January 28th thru February 3rd in the year Two Thousand and Eighteen
Sunday February 3rd, 2019Find A Designated Driver Superbowl Weekend: Laguna Beach
LAGUNA BEACH, CA —If you live in Laguna Beach and plan to go out and about over the weekend for Super Bowl LIII parties, consider yourselves warned. On Sunday, the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies plan to be out in force to look for impaired drivers.
CHP officers, along with personnel from other law enforcement agencies throughout Orange and Los Angeles County, will be conducting saturation patrols and staffing sobriety checkpoints to nab suspected drunk or drug-impaired motorists.
"Impaired driving is not only irresponsible, but it can also destroy lives," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. "Choosing to get behind the wheel while under the influence can result in arrest, injury or death. If you drink or use other impairing substances, do not drive."
According to Stanley, CHP officers arrested 352 people statewide on suspicion of DUI during last year's Super Bowl Sunday crackdown.
Seven people died and 134 others were injured in alcohol-fueled collisions investigated by the CHP, figures showed.
"Have a plan in place before the game," Stanley said. "If you will be consuming alcoholic beverages or using other substances that may affect your ability to safely operate a vehicle, make the smart choice to use public transportation, a designated driver, or a ride-share service to get home."
Anti-DUI operations are generally scheduled between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday, covering the hours before, during and well after the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII, which is scheduled to begin about 3:30 p.m.
Officials offered the following tips to people planning to host Super Bowl parties:
ensure guests have a designated driver or can arrange for ride-sharing;
serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party;
stop serving alcohol before the end of the game's third quarter
take the keys away from guests showing signs of impairment, then call them a cab or arrange for alternate transportation.
Plus, if you watch the game in Los Angeles County, Ride Share services, such as Uber, planned a campaign offering an "Unhappy Hour" for fans in the city of losing teams.
Under state law, anyone with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher is considered impaired.Penalties for anyone convicted of a DUI offense can include suspension or revocation of driving privileges, steep fines, jail time and prison if there are injuries involved."Millions of people will be watching the Super Bowl at parties and bars across the country," Long Beach Police Lt. Kris Klein said. "Don't put others at risk because you chose to break the law and drive impaired."
Klein reminded motorists that driving under the influence "doesn't just mean booze.
"Prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, and marijuana can also be impairing and result in a DUI, especially when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs," Klein said.
Saturday, February 2nd, 2019>Driver high on pot who caused head-on fatal crash convicted of manslaughter
A woman who was under the influence of marijuana when she caused a head-on collision near Scripps Ranch that killed a passenger in the other car was convicted Monday of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury.
The San Diego jury, however, deadlocked 10-2 on a second-degree murder charge against 36-year-old Hyun Jeong Choi.
The prosecution will return to court Friday to inform Superior Court Judge Joan Weber if it plans to retry Choi for murder in the March 27, 2016, crash that killed 43-year-old Amanda Walzer.
The crash left Walzer’s fiancé, 49-year-old Jon Warshawsky, with a traumatic brain injury.
Choi's first trial ended in a mistrial last June when an officer testified about something that wasn't in any report.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar said Choi pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2013 and was given several warnings about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Aguilar said that just before the fatal collision, Choi had smoked marijuana she purchased at a nearby dispensary. An open bag of marijuana and a freshly used marijuana pipe were found in the defendant's vehicle after the crash, the prosecutor said.
After she was released from a hospital, Choi admitted she “tried to fight it” and “tried to get home” after smoking the marijuana she had just bought.
Defense attorney Stephen Cline told the jury that Choi made a “naive and negligent mistake” by purchasing what she thought was the same kind of medical marijuana she had used previously to calm her social anxiety.
When Choi returned from traveling overseas, her usual dispensary was gone and she purchased what she thought was the same type of marijuana that had helped her before from a dispensary in the Miramar area, Cline said.
The attorney said there were no warnings about the strength and potency of the marijuana, which had an immediate impact on Choi.
“She had no idea what she left that store with,” her attorney said. “She was impaired. Catastrophically impaired.”
