September 11th-September 17th in the year Two Thousand and Seventeen
Sunday, September 17th, 2017Pot DUIs Are Still Hard To Measure, But Cops Train While Scientists Work On Solutions
In Colorado, it’s legal to smell like marijuana while driving and to have paraphernalia in the car. It’s even legal to have marijuana in the car as long as the weed’s in a sealed container away from the driver.
But it's illegal to drive impaired from cannabis, just like it's illegal to drive drunk. And the number of deaths due to car crashes involving marijuana is rising, says Sam Cole, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
"It's still small compared to all the other reasons we're seeing for fatalities out there," he says. In 2016, 51 people died in crashes that involved drivers whose blood tested contained a certain level of active THC. That’s 8 percent of all crash fatalities in 2016. "The data indicates it's a growing problem." And CDOT has allocated almost a million dollars, all from marijuana tax revenue, to educate the public about the danger of driving while high.
And yet, confirming that someone has actually been driving while impaired by marijuana is remarkably tricky. But that doesn’t stop Colorado lawyer Chris Halsor from teaching law enforcement officers to recognize the signs of marijuana impairment.
Confirming that someone has actually been driving while impaired by marijuana is remarkably tricky. But that doesn’t stop law enforcement officers from trying to recognize the signs of impairment.
"It's a brave new world," he says to a room full of Colorado State Patrol officers. There are now more dispensaries in the state than there are Starbucks coffee shops, he tells the students as they learn how to correctly perform roadside sobriety tests.
To complicate matters, as CDOT's Sam Cole notes, "the only roadside device that's allowed to be used, by statute, is an alcohol device." It’s largely up to officers to determine on the side of the road if a person is impaired from pot.
As part of the training, Halsor assigned the officers to go shopping at local dispensaries, so they could get a sense of what pot products are out there. Then, a group of volunteers arrived, introduced themselves to the officers, and promptly proceeded to an RV parked in the hotel parking lot where, as payment for their participation, they could legally consume as much pot as they wanted from a plastic tub of edibles, vape pens, joints and other pot products.
When the volunteers returned to the hotel, the officers tested them on a number of measures meant to distinguish the impaired from the sober.
How many quarters are in $1.75? A person who’s impaired might take a while to figure it out.
Walk nine paces, touching toe to heel, along a line, then return. Someone who’s impaired might forget the instructions or have trouble balancing.
Follow a pen with your eyes as an officer moves it around your face. An impaired person’s eyes often show something called “horizontal gaze nystagmus,” in which the eyes jerk when they move to the side. When the pen moves toward the nose, an impaired person’s eyes often show “lack of convergence” -- their eyes can’t cross in sync, drifting or shifting around rather than converging on the tip of the nose.
The usefulness of many of these tests are backed up by scientific evidence, but the methods don’t always apply to everyone equally. And they are all subject to -- even dependent upon -- an officer’s observations, biases, and interpretation.
Indeed, one of the volunteer’s results were clear-cut. “She’d be going to jail,” said Rich Armstrong, an officer with Colorado State Patrol, and the others all agreed. But the other three were not.
Officers disagreed about the second woman, who did well on some parts of the tests and poorly on others. “It was a tough one,” said Trooper Tom Davis, also with CSP.
“Yeah, this is one of those subjective areas,” said Rich Armstrong.
The officers determined that, in real life, they would not have arrested the two male volunteers for impairment, even though the male volunteers had consumed a comparable amount of cannabis to the female volunteers.
Enter the scientists. At the Boulder branch of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nestled among buildings that house atomic clocks and giant lasers, there is a group of researchers dedicated to forensic science. And right now, a few them are all about pot. Measuring it precisely, of course.
Chemical engineer Tara Lovestead is working hard to lay the groundwork for a pot breathalyzer. As federal employees, she and her colleagues can't actually develop commercial breath tests, but they’re doing the nitty gritty basic research like measuring the fundamental physical properties of THC. The findings could help companies and researchers create reliable devices that correlate chemicals in a person’s breath to their level of impairment.
From Lovestead’s point of view, the current system for determining marijuana impairment relies too much on an officer’s interpretation. “It’s too subjective. I’m not comfortable with that. The public, I don’t think, is comfortable with that,” she says.
At least two companies are working on devices, including Cannabix Technologies and Hound Labs, but they’re still in the testing phase. And though officers in California are already using a marijuana detection device called the Drager DrugTest 5000, it does not detect a person’s level of impairment -- only the presence of THC in their saliva.
