Arrest, fine or shame: What people who break coronavirus stay-at-home orders face

Arrest, fine or shame: What people who break coronavirus stay-at-home orders face

As the number of coronavirus cases mounts across the United States, so, too, have the stay-at-home orders issued by state and local governments.

But how are they enforced?

Many police departments have said they’ll trust community members to voluntarily comply. Others are using enforcement measures such as citations or adding charges for violating an order when making an arrest for a more serious crime.

In Hawaii, at least two people were arrested after the the governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Monday, the Star Adviser reported. Another 70 people were issued citations.

Most of the citations came from public parks after people ignored a police warning, according to the Star Adviser.

A 43-year-old woman was also arrested for violating a protective order related to a child custody dispute.

Carissa Glende was taken into custody after she “threw a rock at a window and started an argument with the home’s occupants,” West Hawaii Today reported.

“It’s not that we went out looking for it, but because this person was arrested for another crime and they’re out where they’re not supposed to be, we added that as a second charge,” Hawaii island Police Chief Paul Ferreira said, according to the Star Adviser.

Two men in Ohio were also arrested this week after the governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 22.

Eric Bates was caught shoplifting from a store in Avon, Fox8 reported. Police charged him with theft, obstructing, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating governor’s orders.

A driver and passenger in Bucyrus were charged with violating the governor’s orders after a traffic stop, the Crawford Source reported. The pair face also face felony drug possession charges.

In Indiana, a 20-year-old was arrested for allegedly drunk driving Thursday night during a statewide stay-at-home order, Fox59 reported.

The governor’s order went into effect on March 24 at 11:59 p.m.

Joseph Baker was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, minor consuming alcohol and disobeying a declaration of disaster emergency, according to Fox59.

Meanwhile, officials in Colorado have taken a different approach.

According to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, residents would only face criminal charges “after all other measures to gain compliance have failed.”

Instead, officials in Colorado’s public safety department and Attorney General’s office recommended using social media or local media outlets to apply public pressure.

“If public shaming fails… then authorities should seek civil remedies before filing criminal charges — which likely would result in a citation, rather than a physical arrest, as authorities try to keep jail populations to a minimum during the pandemic,” the Reporter-Herald reported. https://news.yahoo.com/arrest-fine-shame-people-break-162922736.html

Carteret Man Said He Had Coronavirus To Get Out Of DWI: AG

State Police say a Carteret man caused a DWI crash on the Parkway Friday, and then said he was infected to avoid being taken into custody.

HAZLET, NJ — A Carteret man who State Police say was driving under the influence on Friday — and caused a crash on the Garden State Parkway — was also charged with falsely telling state troopers he had the coronavirus to try and avoid being arrested, said police.

This happened Friday, March 27 on the Garden State Parkway southbound through Hazlet, at milepost 118.6, according to Trooper Alejandro Goez.

State Police say Travis Urban, 30, of Carteret, became involved in an accident with another car and no injuries were reported. Troopers determined that Urban was under the influence and he was arrested and charged with DWI.

However, the New Jersey Attorney General said Urban told officers at the scene he had the coronavirus to try to avoid being taken into custody. It is not known what exactly he said.

He was additionally charged with obstruction and hindering apprehension/prosecution. Urban was released pending a court date.

Additionally, a week prior to that, on March 21, David Haley, 52, was arrested in Perth Amboy after he threw bodily fluids at a police officer and claimed to be infected with coronavirus, said the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office. He was charged with second-degree terroristic threats.

“Our police officers are going above and beyond the call of duty during this health crisis. Unfortunately, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all — or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Monday. https://news.yahoo.com/carteret-man-said-had-coronavirus-194119707.html

Police Charge Woman In Crash Amid Stay-At-Home Order

Oak Bluffs police said the woman said she was coming from an event where she consumed alcohol when she was involved in a crash at 12:33 a.m.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MA — Oak Bluffs police said an island woman was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, unlicensed operation of a vehicle, a marked lane violation and negligent operation after police said she crashed her car into the woods in the early morning hours of Thursday. The island is under a stay-at-home order where residents are directed only to leave their houses for essential goods and services.

Police said they responded to the round-a-bout at the intersection of Barnes Road and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road where the found a single-car crash off the road into a tree. Police said the woman, whom they referred to as Francielle, admitted she had been a gathering where she had consumed alcohol.

