October 30th-November 5th in the year Two Thousand and Seventeen
Monday, November 6th, 2017Pittsfield man held for allegedly smashing in door of city home in a rage
PITTSFIELD — A city man already facing charges has had his bail revoked after allegedly starting to "act crazy out of nowhere" last weekend, damaging a car, kicking in a locked door and smashing a cellphone.
Zachary W. Love, 23, faces multiple new charges in addition to charges on two open cases, which include credit card larceny and operating under the influence, from June and July, respectively.
Responding to a report of a breaking and entering in progress on John Street about 1:38 am. Saturday, police encountered a witness who said Love had kicked in the door of the apartment and was still inside.
The door showed signs of forced entry, police said.
Police spoke to Love, who insisted nothing was going on and said the damage from the door was from a previous break-in.
Another witness told police that a group including Love had a few drinks earlier and had come back to John Street to hang out.
That witness said when the group pulled up to the house, Love began having a "crazy attitude" and accusing a woman in the group, with whom he'd had a relationship, of having received photos from another man, police said. He began hitting the outside of the car with his fists, leaving dents.
Once inside the house, Love allegedly took a woman's cellphone and went outside with it, removed its SIM card and smashed it. It was at that point, witnesses said Love was locked out of the house, prompting him to kick in the door to get back inside.When police attempted to take Love into custody, he allegedly resisted and thrashed around to avoid being handcuffed.
He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday to three counts of vandalizing property and one count each of felony nighttime breaking and entering, larceny under $250, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest
Judge Paul Smyth then revoked Love's bail on charges of operating under the influence, unlicensed operation and threatening to commit a crime July. He set a nominal bail of $50 on the new charges.
He is due back in court on Nov. 28 for a pretrial hearing.
Sunday, November 5th, 2017A Florida woman rode her horse on a highway drunk, police say.
Polk County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Donna Byrne Thursday for riding a horse while drunk.
Nothing’s unusual in Florida, a sheriff department spokesman said Friday. But some things — like a woman arrested this week for allegedly riding a horse while drunk down a busy highway — are still surprising.
Around 3 p.m. Thursday, a passer-by saw Donna Byrne, 53, on the horse looking confused and possibly in danger and notified officers, according to her arrest affidavit. Sheriff’s officers found Byrne on Combee Road near North Crystal Road in Lakeland, about 35 miles east of Tampa. She smelled of alcohol and had red watery eyes. When she dismounted from the horse, she staggered from side to side.
Byrne had ridden the horse for a 10 to 15-mile stretch from Polk City, said Brian Bruchey, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Byrne is being charged with driving under the influence while operating a vehicle — which in her case was a horse equipped with a saddle and bridle. She is also charged with animal neglect for putting the horse in danger of being injured or killed.
“We haven’t had a horse DUI that I’m aware of. We’ve had incidents of bicycle DUIs and motorcycle DUIs, so this was a different kind of thing.”
Donna Byrne, 53, is charged with a DUI for riding her horse drunk on a Florida highway. She also faces a count of animal neglect. (Courtesy of Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
Whether an intoxicated person on horseback can be charged with a DUI or DWI varies from state to state.
In 1993, an appellate court in California ruled in People vs. Fong that people riding animals on the highway are subject to the same rules as the drivers of automobiles, meaning people must ride their animals at a reasonably safe speed and avoid reckless behavior.
The issue was a hot topic in Montana in 2011, when the state’s department of transportation aired an advertisement featuring a horse picking up its owner after a night of drinking at the bar. In Montana, horseback riders can’t be arrested for driving under the influence, because state law’s criteria for a vehicle in a DUI excludes devices moved by “animal power.”
Several criminal defense lawyers in Florida interviewed by The Post are skeptical of whether the DUI charge will hold up in Florida court. Thomas Grajek, a Tampa attorney who specializes in DUI cases, said he thinks Byrne can’t be charged with a DUI because Florida law states that people riding animals on roadways or shoulders are treated as pedestrians, and are not subject to the same rules as automobile drivers. Grajek said that, if anything, someone riding a horse drunk might be charged with disorderly conduct, similarly to a publicly intoxicated pedestrian.
Officers arrested Byrne after conducting a sobriety test, during which Byrne registered blood-alcohol levels of .157 and .161, twice the state’s legal limit of .08. The horse was taken to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility, officers said.