Witness Regis Kodzi testified that he and his wife were traveling on Pomerado Road behind Warshawsky's 1956 Porsche when Choi's Toyota Corolla crossed a center divider and hit the vintage sports car head-on about 5:30 p.m.
Friday, February 1st, 2019>Baby home alone while dad nets 7th OWI in Kansasville
KANSASVILLE — A Kansasville man was arrested Sunday after he was allegedly caught driving drunk for the seventh time and it was discovered he had left his baby child home alone.
At 7:04 p.m. Sunday, a Racine County Sheriff’s Office deputy on patrol in the Kansasville area of the Town of Dover saw a Ford Taurus driving well over the posted 25 mph speed limit through a residential area, according to a Racine County Sheriff’s Office news release.
The deputy stopped the vehicle, which sheriff’s officials said was being driven by 41-year-old Nathan T. Hansen of the 24000 block of Adams Street in the Eagle Lake Manor neighborhood. The deputy reportedly smelled the odor of intoxicants on Hansen and suspected him to be under the influence of alcohol.
Hansen refused to submit to field sobriety testing and was arrested. If convicted, this will be Hansen’s seventh offense. During the investigation, it was learned that Hansen reportedly left his 1-year-old child at home alone while he went to a nearby gas station to buy tobacco. Deputies responded to the residence, where they found the child watching TV in a crib.
Racine County Child Protective Services staff assisted with returning the child to its mother.
Hansen was issued a traffic citation for unreasonable imprudent speed. He was being held as of Monday night on a $17,000 bond at the Racine County Jail on pending felony charges of OWI seventh offense and felony child neglect.
Thursday, January 31st, 2019Doing 'doughnuts,' crashing into snowbank leads to DUI
ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A St. Charles man was charged with driving under the influence Jan. 23 after a Kane County deputy watched him doing “doughnuts” in the parking lot at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, then crash into a snowbank near the flag poles and stop sign area by the entrance of the sheriff’s office, according to Kane County Sheriff’s reports.
Carlos J. Romero-Alfaro, 28, of the 600 block of 11th Avenue, St. Charles, was also charged with felony resisting arrest by refusing to get out of his car, requiring two deputies and a state trooper to remove him from the car and carry him to a squad car, reports stated.
Romero-Alfaro was also charged with misdemeanor resisting a police officer, illegal transportation of alcohol, reckless driving and property damage.
At 11 p.m. that night, a deputy saw Romero-Alfaro’s car doing “doughnuts” – that is driving in circles in the snow – before he crashed into the snowbank and stop sign, reports stated.
When deputies approached Romero-Alfaro’s vehicle, a 2009 gray Subaru Legacy, they saw him holding a Milwaukee’s Best Ice beer can between his legs and an empty can he threw out the window, the report stated.
“I asked Carlos what he was doing and he appeared stupefied,” the report stated. “Carlos was slurring his speech and kept asking for a lighter to light his cigarette, even though I observed him holding a lighter in his right hand. Carlos could not answer why he was doing ‘doughnuts’ in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office and would consistently repeat, just say, ‘What?’”
Romero-Alfaro refused when he was asked to step out of his vehicle, and then he refused when police ordered him to step out, even after being told he was under arrest, the report stated.
Wednesday, January 30th, 2019Driver who plunged off Coronado bridge, killing 4, testifies he was not drunk
A soft-spoken Richard Sepolio testified Tuesday that he was not driving under the influence of alcohol two years ago when he crashed his pickup off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge into Chicano Park, killing four people.
The 27-year-old Navy aviation technician is charged with 13 felony counts including four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI and reckless driving causing death or injury.
He faces more than 23 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
Cruz Contreras, 52, and his wife, Annamarie Contreras, 50, of Chandler, Ariz., were killed, as were Andre Banks, 49, and his wife, Francine Jimenez, 46, of Hacienda Heights.
They were part of a crowd of an estimated 3,000 people in the park for a rally at the end of the annual La Raza motorcycle run on Oct. 15, 2016.
Food and souvenir booths were set up in the park, and Sepolio’s truck landed on one booth.
One of the main issues at trial is whether he was under the influence after having drinks at brunch several hours before driving.
