more alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses in his or her lifetime, or three or more convictions plus at least one other serious driving offense (such as a fatal accident) in the past 25 years.
Under the regulations, those with three or four convictions or incidents within 25 years would have their license applications denied for five years beyond the statutory revocation period. Should a new license be issued, the driver’s license would be restricted, limiting him or her to travel to and from, for example, work and medical appointments. The driver would also be required to use an ignition interlock device.
WILEY FORD, W.Va. — An Oakland man was charged with driving under the influence following a Friday head-on crash on state Route 28 that claimed the life of a Hampshire County, West Virginia, man, authorities said.
The Mineral County Sheriff’s Office reported 58-year-old Troya Smith of Shanks was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident that occurred just before noon.
A warrant was signed Tuesday morning by Mineral County Magistrate Patrick A. Amoroso charging Tyler A. Sweitzer, 24, of Oakland with driving under the influence causing death. Sweitzer was listed in good condition Tuesday at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Preliminary investigation by the sheriff’s office indicated Sweitzer was operating a 2015 Ford Escape northbound on Route 28 near Press Little Market when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle crossed into the southbound lane directly into the path of a 2004 Ford Ranger operated by Smith and pulling a trailer.
Witnesses told police Smith had no time to react when the Sweitzer vehicle traveled into his lane.
Deputies said the investigation also revealed possible use of a controlled dangerous substance by Sweitzer and speed was cited as a factor.
Upon conviction, the felony charge of driving under the influence causing death carries a maximum sentence of prison of three to 15 years and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000, according to the magistrate’s office.
According to Maryland electronic court records, Sweitzer was issued at least three speeding citations in Garrett County in the past two years.
Maryland State Police charged Sweitzer on April 18 for allegedly traveling 87 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone on state Route 135 at CCC Camp Road.
Sweitzer was cited by the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 5, 2016, for driving a vehicle in excess of reasonable and prudent speed on Pysell Crosscut Road. He was found guilty of that charge on March 18, court records indicated.
State police also charged Sweitzer with speeding on Interstate 68 at the 24-mile marker on Aug. 26, 2015.
The following are a few samples of REAL answers received on exams given by the California Department of Transportation’s driving school (Most probably from people who failed the first four times)
Q: Do you yield when a blind pedestrian is crossing the road?
A: What for? He can’t see my license plate.
Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pick up truck with the gun rack and the bumper sticker saying, “Guns don’t kill people. I do.”
Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car.
Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I’d probably lose my buzz a lot faster.
Q: What changes would occur in your lifestyle if you could no longer drive lawfully?
A: I would be forced to drive unlawfully.
Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color.
Q: What can you do to help ease a heavy traffic problem?
A: Carry loaded weapons.
Q: What are some points to remember when passing or being passed?
A: Make eye contact and wave “hello” if he/she is cute.