Often, when officers deem an erratic or dangerous driver to be impaired from marijuana, they bring the driver in for a blood test. According to state law, if a milliliter of the person’s blood contains more than 5 nanograms of active THC, the person can be “presumed” to be impaired. But researchers have shown that the 5-nanogram limit can be misleading, possibly incriminating someone who last smoked days before driving, and possibly missing someone who just consumed cannabis.
“It’s a very challenging problem and a lot of work needs to be done,” says Lovestead, whose research group previously worked on technology that could sample tiny amounts of chemicals in the air to detect things like explosives or buried bodies.
While scientists and companies chip away at developing marijuana breath tests, Sam Cole at CDOT is exploring another big question: what’s behind Colorado’s rise in crash fatalities involving marijuana.
"The 64 million dollar question is: Is it because of legalization?" he says. Data on crash fatalities and marijuana is spotty before 2013. So the answer, Cole says, is unclear.
Saturday, September 16th, 2017Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries in collision with farm vehicle full of manure
Trooper Dave McKee, left, with Colorado State Patrol and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Gilliland investigate a crash involving a
Trooper Dave McKee, left, with Colorado State Patrol and Larimer County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chris Gilliland investigate a crash involving a motorcyclist and a farm vehicle full of manure in the 2000 block of South County Road 7 south of Loveland on Tuesday evening. (Sam Lounsberry / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
A motorcyclist suffered serious injuries in a collision with a dump truck full of manure just before 5 p.m. Tuesday in the 2000 block of South County Road 7 south of Loveland.
The dump truck was a farm vehicle hauling manure for a Rocky Mountain Dairy operation. Only the man driving the motorcycle was hurt after being thrown from his vehicle in the collision, said Trooper Dave McKee with Colorado State Patrol.
The man suffered a severely broken leg, but was alert and able to speak with emergency medical personnel dispatched to transport him, McKee said. Due to the severity of the injury, a full trauma team was activated by Medical Center of the Rockies, according to McKee.
The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet, McKee said.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dave McKee, left, and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Gilliland inspect debris left by a two-vehicle crash
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dave McKee, left, and Larimer County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chris Gilliland inspect debris left by a two-vehicle crash involving a motorcyclist who suffered serious injuries Tuesday evening on South County Road 7 south of Loveland. (Sam Lounsberry / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
He was trailing the dump truck hauling manure, with both vehicles heading northbound on County Road 7. When the truck slowed to make a left turn into a driveway of the dairy farm, the motorcyclist tried to pass the truck on the two-lane road and clipped its left front corner before he was thrown west of the southbound lane into a muddy driveway, McKee said.
The driver of the dump truck was unhurt, and pulled over to the side of the road following the crash. There were multiple witnesses to the crash, McKee said.
Another trooper with Colorado State Patrol was at the hospital trying to ascertain from the motorcyclist whether drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash, McKee said. No official determinations had been made on whether the motorcyclist was impaired or whether speed was a factor at press time.
A press release from the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Tuesday the agency is launching a campaign to promote motorcycle safety in light of a sharp rise in the number of motorcycle crashes on the state's roads recently.
This year alone, 72 motorcyclists have been killed on Colorado roads, the press release said. Motorcyclist fatalities hit an all-time high of 125 in 2016. While motorcycles account for just 3 percent of registered vehicles on the road, motorcyclists represent over 20 percent of fatalities.
Friday, September 15th, 2017Analysts say that self-driving cars could make people drink more alcohol
Self-driving cars are going to transform city streets, making our roads safer and our lives more efficient.
But they will have other, less predictable consequences too — like helping people get way more drunk.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley recently assessed the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on the alcohol industry, and their conclusions are good news for anyone who likes a drink.
Alcohol consumption is likely to increase, they predicted, with significant accompanying benefits for drinks businesses.
Right now alcohol and driving do not go together. People drink less (or not at all) if they have to drive, and time spent driving is — obviously — time that can't exactly be spent drinking.
"These markets should, for obvious safety reasons, be entirely mutually exclusive," Morgan Stanley said.
But if your car can drive itself, this may soon change. People won't have to worry about the "designated driver," and can even drink while in the vehicle itself.
Thursday, September 14th, 2017Police: Drunken driver drives into bike tour, injuring 3
Police say a woman is in critical condition after a drunken driver plowed into a group of cyclists participating in a biking event in New York City.