“We’d like to remind everyone that during the current pandemic social distancing should be taken seriously, and you should never drink and drive,” Oak Bluffs police said.

Police said she was taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for evaluation for minor injuries. The car sustained severe damage. Police said the use of seat belts and an airbag protected the driver from a more serious injury. https://news.yahoo.com/oak-bluffs-police-charge-woman-205303494.html

Wanted man arrested for drunken driving, violating stay-at-home order, cops say

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department stock
LaPorte County Sheriff’s DepartmentProvided

A wanted Michigan City man was arrested Sunday for alleged drunken driving and violating the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order, according to the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. 

Wilbert Bureau Jr., 61, faces three counts of operating while intoxicated — including one that is a level felony 6 for having a prior OWI on his record. The other two OWI charges are class C misdemeanors, the sheriff’s office said.

Wilbert also faces charges of violating Gov. Eric Holcomb’s no-travel order during the coronavirus pandemic, a class B misdemeanor. 

The office said LaPorte Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Epple was eastbound on U.S. 20 west of the Ind. 2 interchange at 11:43 a.m. Sunday.

There, he saw a vehicle driving eastbound on U.S. 20 pass Epple’s fully marked squad car at a speed above the posted limit, police said. 

While traveling behind the vehicle, Epple checked his squad car computer to find the license plate was expired and the registered owner — Bureau — had a suspended driver’s license, police said.

Epple initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 6500 East block of Ind. 2. It was then that Bureau was identified as the driver, who had an active warrant, police said. 

Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Phillips arrived to assist with the roadside investigation. Capt. Derek Allen said Bureau was allegedly found to be driving under the influence. 

Bureau was taken into custody and eventually transported to the LaPorte County Jail for the latest offense and an outstanding, unrelated warrant in a domestic violence case, police said. 

Bureau remained housed in the jail Monday and is being held without bond, police said. https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/wanted-man-arrested-for-drunken-driving-violating-stay-at-home-order-cops-say/article_f8f40f3e-9fcf-5057-a431-7d3ff86bfdea.html

‘Stay At Home’: Coronavirus Cancels Annual 4/20 Celebration In Denver


DENVER (CBS4) — Monday is 4/20, but the annual festival to celebrate all things marijuana has been cancelled because of the coronavirus. Law enforcement and organizations such as MADD are asking people to stay home this year.

Denver’s Civic Center Park, where the Mile High 420 Festival was planned to take place, is fenced off this year. The founder of the 4/20 event combined efforts with Denver’s Chief of Police to put out a video, asking people to stay home this year.

“We understand that you may want to celebrate some form of independence but we are not independent from this virus that does not discriminate,” said Miguel Lopez, founder of the Denver 420 rally.

“If you want to celebrate we ask that you find alternatives to coming downtown and celebrating,” said Chief Paul Pazen, with the Denver Police Department.

Every year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving team up with the Colorado State Patrol to spread a safety campaign about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and having a safe ride home surrounding the unofficial cannabis holiday. This year however, the message is a little different.

“We thought, you know, the best thing to do is just join in with a public health messaging from the governor and say you know what, stay at home if you’re able to,“ explained Fran Lanzer, the State Executive Director of MADD. “You don’t need to be going out partying. Everybody should be staying at home.”

Troopers say they are still seeing DUI accidents and arrests on our roadways, despite the fact that people should be staying home. Troopers will be out on Monday, looking for impaired drivers.

The hope is on 4/20, people who choose to celebrate, will do so responsibly during the pandemic.

“There is never an excuse to drive impaired, but this weekend especially, there is no reason we should have even one impaired caused injury or fatal crash,” explained Chief Col. Matthew Packard, with Colorado State Patrol, in their campaign video posted online.

Lanzer said the goal is to have zero DUI arrests, zero DUI crashes, and zero COVID-19 community spread. They’re encouraging those who choose to celebrate to do so safely, without getting behind the wheel and putting others at risk.

“We really want everyone to do their part, do your part for our communities and keep our road safe,” he said.

The Law Firm of Bachus & Schanker, Uber and Native Roots also join MADD Colorado in asking everyone do their part to save lives on our roads and in our communities.