“The road she was stopped on was a very busy road,” Bruchey said. “Of course, if somebody hit the horse, then that person would be in danger. And (Byrne) was a danger to herself.”
The Polk County State Attorney’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. Bruchey, the sheriff’s department spokesman, said the officer who arrested Byrne thought he had sufficient probable cause to consider the horse a vehicle.
“I can tell you it’s going to be interesting if (the DUI charge) goes through,” Bruchey said. “The way sheriffs look at it, the woman put a saddle and bridle on this horse and was riding it to get from point A to point B. For all intents and purposes, we look at that as a vehicle.”
Byrne’s criminal history includes five felony and ten misdemeanor charges, consisting of cruelty to animals, drug possession, probation violation and criminal traffic, officers said. She could not be reached for comment.
Saturday, November 4th, 2017Michigan State Police to begin roadside drug testing pilot program Nov. 8
(WXYZ) - In an effort to combat the dangers of drugged driving, five Michigan counties will participate in a one-year oral fluid roadside drug testing pilot program by Michigan State Police.
The counties include Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties.
The Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis pilot program will establish policies for the administration of roadside drug testing to determine whether an individual is operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.
Over the last several years, Michigan has seen a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs. In 2016, there were 236 drug-involved traffic fatalities.
"Motorists under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road," said MSP Director Col. Kriste Etue. "With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop."
The counties were chosen based on criteria including number of impaired driving crashed, impaired drivers arrested and trained Drug Recognition Experts in the county.
Under the pilot program, a DRE may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the person's body if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs.
Refusal to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis upon lawful demand of a police officer is a civil infraction.
Friday, November 3rd, 2017Rapper Fetty Wap charged with drag racing, DWI
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Rapper Fetty Wap was arrested for racing another vehicle on the Gowanus Expressway early Friday, police say.
The rapper, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, was spotted by police driving a black 2012 Mercedes CLS AMG westbound on the highway at a high rate of speed just after 1 a.m.
He was clearly racing another vehicle near Hamilton Avenue, according to investigators.
When Fetty was pulled over, police say he handed the officer a suspended New Jersey driver's license.
The officer noticed signs of intoxication and gave the rapper a field sobriety test, where he blew a .09.
He failed another sobriety test at the precinct.
He was charged with reckless endangerment, illegal speed contest, operating a motor vehicle with .08, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, motor vehicle license violation. unsafe lane change, following too close, illegal signal, driving while alcohol impaired, and four counts of a speed violation.
He was charged and will be arraigned in Downtown Brooklyn later Friday
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017Many prescription drug users not aware of driving-related risks
A large portion of patients taking prescription drugs that could affect driving may not be aware they could potentially be driving impaired, according to research in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Nearly 20 percent of people in the study reported recent use of a prescription medication with the potential for impairment, but not all said they were aware that the medication could affect their driving, despite the potential for receiving warnings from their doctor, their pharmacist, or the medication label itself.
The percentages of those who said they had received a warning from one of those sources varied by type of medication: 86 percent for sedatives, 85 percent for narcotics, 58 percent for stimulants, and 63 percent for antidepressants.
In the report, researchers used data from the 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey, which asked drivers randomly selected at 60 sites across the United States questions about drug use, including prescription drugs. A total of 7,405 drivers completed the prescription drug portion of the survey.
Although it is unclear if the study participants actually received the warnings, or if they did receive the warnings but didn't retain the information, the authors say this scenario is in need of further research.
"We were very surprised that our study was the first we could find on this topic," says lead researcher Robin Pollini, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. "It's a pretty understudied area, and prescription drugs are a growing concern."
In this study, the type of medication in question was also related to drivers' perceptions about their impairment risk. They were most likely to think that sleep aids were the most likely to affect safe driving, followed by morphine/codeine, other amphetamines, and muscle relaxants. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications were viewed as least likely to affect driving risk. Sleep aids were also viewed as the most likely to cause an accident or result in criminal charges, and ADHD medications were viewed as the least likely.
Pollini says she hopes this research will lead to increased warnings provided by doctors and pharmacists, as well as improved labeling for medications that are likely to impair driving. She says it's not yet clear what the optimum messaging would be. But she is encouraged by the fact that patients who are prescribed these medications have several points at which they could receive this important information.