Three bicyclists were injured during the Sunday morning NYC Century Bike Tour in Brooklyn. Police say the 39-year-old driver of the van has been arrested and charged with vehicular assault, driving without a license and driving while impaired.
Police say the man was intoxicated when he drove into the crowd of bicyclists who were stopped at a red light.
Authorities say a 55-year-old woman from Queens is in critical condition.
Police say a 31-year-old man is in stable condition, and a third suffered minor injuries.
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017Retired soccer star Abby Wambach arrested for DUI in Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Retired World Cup soccer champion Abby Wambach was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence.
Portland police Sgt. Peter Simpson said in a statement Sunday that a sergeant stopped the 35-year-old Saturday night after she reportedly ran a red light in her Range Rover near downtown.
Simpson says Wambach failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. He says she also failed a breath test at the police precinct.
Wambach, who lives in Portland, was booked into Multnomah County Jail early Sunday on a charge of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) — Alcohol. Jail booking records show she was released Sunday on her own recognizance.
Wambach is the leading career scorer — male or female — in international soccer with 184 goals. She retired in December after 15-years with the U.S. women’s national team.
She issued a statement on her Facebook page on Sunday morning, writing she was arrested as she was returning home from dinner at a friend’s house.
“Those that know me, know that I have always demanded excellence from myself. I have let myself and others down. I take full responsibility for my actions,” she wrote. “This is all on me. I promise that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my horrible mistake is never repeated.
“I am so sorry to my family, friends, fans and those that look to follow a better example.”
The Portland Police Bureau said Wambach was “polite and cooperative throughout the investigation.”
One of Wambach’s sponsors, MINI USA, said Sunday night it was withdrawing ads for the automobile that feature Wambach.
“This behavior is against the values we promote as an organization and the safety of everyone on the road is a priority here at MINI. Because of this, we are re-evaluating her association with the brand and are pulling content that individually features Abby from our marketing,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to assess the situation and weigh our options.”
Wambach capped her career last summer with the sport’s most prestigious championship when the United States defeated Japan 5-2 in Canada at the World Cup. It was the third World Cup title for the U.S. women, and first since 1999.
Wambach announced her retirement in October. Since she stepped away from the team, she has made several appearances in charity events and also campaigned for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She played her last match with the team in December, a 1-0 loss to China in New Orleans.
Wambach appeared in four World Cups with the national team. She also has a pair of Olympic gold medals from the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2012 Games in London. She did not compete in the Beijing Games because of a broken leg.
Wambach has also been active in fighting for equal rights for female athletes. She led a group of players in protesting FIFA’s decision to play the 2015 World Cup on artificial turf, which is considered by many players to be inferior to grass.
Tuesday, September 12th, 2017Wyoming State Troopers stayed busy during eclipse event
WYOMING — The Wyoming Highway Patrol stayed busy during the recent solar eclipse while observing a surge in traffic during the event. WHP Troopers around the state worked extended shifts to make sure all Wyoming residents and guests stayed safe while keeping traffic moving.
From Friday, August 18th to Monday, August 21st WHP Troopers responded to 7,505 calls for service throughout Wyoming. In comparison to 2016, there were 2,598 calls for service in that same time period. Crashes on Wyoming’s highways also increased with the WHP investigating 198 crashes in comparison to 98 crashes the previous year during the same time frame. Out of the 198 crashes, 31 of those crashes were with injury and one crash resulted in a fatality.
Troopers stopped over 5,000 vehicles while issuing 3,312 citations and 2,029 warnings for various violations. 157 of the citations were for seatbelt or child restraint violations. Troopers also arrested 25 individuals for driving under the influence and issued 62 citations for possession of illegal narcotics with 59 of those 62 being for possession of marijuana.
Monday, September 11th, 2017Retired city attorney’s false arrest suit dismissed
A lawsuit against the city of Medford filed by a retired city attorney claiming unlawful arrest during a traffic stop has been dismissed after a federal judge ruled that the two police officers involved had reason to continue their impaired driving investigation even after observing a blood-alcohol reading far below the legal limit.
A federal judge ruled in favor of the city and dismissed Ronald Lee Doyle’s case late last month in U.S. District Court in Medford, which argued that Medford police continued to hold Doyle handcuffed at a detox facility after Doyle’s breathalyzer reading showed a reading of .017 — well below the legal limit of .08 — and sought a warrant for a urine sample under false pretenses during a 2014 traffic stop, according to documents filed in the case Aug. 31.
