Ex-Kansas Senate leader pleads no contest to DUI

Attorney Tom Lemon, left, leads his client, former Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, right, through a crowd of reporters after a court hearing in which Suellentrop pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Topeka, Kan. The charges stem from an incident in March in which prosecutors say Suellentrop was speeding the wrong way down interstate highways in Topeka. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
FILE - In this March 17, 2021 file photo, then, Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, listens during a meeting of fellow GOP senators at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Suellentrop appeared in a Topeka court Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 to formally accept a deal with prosecutors that dropped a felony charge of trying to elude law enforcement while speeding the wrong way on highways in Topeka. (AP Photo/Andy Tsubasa Field, File)

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Attorney Tom Lemon, left, leads his client, former Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, right, through a crowd of reporters after a court hearing in which Suellentrop pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Topeka, Kan. The charges stem from an incident in March in which prosecutors say Suellentrop was speeding the wrong way down interstate highways in Topeka. (AP Photo/John Hanna)More

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita Republican who once was one of the Kansas Legislature’s most powerful lawmakers pleaded no contest Monday to driving under the influence and reckless driving and will serve two days in jail.

Former Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop appeared in a Topeka court Monday to formally accept a deal with prosecutors over his speeding the wrong way on two interstate highways in March. Under the agreement, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of attempting to elude law enforcement as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving the wrong way on a divided highway.

Shawnee County District Judge Jason Geier found Suellentrop guilty and sentenced him to 6 months in jail for the DUI and 90 days for reckless driving. The bulk of the jail sentences were suspended, but Suellentrop will serve 48 hours in jail and be on probation for a year. Geier also ordered him to pay $775 in fines and $218 in court costs.

Fellow Republican senators removed Suellentrop as their majority leader in April, only five months after naming him to the job, which comes with the power to set the Senate’s daily debate calendar. It was the first time in at least several decades that a legislative leader had been removed mid-term.

Suellentrop, however, continues to retain the Senate seat that he first won in 2016. He is a 69-year-old businessman who also served eight years in the House.

Suellentrop answered a series of questions from Geier to show that he understood his agreement with prosecutors and wasn’t being coerced into it, and then apologized publicly. His jail term is scheduled for Nov. 18-20.

“There are many lessons to be learned in circumstances such as these,” Suellentrop said. “I can assure you I’ve learned my share.”

Suellentrop also had his driver’s license suspended, and when it is reinstated, he’ll have to install an ignition interlock device on his car that will prevent it from starting until he passes a breath test for alcohol.

“You will not see me in this court or any other court of law for any other similar infraction,” he told Geier.

Deputy District Attorney Charles Kitt said Suellentrop applied for but was denied a diversion agreement. Such agreements are used when people are charged with minor crimes to allow them to avoid convictions if they avoid further legal trouble.

Geier emphasized several times Monday that Suellentrop was receiving a punishment in line with the typical first-time DUI offender. The Kansas Highway Patrol had said Suellentrop’s blood-alcohol level was 0.17, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Suellentrop’s case received national attention because he was a legislative leader and reportedly had been driving up to 90 miles per hour. A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper also said in an affidavit that Suellentrop at one point called him “donut boy.”

Law enforcement radio recordings and 911 calls released by the local sheriff’s department in response to an open records request showed multiple people reported Suellentrop’s white SUV traveling the wrong way on I-470 near a south Topeka exit and then on I-70 through northern Topeka.

Suellentrop’s attorney, Tom Lemon, said in court that Suellentrop hadn’t known police were behind him and that once he understood what was going on, “He was not disagreeable,” suggesting, “maybe there were some misunderstandings.”

“This is a case that was serious, and thank God no one was hurt here,” Lemon said during Suellentrop’s hearing Monday. https://news.yahoo.com/ex-kansas-senate-leader-pleads-162105363.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

Man accused of DUI, racism toward officer after crash

Chris Michael Swanson

A 40-year-old man made his initial appearance in Cascade County District Court Monday after a weekend crash near Stockett led to a felony driving under the influence charge.

According to court documents, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol responded at 8:40 p.m. Saturday to a crash scene.

Law enforcement ascertained that Chris Michael Swanson had left the American Bar in Stockett at a high rate of speed traveling northeast on a downhill gravel road.