"The vast majority of drivers who are recent users of prescription drugs that have the potential for impairment have come into contact with a physician, a pharmacist, and a medication label," says Pollini. "There's an opportunity here that's not being leveraged: to provide people with accurate information about what risks are associated with those drugs. People can then make informed decisions about whether they're able to drive."
A related commentary by Benedikt Fischer, Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, and colleagues expresses concern that increased warnings and interventions may be insufficient to reduce the chances of driving while impaired. These authors point to the issue of alcohol-impaired driving to suggest that only deterrence-based measures--such as roadside testing, license suspensions, and increased insurance premiums--have the potential to change behavior.
To arrange an interview with Robin Pollini, Ph.D., M.P.H., please contact Kimberly Becker at 304.293.1699 or Kimberly.Becker@hsc.wvu.edu.
Pollini, R. A., Waehrer, G., & Kelley-Baker, T. (November 2017). Receipt of warnings regarding potentially impairing prescription medications and associated risk perceptions in a national sample of U.S. drivers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78(6), 805-813. doi:10.15288/jsad.2017.78.805
Fischer, B., Fidalgo, T., & Varatharajan, T. (November 2017). Reflections on Pollini et al. (2017)--Implications for interventions for driving while using psychotropic medications with impairment risk. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78(6), 814-816. doi:10.15288/jsad.2017.78.814
The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs is published by the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It is the oldest substance-related journal published in the United States.
To learn about education and training opportunities for addiction counselors and others at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, please visit AlcoholStudiesEd.rutgers.edu.
Wednesday, November 1st, 2017>Safety-related impacts of recreational marijuana legalization
In addition to the economic and health impacts of marijuana legalization (previous articles at uccseconomicforum.com/publications_media.shtml or at csbj.com), another important dimension to consider are the safety impacts. This would include traffic-related fatalities and other serious traffic incidents, seizures (or confiscation) of illegal or over-the-limit marijuana product, diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states where it is illegal, property and violent crime rates, and homelessness. Although not an exhaustive list of safety-related metrics, these are good indicators of how our broader community is being affected by the legalization of recreational marijuana. This article will cover traffic-related metrics and the final article will discuss other safety-related metrics.
Much like the other dimensions related to tracking the effects of legalization, it is important to note that safety data is somewhat compromised by two factors. One, there is typically at least a one- to two-year lag in the availability of safety-related data, and recreational marijuana only became legal and available for retail sale in 2014. Two, given that recreational marijuana was previously illegal, our state did not have a robust methodology for systematically collecting information on marijuana-related crime nor methods for testing drivers for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Nonetheless, some meaningful information is beginning to emerge.
To begin, measuring drivers for THC is challenging because its effects peak very soon after consumption, then begin to fall rather quickly, although lower levels of THC stay in the system for quite a while. By the time a crash has happened and a person gets tested, THC levels may be dramatically lower than when the crash occurred. Likewise, a low level of THC can remain in someone’s system many hours after consumption, complicating a true measure of impairment levels. Further clouding the issue is that marijuana-impaired drivers are often also drinking alcohol. Testing for driving under the influence of alcohol is easier and more mainstream, so many officers do not go beyond a positive DUI reading even if they suspect marijuana use. It is noteworthy that 36 percent of all drivers in Colorado involved in a fatal car crash who did test positive for THC had also consumed alcohol (CDOT). As discussed in an earlier article, the cross sensitization of alcohol and marijuana makes the effects of both together greater than the sum of each individually.
The graph below shows the increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in the past 10 years in Colorado (up 279 percent). In terms of the proportion of total traffic-related fatalities, in 2009, marijuana impairment was involved in 9 percent of fatalities; by 2016, 21 percent of fatalities involved marijuana impairment. This data may seriously under represent the attribution of marijuana impairment in traffic deaths, however, because only 44 percent of cadavers from traffic deaths have toxicology testing for marijuana. It is noteworthy that also in the last 10 years, population has increased 17 percent, and all traffic deaths increased 16 percent. If we examine DUIDs (driving under the influence of drugs), but not fatalities, the number of positive toxicology screens for marijuana rose 63 percent in the pre-legalization period (2009-2012) compared to the post-legalization period (2013-2016). Out of 1,004 DUIDs in 2016, 76 percent involved marijuana and another substance, and 38 percent involved marijuana only.
