State Rep. Jewell Jones gets new alcohol tether, admonished by judge after bond violation

FOX 2 – In court, Thursday State Representative Jewell Jones admitted that he violated conditions of bond for a drunk driving arrest in April. The judge told him that he thought he was deceptive to his own attorney, the prosecutor’s office, and possibly, the court.javascript:false

State Rep Jewell Jones admits to violating bond regulations

In court Thursday State Representative Jewell Jones admitted that he violated conditions of bond for a drunk driving arrest in April.

“Responsible and guilty your honor,” said Jones (D-Inkster).Sponsored LinksVideo from our partnersBrought to you by TaboolaMiddle Class Homeowners Are Using This Mortgage Program To Help Pay Off Their Homes. Don’t Wait.LowerMyBillsLearn More

He was slapped with a new alcohol tether Thursday and sent for immediate drug and alcohol testing.  

“We are taking this thing seriously and it’s time you start,” said Judge Daniel Bain, 53rd District Court.  

The Livingston County court gave 26-year-old Jones a pass this month to skip court-ordered drug and alcohol testing to attend National Guard training for two weeks at Camp Grayling. 

But when he got there, Jones apparently finagled a three-day pass from military command to head to Lansing for committee meetings – which he did.  

Jones ended up outing himself with a post on Instagram showing a workout in Wayne when he was supposed to be north – 200 miles away. 

“He did not consume any alcohol or drugs,” said Ali Hammoud, Jones’ attorney. 

Hammoud took the blame in court, but the judge wasn’t having it.  State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) struggled with state police after a drunk driving arrest last April.

State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) struggled with state police after a drunk driving arrest last April.

“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I think you were not candid with Mr. Hammoud who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.” 

On April 6th, Jones was allegedly caught with his pants down, driving drunk, more than twice the legal limit from Southfield to Fowlerville, Inside he had a female passenger and a loaded handgun in the cupholder. 

When cops responded to his crashed SUV off I-96 he tried dropping Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s name and didn’t comply with officers.  State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) faces the judge Thursday.

State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) faces the judge Thursday.

If Jones were to test positive for drugs or alcohol it would be a bond violation and another trip to court.

DUI arrest of state trooper not the first in recent years

Standing with his lawyer Robert Britt, left, state trooper John McDonald is sworn in before pleading nolo contendre to two counts of reckless endangerment in Superior Court in Middletown, Conn. on Thursday, May 6, 2021. McDonald injured a mother and daughter in a drunk driving crash in Southbury in September 2019.

Connecticut State Police Trooper Shaquille Williams performs a field sobriety test on Monday, March 16, 2020. Seen here on body camera footage of one of the responding troopers.

BETHEL — The arrest of Andrew Murphy, a Connecticut state trooper out of Troop A in Southbury, for DUI over the weekend comes as several state police officers have been charged with wrongdoing over the last two years.

Bethel police allege Murphy, 33, repeatedly ignored an officer’s commands not to drive, after the patrolling officer found him standing and struggling to keep his balance in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven around 2:10 a.m. Sunday.

Instead, police claim, Murphy told the officer to “watch this,” got in his car and drove about a mile to his house, driving at around 10 mph and swerving, according to a copy of the incident report.

Police detained Murphy in the driveway and conducted a field sobriety test, during which the officer claims Murphy repeatedly told him he was a state trooper and claimed the officer was hurting “one of your own,” using an expletive.

Murphy was processed and released on $500 bond after he was briefly transported to Danbury Hospital early that morning, according to the report. He was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, disobeying the signal of an officer and interfering with an officer, and is due to appear in Danbury Superior Court Monday.

His arrest comes after a string of alleged incidents involving officers in the Connecticut State Police force.

In 2019, state police arrested Sgt. John McDonald, a member of the Western District Major Crimes Squad, after he drove through a stop sign and crashed into a car carrying a woman and her daughter. Police allege McDonald, who like Murphy worked out of the Troop A barracks in Southbury, downed a eight drinks at an Oxford brewery during a retirement party for another officer before getting behind the wheel.

State police said McDonald remains on administrative suspension. Last month, he pleaded nolo contendere to two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment as part of a plea deal allowing him to avoid jail time. He is also being allowed to take a pretrial alcohol education program to have the DUI charge against him dismissed.

In March last year, state police arrested Trooper Shaquille Williams, a patrol officer out of Troop I in Bethany for DUI after they found his cruiser pulled off the side of I-84 in Waterbury. A 911 caller spotted the vehicle and told police the car had its hazard lights on and the driver was either asleep or unresponsive.

State police said officers performed a field sobriety test of Williams, which he failed. In body-cam footage of the arrest, Williams admitted he “messed up” to the officers who arrested him.