Swanson’s vehicle reportedly fishtailed, rotated counterclockwise and went off the left side of the road.

The vehicle impacted a boulder with enough force to move it 10 feet before coming to rest on its passenger side, per the MHP report.

The report noted that the crash occurred during daylight hours on a clear, dry road with clear visibility.

After Swanson crawled free, concerned citizens helped him push the vehicle back onto its tires.

Swanson reportedly got back behind the wheel and attempted to drive away, only to hit another large boulder and become stuck. The same bystanders were able to help Swanson out of the vehicle.

An MHP trooper contacted Swanson, who was waiting in the back seat of a CCSO patrol car.

The trooper reported a strong odor of alcohol coming from Swanson, who had watery, bloodshot eyes and slow, slurred speech.

Court documents stated Swanson made “numerous racist and profane remarks” toward the trooper and used profane language toward deputies, hospital staff and hospital security.

Swanson allegedly denied driving and crashing his vehicle and accused bar patrons of driving his vehicle because they had the keys.Get the Daily Briefing newsletter in your inbox.

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The trooper was able to complete one field sobriety test on Swanson before he refused to participate. He also refused a breath test and blood draw.

Swanson’s blood was drawn after law enforcement obtained a warrant by telephone.

According to court documents, Swanson has four prior convictions for DUI and is a violent offender with a lengthy criminal history that includes multiple obstruction charges, privacy in communications, assault, assault with a weapon, stalking and multiple partner/family member assaults – including a felony.

His bail has also had multiple bail and suspended sentence revocations.

The MHP trooper cited and released Swanson, and the state requested he remain free on his own recognizance with the condition that he submit to alcohol monitoring. https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/08/10/man-charged-felony-dui-after-stockett-crash/3338626001/

York County DUI prosecutor now faces DUI charges, fired from job, officials say

York County DUI prosecutor now faces DUI charges, fired from job, officials say

A York County DUI prosecutor has lost his job after being charged with drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident, police and court officials said.

Jamie Terrell Nichols, 28, is charged with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash on Mount Gallant Road Saturday night, according to Master Trooper Gary Miller of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

A crash happened outside Rock Hill city limits and was investigated by the highway patrol. Then a second crash occurred inside the city limits, on Mount Gallant Road at Museum Road, and was investigated by Rock Hill police.

Nichols left the scene of the first two-car collision, Miller said.

Nichols then was taken into custody a short while later at the scene of a second collision. Rock Hill police issued a failure to stop for a red light citation at the second crash scene, said Lt. Michael Chavis of Rock Hill Police Department. No injuries were reported in either crash.

State troopers arrived and arrested Nichols. He had a blood alcohol level of .16, Miller said. The .16 blood alcohol level is double the legal limit for driving in South Carolina, state law shows.

Nichols was has been terminated from employment as a prosecutor, said Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor. Brackett confirmed that Nichols had worked as a DUI prosecutor.

“We hold ourselves to a higher standard, and Mr. Nichols was terminated from our office as soon as we determined he had been charged,” Brackett said.

Harry Dest, a Rock Hill lawyer at the Dest Law Firm and former 16th Circuit Public Defender, said he is representing Nichols.

“I will do a thorough investigation of these allegations and vigorously defend Mr. Nichols on these charges,” Dest said.

Dest said Nichols is a a well-liked, and well-respected member of the legal community who at a young age has already been generous with community service.

Nichols was released from the York County jail on $4,000 bond Sunday around 11 a.m., said Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office. https://news.yahoo.com/york-county-dui-prosecutor-now-183503188.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

Washington Co. officials make 3 weekend OWI arrests, including driver who was ‘completely naked’

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — Washington County officials say they responded to three OWI incidents over the weekend of April 25-26.

According to a police report, a Washington County deputy stopped a car driving in and out of a ditch and traveling down the middle of an interstate in the Town of Addison around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. 

The female driver was completely naked with a male passenger slouched down in the passenger seat, holding a marijuana pipe.

The driver told the responding deputy that she had left her house to bring the passenger to his home in Juneau and “had not thought to put clothes on.” She said she was doing it for “the thrill of it.”