A 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report estimated that the total economic costs for a vehicular fatality were $1.4 million including property damage, medical costs, insurance costs, lost productivity and other factors. The economic costs of the 125 traffic fatalities involving marijuana in Colorado in 2016 would have been approximately $175 million. The estimated cost of a DUID in the same 2010 NHTSA report was $10,270. If we conservatively use that dated amount and apply it to the number of known DUIDs in 2016, the cost in Colorado was approximately $7.9 million. If we juxtapose these two traffic-related costs to collected marijuana taxes, the costs outweigh the benefits by several million dollars (see table).
These rough estimations do not consider the fatalities or other incidents that are marijuana related but not captured via toxicology testing. Nor does this one estimate encapsulate the other various costs associated with safety or health-related impacts. What this data does show us is the importance of comprehensively examining both the revenue and cost implications of legalization. Although we are now almost four full years into recreational legalization, and it is not likely that the legal status will change, we can use the information to inform guidelines and mandatory regulations that hopefully curtail the negative ramifications now evident in the emerging data.
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017St. Charles Parish president says he was not impaired when pulled over in Kenner
St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran claims he was not impaired when he was pulled over by police while driving in Kenner last month and that he has prescriptions for the drugs found in his system afterward, his attorney said Thursday.
The lawyer, Wiley Beevers, said that Cochran likely appeared unsteady during a field sobriety test at the time of his arrest because of a childhood surgery in which he had a benign tumor removed from his right ear. The surgery has affected his balance to this day, said Beevers, who provided a doctor's note explaining the surgery.
For weeks, Cochran has been under pressure from other parish officials to explain his arrest. He was pulled over the morning of Sept. 2, and while he had no detectable alcohol in his system he tested positive for a combination of prescription pain killers.
Beevers said Cochran is prepared to prove that he has valid prescriptions for both oxycodone and hydrocodone, drugs commonly sold as Oxycontin and Vicodin, although he did not provide the documentation Thursday.
A third drug found in Cochran's system, oxymorphone, is a byproduct of the oxycodone and not a separate drug, Beevers said.
He said Cochran has undergone a half-dozen recent medical procedures — including multiple surgeries — for problems with his hands, shoulder, back and urinary tract.
Cochran, nonetheless, had not taken either medication for several days before he was pulled over, Beevers said.
"Larry doesn't deny he was operating the vehicle, but he denies he was operating it in a reckless manner," Beevers said. "He was not impaired. Anybody who has a script can take medication as prescribed."
Kenner police have said Cochran was pulled over about 12:30 a.m. after a witness called to report a Chevy Tahoe with a public license plate was "swerving all over the roadway" and even driving into the neutral ground on Joe Yenni Boulevard in north Kenner.
An officer pulled the vehicle over on Cabernet Drive, near the home of Cochran's secretary. Police said Cochran performed poorly on a field sobriety test and that he displayed bloodshot, glossy eyes and slow speech.
According to police, Cochran also made strange comments, asking if there was anything officers could do for him and saying, "I guess this means I should fill out my resignation papers."
Cochran showed a blood-alcohol content of .00 on what is commonly referred to as the Breathalyzer test; the legal limit is .08 percent. But police said he bit off the mouthpiece on the testing machine when he first tried to take it.
Suspecting he was impaired by drugs, they drew his blood and booked him on counts of driving under the influence and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
Cochran was released from jail shortly after his arrest because of overcrowding. Police publicly released the blood test results last week.
Beevers on Thursday hinted at other aspects of the defense he may present for Cochran if the case goes to trial.
The lawyer said he has questions about whether police properly read Cochran his Miranda rights before taking him into custody. He also said that police stopped short of saying Cochran failed the field sobriety test, alleging only that he performed poorly on it.
He also said Cochran's car was stopped on the side of the street when police initiated the traffic stop because the parish president was worried he was being followed.
"Police never saw him driving in a reckless manner," Beevers said. "For a traffic stop, police must observe you breaking the law."
At least one Parish Council member previously said he wanted Cochran to make a statement about the drugs found by the blood test.
"I don't know if it was just a one-time incident," Councilman Paul Hogan said. "I don't know if it is a recurring situation with him."
But fellow Councilman Terrell Wilson said Cochran deserves the benefit of the doubt. "People ask me if he's showing up at work," Wilson said. "He's at work, doing his job."
Cochran was elected parish president in November 2015, succeeding V.J. St. Pierre. He had previously served as the Parish Council chairman.