Also at issue is whether he was speeding while trying to pass a slower car and was in an irritated state of mind after talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone while driving.
A forensic expert testified that, calculating backward from one hospital blood test showing a .04 percent blood-alcohol level would indicate he had a .08 or .09 percent level while driving. Another test pointed to a .05 or .06 blood-alcohol level.
A driver in California is presumed under the influence at .08 percent, but could be considered impaired with a lower blood-alcohol level.
If jurors find Sepolio guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter without being intoxicated, his time in prison would be considerably less than 23 years.
Testimony in the trial, which so far has lasted nine days, trial ended Tuesday and lawyers are expected to give their closing arguments Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court.
Sepolio was the final defense witness, telling a jury of six men and six women that he had a glass of cider and a glass of wine at a noon brunch with a fellow aviation technician from North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado.
In planning the brunch, Sepolio said he’d texted his colleague that he wanted to get “white girl wasted” at the restaurant, Chocolate Eclipse in North Park.
They returned by Uber to his colleague’s South Park apartment and he spent about an hour hanging out with her and playing with her dogs, he said.
He phoned his girlfriend, who was in Missouri, and talked to her while driving to Coronado, with the phone in his truck console. Under questioning from his attorney, Paul Pfingst, he said they talked about her soccer match and how she wanted him to buy a pair of shorts that he considered to be too short.
“I don’t have the legs for them,” he told the court.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright asked him if he and his girlfriend, to whom he is now married, had an argument on the phone seconds before his crash.
She pointed to transcripts of the woman’s apologetic text messages to Sepolio’s phone, saying, “I’m sorry I’m such a bad girlfriend,” “I’ll change” and “please don’t hate me” — all suggesting some kind of dispute between them.
Sepolio said he had not read her texts at the time, 3:37 p.m., because he had plunged over the bridge by that time. He said they had hung up as he drove north on Interstate 5 to a transition lane onto the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
Sepolio said he sped up to pass a blue car on his left, so he could get out of the right lane that merged with other bridge traffic coming off southbound I-5.
“As I was about to pass, they sped up, so I sped up as well,” he testified. “I thought I had enough room to go left.”
California Highway Patrol accident reconstruction experts testified that Sepolio’s “black box” recorder in his 2005 GMC pickup showed he was going 81 mph seconds before the crash, and about 60 when the truck hit a guardrail barrier.
Sepolio said he didn’t remember his truck hitting the left bridge barrier before bouncing to the right.
“The next thing I remember was looking down at a group,” he said.
His truck landed on its wheels atop the four victims who died. Several others were injured. People in the crowd tipped the truck onto the passenger side so others could check on the crushed victims.
Some men hauled Sepolio out of his back truck cab window. A trauma doctor testified that Sepolio suffered a fracture spine, sternum and other broken bones as well as brain bleed.
California Highway Patrol officers gave him two breath tests in the hospital and his blood was drawn twice. The CHP mistakenly stored one blood sample in a shed for more than a year before it was tested, an officer testified.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2019Derry woman charged with drunk driving, after troopers clock her going 117 in a 55 mph zone
BOW — A Derry woman faces drunk driving and other charges, after state police say she was clocked on radar driving 117 mph in a 55 mph zone in Bow with a teenage friend early Saturday.
According to state police, New Hampshire State Trooper Anthony Pratt was monitoring weekend traffic along Interstate 93 in Bow around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when he reported seeing a vehicle traveling at an excessive rate of speed. According to state police, Pratt was able to clock the vehicle going 117 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Pratt stopped the vehicle and determined the driver, identified as Kelly Murphy, 20, of Derry, was driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to police, Murphy was arrested on charges of aggravated driving under the influence, underage DWI, reckless operation, and unlawful possession of alcohol.
According to state police a passenger in the vehicle, identified as Marissa Palazzo, 19, of Derry, was also arrested on charges of resisting arrest and unlawful possession of alcohol.
Both women were processed and released and are awaiting arraignment in the 6th Circuit Court in Concord.
Monday, January 28th, 2019Driver 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.