The 29-year-old woman was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and the passenger was cited for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

While this incident was being investigated, a citizen called 911 to report a vehicle that had struck several construction barrels. 

The vehicle was stopped by a deputy on I-41 and a 28-year-old Fond du Lac man was arrested for 3rd offense operating while intoxicated as well as possession of fentanyl, possession of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Washington County deputies also arrested a 29-year-old Neosho man Sunday afternoon, for operating while intoxicated 2nd offense after he crashed his vehicle with his 7-year-old daughter in the car. The incident occurred on County Highway 0 near State Highway 83 in the Town of Erin. The man was also arrested for possession of fentanyl and drug paraphernalia. Authorities say there were no major injuries as a result of the crash. 

“We want the community to know that our officers are out actively pursuing those that choose to endanger the lives of others by driving impaired,” Sheriff Martin Schulteis said. “These examples illustrate people showing an utter disregard for human life. We are thankful that no one was injured however the consequences could have been tragic. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with observant citizens will continue to aggressively pursue justice on the roadways.” https://cbs58.com/news/washington-co-officials-make-3-weekend-owi-arrests-including-driver-who-was-completely-naked

Paramedic charged with driving ambulance while intoxicated

The paramedic told police he had taken over-the-counter cold medicine and some prescribed drugs before hitting another rig outside a senior care facility

RIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. — An Indiana paramedic faces multiple charges, including felony official misconduct, after allegedly driving an ambulance while intoxicated.

Police received a call in October reporting that Ripley County EMS Paramedic Paul Robert Heon, 49, seemed to be having trouble operating the rig outside of an assisted living facility, missing the facility’s driveway, driving on a grassy area and hitting another parked ambulance while apparently on a medical run, according to The Versailles Republican.

Heon was transported to the hospital for evaluation, with EMS providers checking his blood sugar and for signs of stroke in transit.

In the emergency room, an Indiana State Patrol trooper performed field tests and questioned Heon, who told the trooper he had not had anything to drink but had been taking over-the-counter medication for a cold as well as prescribed medications, including Ambien.

Heon later told law enforcement officials he remembered going out on a call but did not remember going to the senior facility, and that he didn’t realize until after he exited the ambulance and people were staring at him that he was feeling foggy and “felt like he was going sideways,” The Versailles Republican reported. Heon told police he had been dealing with a cold for about two weeks.

After a toxicology report, Heon was charged with official misconduct, which is a level 6 felony, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, and operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance or its metabolite in the body.

The exact toxicology results were not publicly reported. https://www.ems1.com/ambulance-safety/articles/ind-paramedic-charged-with-driving-ambulance-while-intoxicated-eLnQsKaU16tKAzpy/

Breathalyzer Giant Accused of Fraud Won’t Come Clean About Booze Tests

Photo Illustration by the Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by the Daily Beast/Getty

A major breathalyzer manufacturer is under criminal investigation for possible forgery. Police forces nationwide have been using the same company’s machines to turn alleged drink-drivers into convicted ones—seizing licenses, imposing fines, and, in some cases, imprisoning people. Defendants have been asking judges to look under the hood of the machine that tests them, only for the breathalyzer maker to refuse to play ball.

These aren’t dystopian hypotheticals, but the reality surrounding a major supplier of breath-alcohol testing machines to cops across America.

Police departments in 11 states use the Datamaster DMT, a breathalyzer the size of a printer. Cops ranging from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to Vermont State Police have relied on it to test suspected drink-drivers at precinct houses, where—unlike the tests done on the side of the road—results are a major factor in criminal cases.

At least they did. In January, Michigan State Police announced it had suspended its contract with the maker of the Datamaster DMT, Intoximeters, and even mounted a criminal probe into possible fraud by the company in calibrating 203 devices in the state, the Detroit News reported.

The cops alleged that two members of the company’s maintenance staff, responsible for the state’s Datamaster DMTs, falsified records on multiple occasions. Police were investigating whether the technicians forged public documents saying they had performed routine maintenance when they had not, thus allowing the machines’ accuracy to erode. 

But Intoximeters’ alleged obfuscation is not confined to Michigan.

The Breathalyzer’s Effect on Drinking & Driving

In fact, the company has resisted at least three Minnesota court mandates that police furnish the source code of its breathalyzer software to defendants, court records and interviews show. Instead of cooperating, Intoximeters has submitted documents saying it is open to police doing so—contingent on various conditions—and then opposed requests to actually follow through. 