Doyle worked for the city of Medford for more than two decades before retiring as city attorney in 2005.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Medford officer Paul Mellgren, who pulled Doyle over the night of Dec. 4, 2014, and officer Patrick Dennis, a trained drug recognition evaluator, had enough probable cause to arrest Doyle and transport him to detox.
“Even if Mellgren’s belief that probable cause existed was in error, that belief was reasonable under the circumstances,” McShane said in his ruling.
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office never prosecuted Doyle on a Medford police arrest charging him with driving under the influence of intoxicants. In 2014, an administrative law judge reversed Doyle’s license suspension at a DMV hearing on grounds that Mellgren “lacked probable cause to arrest Doyle,” according to the ruling. McShane said that the federal court “carefully studied” the DMV proceeding but reached “its own conclusions.”
McShane’s ruling determined that “a strong odor of alcohol coming from Doyle, as well as Doyle’s bloodshot and watery eyes, slow movements and what Mellgren believed at the time to be slurred speech” met the “relatively low” threshold for probable cause in Oregon cases of driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The ruling also determined that Mellgren and Dennis were within their rights to keep Doyle detained for a drug evaluation after Doyle’s low breathalyzer reading.
“Contrary to Doyle’s assertion, dissipation of symptoms is not the same as dissipation of probable cause, nor does a low BAC end a DUII investigation,” McShane’s ruling states, noting that an individual could be “impaired by something other than alcohol.”
Doyle had also claimed the officers made a false statement to a judicial officer in getting a search warrant for his urine sample. Mellgren told a judge he believed Doyle to be under the influence of fast-acting drugs or inhalants, but only marijuana metabolites were found in Doyle’s system.
McShane ruled that “the fact that no such evidence was ultimately found cannot sustain a claim for judicial deception.”
“At most, it could be said that Mellgren omitted the fact that Dennis was the source of his information about fast-dissipating substances, but the court cannot conclude that such an omission was material,” the ruling says.
McShane drew from dashcam video in the ruling, which notes that Mellgren “articulates some of his observations supporting probable cause to Doyle,” and also showed Doyle’s refusal to comply with Mellgren’s directions to step out of the vehicle and Doyle’s “odd speech patterns,” what Mellgren believed to be slurred speech, and a repeated statement that he is the former Medford city attorney and recording Doyle making an “improper request.”
Doyle was recorded saying to Mellgren, "Tell me what I can do to make this right with you.'
Southampton Blotter: Riverside man tampered with witness
The Riverhead News-Review2 hours ago
Johnson, driving a white Chevy Malibu, pulled up to a woman walking on Wildwood Trail in Northampton around 8:20 p.m. and yelled an expletive at her, officials said.
Edison mayor's son indicted on drug possession charge
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Quicksand guitarist accused of shoplifting, resisting arrest at Phoenix CVS
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Why Ontario’s pot plan will keep the black market alive
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The province could have made grey-market dispensaries into allies, experts say; instead they’ve turned them into competitors
Area Police Reports
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Canada’s provinces are starting to figure out who’s going to sell legal weed
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Sadie Says … | News, Sports, Jobs - Williamsport Sun-Gazette
The Williamsport Sun-Gazette3 days ago
A: While most students are aware of the effects of alcohol on driving, the effects of marijuana on driving have been less publicized. Do you think driving ...
Law and Order: Batavia man accused of menacing neighbor and son with firearm
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Oxnard checkpoints nab seven DUI suspects
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Man blames victim of dog bite for walking too close: South Euclid Police Blotter
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Pot DUIs Are Still Hard To Measure, But Cops Train While Scientists ...
Colorado Public Radio-Aug 31, 2017
And yet, confirming that someone has actually been driving while impaired by marijuana is remarkably tricky. But that doesn't stop Colorado ...
Driving while impaired by marijuana from Lifehacker
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... presented false identification to avoid prosecution for multiple traffic citations including driving while impaired by alcohol and marijuana.
Driving while impaired by marijuana from Civilized
Expert Says There May Never Be a Reliable Marijuana DUI Test
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A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed about the need for a reliable DUI test for marijuana. At the moment, the only way to ...
Sunday Law Log, 9-17
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A search resulted in the seizure of 52.4 grams of marijuana, drug ... Randleman, driving while impaired, failure to comply with driver's license ...