MADD not only works to spread awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence, but has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors. If you or someone you know needs assistance after a crash, you can get help through the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/04/20/coronavirus-cancels-420-marijuana-celebration-denver/

Judge denies Denver man’s challenge of stay-at-home orders

Michael Lawrence challenged the orders as unconstitutional and argued that they violated his First Amendment rights and cost him lost wages.

DENVER — A federal judge denied a Denver man’s court challenge to the stay-at-home orders issued in Denver and the state of Colorado.

Michael Lawrence, filed a federal lawsuit on March 30, challenging the stay-at-home orders as unconstitutional. A federal court judge denied his challenge

Michael Lawrence challenged the orders as unconstitutional and argued that they violated his First Amendment rights and cost him lost wages.

DENVER — A federal judge denied a Denver man’s court challenge to the stay-at-home orders issued in Denver and the state of Colorado.

Michael Lawrence, filed a federal lawsuit on March 30, challenging the stay-at-home orders as unconstitutional. A federal court judge denied his challenge

Denver man files suit challenging state, city stay-at-home orders

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Baris-Ozer / iStock

When the restaurant where Michael Lawrence worked as a cook closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, he found himself out of a job. Unlike the other thousands of Coloradans suddenly unemployed, though, Lawrence filed a federal lawsuit against the governor and mayor of Denver.

“Because the defendants’ Orders have limited the use of the plaintiff’s place of work for the owners of the premises,” Lawrence wrote in a complaint filed in federal district court on Monday, “such a limitation constitutes a taking that requires the defendants to pay the plaintiff the reasonable value of the wages he has lost.”

The lawsuit comes six days after Denver Mayor Michael Hancock implemented a stay-at-home order that closed non-essential businesses and attempted to halt the congregation of groups of people, including at restaurants. The goal was to limit the person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. Two days later, Gov. Jared Polis’s statewide directive went into effect.

Lawrence flatly asserted that the “Wuhan flu does not constitute a crisis in Colorado,” referring to the city in China where the COVID-19 virus originated. He wrote that a small increase in the state’s death rate does not justify “the destruction of the Constitution and the thriving Colorado economy.” As of March 31, 51 people in Colorado have died from the virus. 

“There’s no alternative where no one dies,” Lawrence told Colorado Politics. “More people will die from economy-based suicides than from the flu, according to the research I cited. I have proposed an injunction that will result in far less death.”

In the lawsuit, Lawrence mentioned obesity, smoking and the seasonal flu as resulting in far higher deaths than COVID-19. While the death rate varies by country, estimates are that 0.1% of people die from seasonal flu, while it is expected that 1.8% will die in the United States  after contracting coronavirus.

Lawrence pointed to restrictions on free assembly and free exercise of religion as violating the First Amendment, after his Catholic parish stopped holding Masses. The hiatus occurred before the stay-at-home orders, when all three bishops in Colorado voluntarily suspended gatherings to protect their parishioners. Nevertheless, the lawsuit compares the current situation to that of the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“In retrospect, a consensus exists now that internment was wrong. It was wrong for Japanese-Americans then, and it is wrong for Coloradans now,” the complaint argues. Lawrence elaborated that both situations were “motivated by panic and ignorance.”

The “internment of Coloradans,” as he described it, will be viewed someday as “a bad idea.”

On Friday, Fred Yarger, Colorado’s solicitor general under Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, described on a webinar with the Centennial Institute that states have powers to impose quarantines and limit travel, although there is not much case law for disaster declarations that pertain to pandemics.

“The courts are going to be OK with that for as long as the emergency is real,” he said, a view he reiterated on Tuesday.

“I’m not surprised by this lawsuit, and we might see more of them as the crisis continues,” he added. “I don’t expect courts to second-guess these kinds of public health orders unless there is a compelling reason to do so in an individual case.”

Polis said through a spokesperson that he could not comment on pending litigation, and Hancock’s office said they believed that the city’s stay-at-home order would help slow infections.

Lawrence’s legal argument, as laid out in the complaint, is that the government has used its powers of eminent domain to close businesses and has precluded him from using his vehicle to drive for work or personal reasons. His right to peaceably assemble with his friends or religious congregants is also unconstitutional. The defendants, rather than having a public health concern, “enjoy wielding power.” 

If the court does not grant an injunction against the orders, Lawrence wrote, his industry will suffer and he will have difficulty finding employment. Referring to the stay-at-home orders as a “fake quarantine,” he asserted that other locations Coloradans can still visit — liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries — sell products that kill “far more people” than the flu.