The code underpinning the Datamaster DMT and other breath testing machines has remained obscure to advocates and defense lawyers for many years, and as a recent New York Times investigation reported, the reliability of breathalyzer devices in general is suspect. But even when courts have compelled cops to reveal the code, the case of Intoximeters shows how they have nimbly evaded disclosure—and risked sabotaging their police clients. 

“Unless the court order is addressed to Intoximeters itself, they’re not violating it, but the court could well order the results of a test inadmissible, which would likely result in the case being dismissed without other evidence of intoxication,” said Georgetown law professor Paul Rothstein, author of three books on legal evidence. 

Intoximeters, like other industry majors, has long insisted its products are both accurate and cutting edge. In a 2013 press release announcing the company’s acquisition of the Datamaster’s original maker, National Patent Analytical Systems (NPAS), Intoximeters CEO Rankine Forrester said, “We have long felt that NPAS has the best infrared technology in the industry.”

But that doesn’t mean they welcome anyone looking too closely at the inner workings of their machinery.

“Source code is a red herring,” Intoximeters’ counsel Wilbur Tomlinson concluded in his rejection of an October 2018 court order in Hennepin County, Minnesota, after inveighing at length against the prospect: “Testing the instrument itself is the recognized method for determining whether the instrument has an issue. Any problem with the source code that could produce an erroneous result should be detectable by testing the instrument. The converse, however, is not true.” 

Even as emerging techniques of modern law enforcement like facial recognition and large-scale data analysis have raised new privacy questions, the breathalyzer has remained ubiquitous in American policing. So have concerns about the precision of their measurements. A Minnesota district court judge found in 2018that the state’s Datamaster DMT machines were falsely rounding up their results. (The company claimed the judge didn’t get how it worked.)

But critics say the legal tactics employed by the companies are just as disturbing as the machines themselves.

“The hallmark of good science is transparency, which is not what Intoximeters is doing,” said Charles Ramsay, an attorney representing defendants in the Minnesota cases. “They safeguard their software more tightly than Microsoft. It’s not because it’s something they need to do to protect their business. They do it to prevent us from discovering the fatal flaws in the software.”

Do you know about a breathalyzer company that’s fighting to keep information hidden? Do you work for a private forensics company? Contact this reporter at blake.montgomery@thedailybeast.com or from a secure device at blake.montgomery@protonmail.com.

The company does not see it that way.

“The consent order does not comply with Intoximeters’ contractual obligation with the State,” Tomlinson wrote in response to an October 2018 Minnesota court order. He asserted that a protective order meant to safeguard Intoximeters’ intellectual property was inadequate, and disputed the qualifications of the defendant’s expert, who wanted to analyze the source code.

When contacted by phone, Tomlinson declined to comment. A spokesperson for Intoximeters itself did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

The company’s fight against transparency is not unique in an industry that has traditionally worked hard to conceal trade secrets. But shoddy design and subpar maintenance by police affecting various breathalyzer brands have had dire consequences for the U.S. legal system. Judges in Massachusetts and New Jersey have invalidated upwards of 30,000 breath tests over the past year alone, according to the Times investigation. 

“It’s basically the defendant’s constitutional right to defend himself and confront the evidence versus the need of commercial companies to protect information that they own,” Rothstein said. “There is a societal interest in protecting trade secrets. On the other hand, the defendant’s right is expressly in the Constitution, so that weighs very heavily.” 

There may not be a clear winner—the defendant’s right to confront the evidence or protecting IP—until such a forensics case makes its way to the Supreme Court, according to Rothstein. 

Until then, part of how companies like Intoximeters get away with this is simple geography: The company is headquartered in Missouri, where a Minnesota judge has no jurisdiction, and Missouri also has not signed an interstate evidence sharing agreement with Minnesota, according to a court order in the ongoing case of a Minnesotan accused of driving while impaired with a suspended license. The man’s driving privileges were revoked for months based on two Datamaster DMT tests.

But even if a technology company like Intoximeters might have legitimate intellectual property concerns, judges have shown signs of cracking down harder on attempts to keep breathalyzers secret in recent years.