He was charged with illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and released on bond.

A spokeswoman for the state’s judiciary system said the case against Williams was nolled on Dec. 3 of last year.

State police said Wednesday Williams remains on administrative suspension.

Parents, uncle arrested on OVI and drug charges after crash

SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) – Three kids expected to go to a local amusement park and have fun. Instead, they ended up watching their parents and uncle go off to jail.

“It’s not really normal for us to arrest an entire family based off a traffic crash,” said Sandusky Police Chief Jared Oliver.

He said at about 4 p.m. Monday afternoon Sandusky police assisted Cedar Point officers with a traffic crash and ended up arresting a mother, father and uncle.

“We were called after a truck hit a concrete barrier,” Oliver said.

Police said when they got there, they asked the driver of the truck, Michael Dhans, 30, to get out of his vehicle and take a few field sobriety tests. After taking the tests, Dhans, of Michigan, was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle under the influence and drug possession.

His sister, Heather Sheets, 32, and her husband, Matthew Sheets, also from Michigan, were in a separate vehicle with their three children.  Officers said Matthew Sheets showed some signs of being impaired so they asked him to take some field sobriety tests.

Matthew Sheets was arrested for OVI and endangering children. Heather Sheets arrested for possession of drugs and endangering children.

Police also confiscated suspected marijuana and pills that officers believe were a prescription strength sedative.

The children were taken to the Sandusky Police Department until officials with children services arrived.  Children services officials were able to locate family members.

“It’s a shame. I feel terrible for the children,” Oliver said. “The officer got the children pizza and they watched some Disney. These three children went to go have a great day at the amusement park and their irresponsible parents and uncle caused that day to end sooner than they would have wanted.”

The three adults were taken to the Erie County Jail. They are due back in court soon.

Intoxicated Driver Attempted to Flee Traffic Stop

LAKE STATION, Ind. (CBS) – An intoxicated driver attempted to flee Indiana State trooper traffic stop on I-80/94 east after repeatedly swerving across lanes and hitting the guardrails early Saturday morning, state police said.ADVERTISING

Indiana State Police patrolling the eastbound lanes attempted a traffic stop Saturday morning around 5 a.m. after observing the driver swerving in the center lane. The intoxicated driver was in a blue Ford sedan and first spotted traveling at only 25 mph in the right lane. The driver then swerved left into the center lane nearly striking another vehicle. The Indiana State trooper immediately attempted to perform a traffic stop but the driver refused to stop and fled.

The vehicle swerved to the right across all lanes as it drove onto the shoulder almost hitting the guardrail. The driver slowed to 5 mph, appearing to submit to the traffic stop but then sped up, fleeing from the officer. The vehicle swerved again, this time left across all lanes of travel, narrowly missing a semi-truck. She continued swerving left and right in multiple lanes while the officer called for assistance, state police said

The stop was finally conducted and the driver, identified as Miquita N. Houston, 36, of Chicago, IL, was ultimately taken into custody. In the stop’s driver impairment breath test, Houston registered .162 B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content).  The legal limit for intoxication in Indiana is .08%.

Houston was transported to the Lake County Jail for booking. She is preliminarily charged with resisting law enforcement, operating while intoxicated, operating while endangering and reckless driving.

A renewed push: Technology on all new vehicles to prevent drunken driving

A renewed push: Technology on all new vehicles to prevent drunken driving
A universal ignition interlock used to combat drunken driving. Unlike ignition interlocks in use today, mostly for people charged or convicted of drunken driving, the new technology would be built into the vehicle.Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety

Technology that could reduce drunken driving has evolved faster than the willingness among political and auto industry leaders to put it to use, safety advocates say.

But that could be changing.

On Wednesday, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety announced that its breath-analyzing interlock, which can detect impaired drivers, will be available for use in commercial vehicles for the first time later this year. A consumer version could be ready by 2024.

The device is among several anti-DUI technologies that could be used to prevent drunken driving and has so far attracted the most attention. For more than a decade, the federal government and the auto industry have been working to develop the device as part of a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS, that can passively detect whether a driver is intoxicated and prevent the vehicle from starting.

But with a new administration in the White House, a new Congress and advances in the technology, momentum appears to be building for new federal auto safety standards that would go beyond DADSS to reduce alcohol-related crashes and save an estimated 9,400 lives.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pressing the auto industry to take advantage of existing technology, such as driver-monitoring and driver-assist lane controls, to reduce drunken driving now, rather than wait for DADSS or fully autonomous vehicles to hit the market.

While some automakers, such as Volvo, have integrated driver-monitoring cameras and sensors into their safety systems, advocates expressed frustration that the rest of the industry has been slow to do the same.