When asked to point to statistics showing marijuana products being deadlier than the flu, Lawrence responded that “smoking anything during a flu pandemic where the really virulent flu strain focuses its attack on the lungs is a bad idea because overall lung health is compromised. With weakened lungs, a person exposed to the coronavirus is likely to get much sicker than someone with healthy lungs.”

Christopher M. Jackson, an attorney with Holland & Hart, said that the suit was unlikely to get far because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that in emergencies, states may use their regulatory powers to protect communities. “I think his strongest argument is probably the one about the free exercise of religion,” Jackson said. “It’s all essentially the same argument: ‘the Constitution gives me the right to do lots of things in most situations, and in this really extreme situation, the government is telling me no.’

“The question is, is that OK?”

The case is Michael Lawrence v. The State of Colorado, et al.

Lawrence lawsuit

Policing in a pandemic: Citations, arrests raise concern over COVID-19 public health orders

Local officials have tightened restrictions in Steamboat Springs, such as closing down public parks and playgrounds, as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some believe these measurements are justified to save lives, but others think they have gone too far.
Derek Maiolo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Each morning, as Sgt. Rich Brown prepares for his shift at the Steamboat Springs Police Department, he follows a series of strict health protocols, the same ones that any other essential businesses must abide by amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown checks his temperature to ensure he is not running a fever. He logs the reading on a spreadsheet along with the temperatures of his fellow officers. The daily briefings they conduct before going on patrol have been moved to the larger community room near the lobby, which allows enough space for proper social distancing. Everyone wears a mask during these briefings as well as any time officers could come into contact with another person.

As the death toll of the virus continues to grow — as of Friday, more than 36,000 had died in the U.S. alone — these health procedures have become legally binding. Routt County has passed a series of public health orders as a way to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, which range from restrictions on lodging to, most recently, requiring people to wear masks in businesses or on public transit. 

All of these orders give the Police Department the authority to enforce them and contain punitive measures for certain violators. The maximum penalty for a public health order violation includes a $5,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail. 

Face-off over face masks

The most recent order regarding face masks, perhaps more than any other, has sparked criticism from some members of the community. Opponents believe the measures have gone too far, and that the fear of being penalized could do more harm than good. Some dissenters question the constitutionality of such a requirement and raise Orwellian fears of government control. 

Public health experts say the orders are necessary to protect the community and the ultimate goal is to gain voluntary compliance, not issue punishments.

The controversy has revealed deep-seated American values of personal freedoms that have been curtailed in a utilitarian attempt to prioritize the interests of the country, not the individual. Such practices raise concerns over the power governments yield, particularly in the U.S., which drafted the Bill of Rights as a way to protect itself against the tyranny from which the Founding Fathers sought liberation.

Even President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets, signaled his support for protestsstaged in state capitals across the country against stay-at-home orders.

A letter signed by 97 Routt County residents, published in the Steamboat Pilot & Today this week, urged the Routt County Board of Commissioners to amend the latest health order regarding face masks, specifically the punitive measures they view as excessive.

“In a county of 24,000 people with only 43 COVID-19 cases, with an abundance of open space and fresh air, your decision seems extraordinarily heavy-handed and intended to sow fear and distrust, rather than to stop the spread of disease,” the letter said.

It cites a recent article in the Pilot & Today, which mentioned a surge in suicide calls amid panic over the pandemic and the resulting economic collapse. 

Jennifer Schubert-Akin, one of the signees of the letter and chairman and CEO of The Steamboat Institute, a conservative think tank, emphasized the goal of the letter was not to oppose the wearing of face masks. She voluntarily wears one and thinks doing so is a good idea for now. What she disagrees with is the possibility of paying a $5,000 fine or spending more than a year in jail.  

“There is no need to intimidate people — who are already very stressed out with loss of jobs and income — with threats of excessive fines and jail time,” she said in an email. “The commissioners could restore a great deal of goodwill and community spirit by removing the fine and jail time from their order.”

Addressing concerns

In response to the public criticism, Routt County public health officials and Police Chief Cory Christensen participated in a virtual town hall Thursday, which focused on the most recent health order. 