Chastising the state commissioner of public safety for not providing the code in a case, Minnesota District Court Judge Andrew Pearson wrote in a December 2019 court order, “The Court points out that this request for discovery of the source code is neither surprising nor unexpected, given Minnesota’s experience with the prior model of breath testing machine or the litigation surrounding it.” The judge also suggested that Intoximeters had failed to cooperate with at least one prior Minnesota court order. 

Courts have repeatedly ordered the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) to supply the source code, according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast. The contract for the Minnesota DPS purchase of Datamaster DMT machines grants the agency the right to share the source code and obligates it to do so at a court’s request, Judge Pearson wrote in December. 

But Minnesota DPS won’t submit the code because, spokeswoman Jill Oliveira argued, the agency does not “own, possess, or control” it, making disclosure impossible. By the department’s logic, Intoximeters, the manufacturer of the machines and the software that runs on them, owns the code. 

Pearson disagreed. “The Court concludes that the Commissioner does have possession and control of the source code for the purposes of this discovery motion,” he said. The case is ongoing.

That question—whether cops have the ability to disclose the source code of the machines they use to make cases—has divided judges. Another judge in Minnesota, JaPaul Harris, ruled in September that the state did not possess the source code after Intoximeters refused to give it up. But Harris had issued a ruling reaching the opposite conclusion in the same case back in March.

Even Intoximeters itself may not own the entirety of the code: The company said in a 2016 disclosure agreement that there are some elements of the code it does not have the intellectual property rights to share. It has left unspecified exactly who does.

Technical arguments about possession of IP aside, judges and experts say inspecting the source code of breathalyzers remains important because it allows defendants to analyze the methodology used to convict them of driving under the influence.

“If a person doesn’t get to test the evidence that’s relied on to convict them, doesn’t get to confront that evidence, doesn’t get to test the accuracy of that evidence, doesn’t get to air these questions in public, it violates their Constitutional rights to due process,” said Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

Judge Pearson seemed to agree. In the December 2019 court order, he wrote, “Given that there is no way to retest this sample on a different machine, source code review of the only analysis that will ever be performed on this now-absent breath sample is that much more crucial and proportional.” 

One Minnesota forensic expert said in July went so far as to say he believed the Datamaster DMT produced “bad evidence.”

Other experts say source code analysis isn’t necessary. The National Safety Council Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs, a safety advocacy nonprofit, issued a position statement in February 2009 asserting that analyzing the source code of a breathalyzer was not “pertinent, required, or useful for examination or evaluation of the analyzer’s accuracy, scientific reliability, forensic validity.” The Safety Council stood by the opinion when contacted by The Daily Beast for this story, and Intoximeters cited the paper in at least one rejection of a court order for disclosure.

Privacy advocates aren’t having it.

“The evidence is presented as being from an infallible, truth-telling computer,” Eidelman said. “But algorithms are human constructs that are subject to human bias and mistakes, which get in the way of their design and use.”

West Point Let Football Star Break Rules Before Drunk Driving Death, Investigation Found

Drink-driving cases involving fights over source code disclosure have persisted for more than a decade. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that another company, CMI, must make the source code for one of its testing devices available to a defendant. CMI initially declined, claiming the code was a trade secret, but later made it available. Meanwhile, in 2013, a North Carolina judge ruled that Intoximeters could withhold the source code from a defendant.

In 2007, a New Jersey court ruled that a defendant’s experts could analyze a breathalyzer made by Dräger, an Intoximeters competitor. The analysts described it as riddled with “thousands of programming errors,” but the court deemed the machine “generally scientifically reliable,” even if it also had “shortcomings,” according to the Times. The company claimed it quickly fixed the problems. 

“There is a problem with junk science in forensics. We’ve seen numerous instances of technologies used in court getting debunked,” Eidelman said. “Public access to information about that technology and the underlying principles has been central in making those challenges successful.”

One source code inspection of a breathalyzer in Washington state made by Dräger revealed alleged flaws so glaring that the analysts commissioned by defense lawyers summed up their findings in a report titled “Defective Design = Reasonable Doubt.” The researchers said the company quashed the report with legal threats, to which Dräger replied that it was only protecting its intellectual property.