“We are mad that the automakers are ignoring the potential technologies they have to prevent drunken driving,” said Ken Snyder, whose daughter, Katie Snyder Evans, was killed by a drunk driver in October 2017 in California. He said there are 241 technologies available to combat drunken driving, with some requiring little more than rejiggering the computer code in driver-assist technology. “I can’t sit still until this is done because I don’t want other families to go through the hell we’ve been through,” Snyder said.

The number of drunken driving fatalities has fallen by more than half since 1982, when the federal government began collecting alcohol-related crash data. Yet every 50 minutes, another American dies in an alcohol-related crash. The Insurance Information Institute says 10,142 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2019, accounting for 28 % of all traffic fatalities.

Bipartisan legislation — the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act in the Senate and a similar bill in the House — would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to formulate rules and standards on implementing anti-DUI technology. Backers include Rep. Debbie Dingell and Sen. Gary Peters, both Democrats from Michigan. Several Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, have also signed on.

The auto industry opposes such mandates. Industry officials warn that existing driver-assist and driver-monitoring technology is not yet up to the task of intervening against a drunk driver, and that ineffective or unreliable measures could backfire. What would happen, they ask, if technology designed to monitor driver behavior inaccurately determined that a driver was impaired and disabled the vehicle or forced the vehicle off the road?

“While these systems may help identify many of the effects of alcohol and drug impairment, we are unaware of existing research demonstrating the robust effectiveness of these systems in detecting alcohol impairment,” Scott Schmidt, vice president for safety policy at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said in comments submitted to NHTSA in January.

At best, Schmidt said, the current driver-assist technology can only infer that a person is impaired, unlike DADSS, which is intended to make reliable and accurate readings of a driver before the car gets on the road. He said it’s also possible that current technology might fail to intervene with a “high functioning” driver who is relatively able to operate the vehicle while under the influence.

“As a result, we believe that DADSS research should be supported and completed as an agency priority,” Schmidt wrote.Get our Daily Headlines newsletter

NHTSA also supports further research and development of DADSS, an ignition interlock device that would prevent the vehicle from starting if it determines that the driver has a blood alcohol level above a certain threshold. Such breathalyzer-like devices have become widespread over the past three decades as states implemented various programs to stop recidivism among drivers who were charged with or convicted of a DUI.

Unlike existing interlocks, however, DADSS technology is intended to become standard equipment in all automobiles and require no effort from the driver to take a reading. The driver would not be required to blow into a tube, for example. Instead, DADSS would analyze the driver’s ambient breath. The nonprofit is also developing a touch-based sensor similar to thermometers and blood-oxygen gauges applied to a finger tip.

Robert Strassburger, president of Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, said the pandemic had set back development of DADSS by at least a year because of limits on research involving human subjects and disruptions to the supply chain for electronic components. He said the coalition is ahead of the usual 20-year timeline for research and development of a major traffic safety component with its breath-analyzing interlock.

“We still need to make the sensor more sensitive to alcohol and further shrink its size so it’s more easily integrated into cars,” Strassburger said. He said the touch-based technology is expected to reach commercial fleets by 2023, followed by a consumer version two years later.

NHTSA has contributed $55 million to developing DADSS, matched by $16 million from the auto industry, an agency spokeswoman said. The federal agency is also exploring other possible technologies to reduce drunken driving, having issued a “request for information” to manufacturers and researchers in November. A report on the findings is expected later this year.

Joan Claybrook, a former president of Public Citizen who headed NHTSA during the Carter administration, likened the push for anti-DUI technology to the resistance to installing air bags in vehicles.

“Fifty thousand lives have been saved by air bags, and the auto industry fought it like mad, even though they invented it,” Claybrook said.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing in April, Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., a Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act co-sponsor and victim of a drunk driver, expressed urgency as he questioned John Bozzella, president of Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

“Mr. Bozzella, have you ever been hit by a drunk driver?” Luján asked.

“No, I have not,” Bozzella answered.

“I have,” Luján said. “I got hit head-on by a drunk driver 29 years ago. And there were many nights that I’d be driving home after that accident, or driving anywhere, and all I would see were headlights coming at me, and it scared me to death.”

Luján, in an interview last week, said he still recalls the feeling of shock and disorientation he felt moments after the crash. He also recalled seeing an empty child carrier in the other car and fearing that perhaps a child had been flung from the wreckage. It turned out that the other car’s only occupant was the drunk driver, and both he and Luján emerged from the crash relatively uninjured.

“The point of this, I’m here to tell the story, (but) there are so many people who died,” Luján said. “There’s no good reason why auto manufacturers are not required to include technology in their vehicles which is readily available to prevent drunken driving crashes from happening.”