Commissioner Tim Corrigan started the town hall by affirming the government’s power to enforce such regulations. He quoted section B of the latest order, which states the Routt County Public Health Department “has the statutory authority to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and conditions affecting public health, as well as to establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, and to exercise physical control over persons within its jurisdiction as necessary for the protection of public health.”

The punitive measures, laid out in the Colorado revised statues, predate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The constitutionality of these orders are unquestioned,” Corrigan said.

He compared the public health orders to speed limits. They exist not only to protect a driver from endangering himself but to protect others on the road from reckless drivers. He has grown frustrated with the number of complaints he has fielded from people, even close friends, who do not understand the benevolent aspect of the health orders. 

“People have a social responsibility to protect their fellow citizens,” Corrigan said.

An employee helps a customer at Ace Hardware in Steamboat Springs on Friday. Routt County’s latest public health order requires all employees and customers to wear a face mask at businesses as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
Derek Maiolo

As Dr. Brian Harrington, Routt County’s public health medical officer, explained, the face masks are not to prevent someone from getting COVID-19 — they are to prevent people who may have the virus from spreading it. While more research needs to be done, early studies show about half of the people with the virus do not show symptoms, he said. By going to stores and riding buses, they run the risk of infecting others, possibly leading to innumerable new cases and deaths. 

“For me, wearing a mask is less of a burden than other things we have had to institute,” Harrington said, alluding to the shuttering of businesses and stay-at-home orders. 

A catch-22

When it comes to enforcement, Christensen emphasized that the top priority is to gain voluntary compliance. The Police Department has fielded more than 120 calls regarding public health violations since the first orders went into effect March 24, the vast majority of which resulted in officers educating people on the rules and sending them about their day. The number of calls represents a small portion, about 10%, of the Police Department’s total call volume, Christensen said, and the number has dwindled in recent days. 

The notable exception came Monday, when officers arrested three men from the Front Range who were visiting a friend at his home in Steamboat. The person in charge of the home, a woman with three children and a vulnerable family member living there, called police out of concern for their health and safety.

The three men were in clear violation of the state’s stay-at-home order, Christensen said, which restricts people from traveling except for necessary reasons. The friends were here to fish and sightsee, he explained. 

Officers tried to get the men to comply and leave the home, but they refused. Eventually, they were booked into jail on suspicion of violating a health order and obstructing a peace officer, all misdemeanors, according to arrest records. They were released from jail the next day.

The incident has elicited a new wave of varied reactions, with some who see the arrests as police taking the crisis seriously and others who see it as an overreach of power. 

Amid the fear and anger over the pandemic, a general catch-22 has emerged in which law enforcement agencies face criticism for either doing too much or not doing enough.

Earlier in the month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and a Denver-based civil rights firm sued the Weld County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of seven inmates for not taking enough precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the jail. Several deputies and inmates had tested positive for the virus, according to a report from Colorado Public Radio, and the lawsuit accused the Sheriff’s Office of putting more inmates at risk by not releasing them from jail so they could properly self-isolate. 

On March 20, Chief Judge Michael O’Hara of the 14th Judicial District issued new procedures for dealing with current and future offenders. Officers already had reduced enforcement for certain offenses, such as speeding.

The procedures state that people arrested for lower level crimes, such as driving under the influence or shoplifting, and those who have preexisting medical conditions or are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, should receive personal recognizance bonds rather than be booked into the jail. Any current inmate who meets these conditions should be released from jail and given an order to return on bond after June 15.

The Routt County Jail has since released inmates awaiting trial for lower-level crimes and taken steps to improve sanitation within the jail. As of Friday, the number of inmates had been reduced from 33 to 10, according to jail officials. 

But these measures come with their own set of concerns. The District Attorney’s Office for the 14th Judicial District is opposing the release of an inmate in Moffat County who is awaiting trial for allegedly sexually assault of a child, according to District Attorney Matt Karzen. The inmate also has a prior conviction for a predatory sex crime. 

Finding clarity in chaos

These complex issues reveal the struggle governments face in dealing with a crisis they still do not completely understand — one that has upended almost every aspect of life. It can be disconcerting to see leaders, including the country’s president, fumble over how to respond, but such is the reality of facing unprecedented challenges.

“These are really strange and difficult times, and there is no playbook,” Christensen said during Thursday’s town hall.