But privacy stalwarts say these quiet legal fights over breathalyzer code point to larger trends in the legal system. Those trends do not favor defendants.

“This isn’t happening only with breathalyzers,” Eidelman said. “Only more problems will be coming out as more forensic analysis becomes computerized.” https://news.yahoo.com/breathalyzer-giant-accused-fraud-won-094235596.html

Kentucky police arrest GM engineers street racing C8 Chevy Corvettes

Doing 120 mph in a 45 after leaving a bar is not a good idea

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible in orange

It is one of the purposes of youth to do things that can only be justified with the phrase, “We were young, what can I say?” Two GM engineers have allegedly given themselves an excellent opening to use that plea decades hence, after a Kentucky state trooper reportedly caught them street racing pre-production 2020 Chevrolet Corvettes down a city street in Bowling Green, Kentucky. WNKY reports that the incident occurred last Wednesday, January 8, the charges rung up including racing a motor vehicle on a public highway, reckless driving, and speeding 26 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. That last charge means a mandatory court hearing and a potential loss of license. The details laid out on the citation lead us to believe the two engineers could have more to worry about than a fine or needing to bum rides for a few months.

GM employee Alexander Thim, 27, does computer-aided engineering on induction and exhaust systems according to his LinkedIn page, while the same site lists Mark Derkatz, 30, as an electrical engineer. Both men are are temporarily in Bowling Green, home of the Corvette assembly plant, preparing America’s sports car for its retail launch. Going by the description on the ticket, sometime after after leaving the Cue Time Cocktails and Billiards bar in Bowling Green in a trio of Corvettes — Thim in a red one, Derkatz in a white one, an unnamed third GM engineer in a blue one — two of the three decided to hit a back road called Lovers Lane to enjoy the fruits of their labors. On a street with a 45-mph speed limit, Thim allegedly hopped in the left lane and got clocked by radar doing 120 mph, Derkatz took the right lane and got clocked at 100 mph. The third engineer, heeding his good sense or a guardian angel, reportedly didn’t participate in the race and was not cited.

It appears that police either knew something was up, or were merely intrigued by the sight of three of the country’s most important and forbidden-fruit vehicles in patriotic color scheme tooling around on a school night. The report details troopers noticing the three Corvettes at 11:20 pm, then following them for at least a mile as the engineers made their way from the main road to Lovers Lane. Measured from the turn onto Lovers Lane, the police who made the stop were 1.5 miles down the road.

The worst bit is this line from the citation: “The odor of an alcoholic beverage was present on the breath of the operator. PBT detected presence of alcohol.” The trooper didn’t include names, but none of the three engineers were reportedly charged with driving under the influence.

Thim and Derkat were booked and released on $1,000 bail, and will need to deal with a pretrial conference on February 18. The cars were confiscated, towing services hauling them to an impound lot where a representative retrieved them the following day. When Automobile asked GM for comment, the automaker responded, “We are aware of an incident involving our test vehicles and are currently investigating. Safety remains our overriding priority at General Motors. We have no further comment at this time.”

As an aside, seems one of the troopers did have time to comment. A Corvette Forum thread has popped up to run a full CSI routine on the incident, with member DebRedZR1 tracking down a snapchat photo of Thim’s stop. The caption: “GM ain’t gonna be happy with these engineers tomorrow.” Which was probably true.

Fugitive of the Week wanted on driving while impaired by drugs charges

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — This week’s Fugitive of the Week is wanted on two felony county court bench warrants for driving while impaied by drugs.

Carrie Phalen, also known as Carrie Riccardi and Carrie Mayhoefer, was arrested twice in 2017 on charges of driving while impaired by drugs.

Her first arrest in July 2017 was by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s office after a volunteer fireman observed her swerving all over the road. When Phalen pulled into a gas station, the volunteer fireman pinned her vehicle in until authorities arrived.

Phalen’s second arrest came in October 2017 by the New York State Police on the same charges.

Phalen was placed on probation, which was violated in January of 2018.

Phalen is described at 5’3” and 103 pounds with blond hair and green eyes.

If you know of her whereabouts, give the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Tip Line a call at (315) 435-3032. https://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/fugitive-of-the-week-wanted-on-driving-while-impaired-by-drugs-charges/