A preliminary hearing in his case is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 1st Jefferson Parish Court in Metairie. Prosecutors had not filed charges against him as of Thursday.
Monday, October 30th, 2017Driver who's called a 'clear danger' gets maximum prison sentence
His second arrest for driving while high cost Maxamillion Hernandez dearly on Thursday when he was sentenced to 1 3/4 to four years in prison on his conviction for vehicular assault.
On May 10, 2016, Hernandez, 22, drove his speeding car through a red light in the Town of Tonawanda when he was in a chase with another vehicle. His car T-boned a taxicab on River Road, seriously injuring a passenger and also harming the driver.
He also told investigators he had smoked pot earlier in the day.
While Hernandez was free and awaiting resolution of the felony charges against him in that case, he was arrested on Aug. 16, 2016, while driving on Route 400 in West Seneca, and charged with driving while impaired.
“So,” Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio said to Hernandez on Thursday, “you have one case pending where people were seriously injured, and three months later you are arrested for the same thing again.
“You drive when you are high a lot,” she said bluntly.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher McCarthy said neither victim wanted to come to court to give a statement, but that they trusted the court to deliver a fair sentence. He also reminded the judge that one of the victims suffered a severe head injury and fractures to his leg and ribs, preventing him from working for some time.
For the defense, attorney Sean Hill made a lengthy appeal for the judge to consider the “brief period of incarceration” recommended in a pre-sentencing report for Hernandez, possibly ordered him to spend weekends in jail so he could continue attending Erie Community College.
He pointed out that video of the injury crash showed that Hernandez braked when he saw the other car, that he stayed at the scene and that he and his passenger tried to help the people in the taxicab.
But Hernandez’s continued use of drugs, even after both arrests and counseling, was too much for the judge.
“You’re just a clear danger and a threat to others on the road,” she said, before pronouncing the maximum sentence allowed for vehicular assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. A one-year sentence for his conviction for the second arrest will run concurrently.
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Trial set for driver allegedly high on pot in fatal crash with cyclist
Staten Island Advance2 days ago
The trial of the Oakwood motorist accused of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly being high on pot when she fatally struck a bicyclist in Richmond last year will begin late next month after ...
Mid-Hudson arrests report: Oct. 27, 2017
Kingston Daily Freeman6 days ago
The following items are based on information provided by officials in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. • DWI: David B. Selover, 64, of Coeymans Hollow, was arrested by ...
Former Sun Prairie cop sued over traffic stop shown to be faulty
The Capital Times4 days ago
A woman who had faced criminal charges for driving while impaired last year is suing the former Sun Prairie police officer who stopped her car, charging that the stop was ...
Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell arrested in Scottsdale on gun charge
The Arizona Republic3 days ago
Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale on Saturday on suspicion of pointing a gun at a woman delivering food. Sgt. Tyler Johnson, a spokesman for Scottsdale police, said ...
Man charged, accused of crashing into trooper's vehicle in Caroline County
WBAL-TV Baltimore2 days ago
Police said Hansley was outside of his vehicle when a black Nissan, which they said was driven by Ronnie Neal Smith, 56, of Delaware, allegedly hit the patrol vehicle, damaging the driver's ...
Highlighting harm in hopes of curbing crime
Montrose Daily Press7 hours ago
Residents of a Montrose neighborhood might have just gritted their teeth and ignored a reported drug house there, or stopped at having called police. “There was a lot of community communication ...
DWI Report: 90-mph driver stopped, charged
The Daily Reflector3 days ago
A 36-year-old man who allegedly was driving 90 mph on a two-lane rural road was charged with driving while impaired, according to a weekly review of Pitt County court ...
What's next for Tiger Woods after pleading guilty to reckless driving?
USA Today5 days ago
Woods entered the first-time DUI offender program in August, which was necessary for the plea bargain and to help him avoid a more severe charge of driving under the influence. Once the ...
Tiger Woods pleads guilty to reckless driving, enters diversion program
UPI5 days ago
Tiger Woods pleaded guilty Friday to reckless driving and will enter a diversion program that will resolve a driving under the influence charge from the May 29 incident. Woods, ...
Safety-related impacts of recreational marijuana legalization
Colorado Springs Business Journal5 days ago
Although not an exhaustive list of safety-related metrics, these are good indicators of how our broader community is being affected by the legalization of recreational marijuana ...