Local, state and national officials have tried their best to answer the public’s questions through town halls, news conferences and call lines. Karzen, the local DA, came out with a letter to the editor in which he tried to assuage people’s fears over the public health orders’ punitive measures. 

“Like most criminal statutes, the maximum penalties provided are rarely imposed or even sought,” he said in the letter. 

But for certain questions, such as when the world may return to some semblance of normalcy, there are simply no clear answers yet. That uncertainty may explain why people have reacted so strongly to the health orders, either in support or dissent. 

“We are stressed. People are going to react in ways they may not normally,” Christensen said. “This is a tough time for everyone.”

But as Harrington added, what the orders seek to do most is protect people — friends, neighbors and family members — from a disease that has claimed more than 150,000 lives globally. Last week, Routt County reported its first fatality related to COVID-19, an elderly woman living at Casey’s Pond.

“I’m already disappointed we had a death in this community. I don’t want to see any more,” Harrington said.

The more that people comply with health guidelines and orders, the quicker the world can resolve the pandemic, he added.    

“This is not about issuing orders to arbitrarily change our lives,” Harrington said. “They are meant to keep people healthy and get back to an economic situation that is as good as it can be as quickly as possible.” https://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/policing-in-a-pandemic-citations-arrests-raise-concern-over-covid-19-public-health-orders/

COVID-19 increases addiction concerns

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For those who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, the effect of a long-term isolation can be devastating.

Living life in quarantine has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it’s certainly not an easy adjustment for many to make. Working from home, children out of school, jobs being lost — they all can take a heavy toll.

But for those who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, the effect of a long-term isolation can be devastating.

It’s a concern that’s starting to gain traction, and for Hope Council Executive Director Guida Brown, it’s a battle that rages daily as the staff there tries to help the patients who may struggle even more to stay on track.

Two main issues are at the forefront of what those who help addicts have to deal with, Brown said.

“Because people can’t see each other in person, people who are new in recovery are really struggling and potentially not maintaining any sobriety,” she said. “There are online programs, 12-step meetings going on that are online, but people have to adapt to that, and not everyone can.

“Especially people who are newly in recovery are going to have a much harder time adapting to that in the first place. It’s just that anxiety, the change, everything is just skyrocketing substance use.”

Brown said the Hope Council on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse, 5942 6th Ave., Kenosha, continues to offer services to patients who need the help, but the quarantine has clearly changed the availability. https://www.kenoshanews.com/news/local/covid-19-increases-addiction-concerns/article_c629b23b-afde-5a5d-ac83-67e1c2f31396.html

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OVI arrests still common despite less motorists on roadways

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158751955589412124/?lp=true&nic=1&nic=1a

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – Ohio State Highway Patrol has seen a dramatic drop in the number of motorists on the roadways following the stay at home order issued by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Despite the decrease, drunk and drugged drivers continue to be pulled over. However, troopers are doing so with less personal contact.

We’ve been telling the troopers whenever they make a traffic stop, they can get that information without handling the drivers license, registration, things of that nature. They can take that information down, write it down, go back to their car, write that information down. We also carry nitrile gloves in our patrol cars. They also have access to N-95 masks if needed.

LT. MAURICE WADDEL, POST COMMANDER – OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL

Although there is less traffic, troopers are making a point of having a high profile on the highways. https://www.wtrf.com/traffic/ovi-arrests-still-common-despite-less-motorists-on-roadways/

DWI suspect knocks down two poles before SUV bursts into flames: police

A Manchester man who police say was operating a Ford Explorer while intoxicated early Monday took down two utility poles on Route 37 before his vehicle burst into flames.

Kristofer I. Coltenback, 43, who was not reported injured, was charged with driving while intoxicated, violating the governor’s executive order against non-essential travel, reckless driving, driving on the revoked list and failing to maintain lanes.Kristofer Coltenback

Police said the collision occurred shortly before 3:15 a.m. while Coltenback was heading west on Route 37.

As Coltenback approached the highway’s intersection with Peter Avenue, he swerved to the left and struck a curb for the grass median that separates eastbound from westbound lanes, police said. He rode on the median, striking a pole holding a traffic signal and knocking it down, police said.

Coltenback continued west and struck another curb and another pole and traffic signal, knocking that down, police said. Coltenback crossed into the eastbound lanes, struck another curb and drove onto a grassy area, coming to rest on an exit ramp for Bachelor Avenue, police said.