Craven County Arrests
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10, driving while license revoked, expired registration card or tag, expired or no ... 10, assault on a female, possession of marijuana up to ½ ounce, possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Deputy: ... 10, driving while impaired.
Police Report: Sept. 14, 2017
The Livingston County News-Sep 15, 2017
Robert Renzi, 57, Newark, NY, was arrested September 1, charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and a ...
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The Boston Globe-Aug 20, 2017
... wants impaired drivers on our roads (“Mass. ads target driving while high,” Metro, Aug. 10). However, establishing impairment by marijuana ...
Driving while impaired by marijuana from MassLive.com
UMass Amherst Health Researchers Launch Baseline Survey of ...
UMass News and Media Relations-Sep 15, 2017
As Massachusetts prepares to begin sales of recreational marijuana in 2018, ... use in combination with alcohol, prescription drugs and impaired driving. ... the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, while others rely on ...
Driving while impaired by marijuana from Madison.com
Marijuana comes with many dangers
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DISTRACTED DRIVING from texting, app use increasing deaths on Ohio highways
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Ohio executes killer
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Vermont State Police Log: Troopers cite drivers for drunken driving
The Addison County Independent5 hours ago
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Isabella County sentencings for Sept. 5-8
The Morning Sun21 hours ago
Sentencings in Isabella County Trial Court:
Extra DWI enforcement catches man with a .38 BAC
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Police: Woman Critically Hurt When Impaired Driver Crashes Into Cyclists In Brooklyn
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Pina was charged with driving impaired, driving while ability impaired and driving without a license.
Press & News | Wayzata police officer dies after being struck by vehicle on Highway 12
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DWI Report: Man charged with texting while driving and DWI
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Judge lowers $1 million bond to $1,000 for Greensboro man accused of murder in fatal crash
WXII-TV Winston-Salem2 days ago
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Police: Drunken driver drives into bike tour, injuring 3
Bristol Herald Courier3 days ago
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UPDATE: Police ID driver in fatal crash, say vehicle was stolen
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Police detectives determined that Herrera was driving east on River Road at a high rate of speed at a bend in the roadway.
Son of actor Jean-Claude Van Damme arrested in assault on Tempe roommate
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Police charge 12 in sobriety checkpoint set up in Annapolis
CapitalGazette.com4 days ago
Police charged 12 people with driving while impaired overnight Saturday during a sobriety checkpoint set up in Annapolis.
Raleigh man charged in crash that killed cabbie :: WRAL.com
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Chris Soules Spotted in Public Months After Fatal Car Crash
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Jamestown Man Arrested After Lengthy Police Chase
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NYPD: Car crashes into cyclists at a bike tour in Brooklyn
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Bringing the Sober-Driving Message To Youth -- MADD Canada's New School Program Begins Nation-Wide Tour
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Former Raleigh police officer charged again with drunken driving
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Judge orders driver to keep picture of pastor killed with him during prison term
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Driver of Perodua Viva in fatal Batu Pahat accident surrenders to police
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Nebraska State Patrol troopers target DUI motorists during crackdown
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La Vista police say their recent effort targeting driving-under-the-influence motorists led to five DUI arrests.
Wyoming State Troopers stayed busy during eclipse event
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Police Report: incidents for week of Aug. 28-Sept. 3
San Jose Mercury News5 days ago
A man was arrested for causing “great bodily injury.” His bail was set at $25,000. An auto burglary was reported. A commercial burglary occurred. An auto burglary was reported at 3:34 p.m.on Palo Verdes.
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NJ.com3 days ago
"I feel bad for my family," said Jason Siek, 42, whose wife and four children were in court yesterday morning as he was sentenced for his role in the crime ring.
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Police reports: Walnut Creek and Lamorinda Aug. 20-26
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Narcotics operation results in arrests
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Fall River man accused of hitting boy with car, trying to leave scene held on bail
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OTR for Sept. 6, 2017
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of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, possession of
marijuana, possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm while under
On The Record | News, Sports, Jobs - Times Observer
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Anderson, 34, Youngsville, engaged in a relationship with a minor child without parental consent in the City of Warren on July 22. Police said Anderson was charged with interference ...
The Indiana Gazette1 day ago
Officers charged the driver, Richard Jacob Miller, 23, of Saltsburg, with possession of a small amount of marijuana and five counts of possession of ...