While alcohol remains problem, less than half of fatal crashes involve substance, data shows
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Police across the Las Vegas valley are pulling over drivers who aren’t just drunk, but also high. Oftentimes, those substances are perfectly legal.
“At the end of the day, people are driving impaired, and they’re right next to you,” Andrew Bennett, spokesman for the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, said.
On average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times before his or her first arrest, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and those are the drivers who get caught.
“Anything that changes your ability to drive is going to be an impairment substance,” Bennett said, adding more and more often, police are finding those impairment substances are not what you think.
Bennett described a so-called deadly cocktail. Police are finding a mix of alcohol and legal and illegal drugs in drivers’ systems.
The I-Team looked at a year’s worth of DUI data from Metro Police. Out of nearly 2,300 arrests for drugged driving, 70% of cases involved marijuana, 28% of cases involve prescription drugs and 25% of cases involve methamphetamine. Most drugged drivers did not just have one drug in their systems, so the percentages do not add up to 100.https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/6238962/embed?auto=1A Flourish chart
While recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada, driving under its influence is not.
In one case last year, investigators said an intoxicated driver had meth and six different prescription drugs in their blood that affected their driving.
Four cases since 2018 have involved drivers with six different drugs in their system. THC was detected in each of those drivers, and powerful opioids were found in three of the four cases: fentanyl, morphine and buprenorphine.
In Henderson, police tell the I-Team out of 645 DUI arrested in 2020, about a quarter involved only alcohol. Police said they are now finding people driving around the valley intoxicated with tranquilizers in their system.
“If not for the broad and extensive testing that allows us to detect these new and novel drugs, a lot of these cases would go unreported, and the charges against the suspects could be plead down,” Henderson Police officials said in a statement to the I-Team. “Our goal has always been to make Henderson and the surrounding communities that we serve a safe place for all residents. Hopefully, the impaired driving statistics that we are able to provide will show yourself and the community that commitment that we try to uphold every day.”
Henderson PD also provided a breakdown of the most common substances found in intoxicated drivers’ systems. They include cannabis, meth, cocaine and anti-anxiety medications, which can affect one’s driving,
Police in Henderson also tell the I-Team they have made arrests with drivers who have Kratom and other opioids that can make a person severely drowsy.
“Impaired driving is a public health crisis,” Bennett said.
That crisis is leading to deaths on our roads. Data about fatal crashes on state roads from NHP from the first half of 2020 showed more than half of those crashes – about two-thirds — did not involve any alcohol at all.
In December 2020, a trucker driver, who police said had nine times the prosecutable amount of meth in his system, crashed into a group of cyclists on U.S. 95 near Searchlight, killing five.
The driver, who told investigators he had ingested meth the night before his trip from Las Vegas to Arizona, took a plea deal and will be sentenced next month.
With so many cars on the road and the number of drugged drivers increasing, police hope other drivers will alert them if they think something is wrong. If you see someone you think is driving erratically, call 911.
“We just can’t hope that there’s a law enforcement officer at the right place and the right time to stop that car,” Bennett said. “We need to deal with it as a problem a little bit larger than just traffic.”
A drugged driver who caused a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 in Temecula that killed a Murrieta woman pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.
Javier Caldera, 27, of Auburn, Washington, also pleaded guilty to felony charges of driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving and hit-and-run with sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegations, as part of a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in which no charges were dropped.
The defendant is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
The June 4, 2019, collision killed 44-year-old Janet Genao.
The force of the impact also sent a Chevrolet S-10 pickup off the road and into the side of the Temecula City Hall parking structure, just west of the freeway, mangling the pickup and rendering it nearly unrecognizable, according to the California Highway Patrol.
That driver suffered major injuries from which he has since recovered. Two other motorists suffered minor injuries, as did Caldera, and another driver whose vehicle was hit escaped injury.
All of the injured parties were treated at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.
Prosecutors said the defendant has prior convictions in Washington state, including driving under the influence and felony attempt to elude law enforcement.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – A city Department of Education teacher was arrested just after midnight not far from the intersection of Hylan Boulevard and Greeley Avenue where she failed to stop at a stop sign, according to law enforcement sources with knowledge of the arrest.
Tangela Harrell, 53, was arrested at 12:42 a.m. in the confines of the 122nd Precinct and charged with DWI, operating a motor vehicle .08 of 1%, inadequate mirrors, failed to use designated lane, failure to stop at a stop sign and DWAI Alcohol.https://f4e92aa4ae2dfe93ee3eed3d80657464.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Harrell was traveling northeast on Lincoln Avenue where she was observed by NYPD officers swerving in and out of her designated lane and operating her vehicle with damage to the passenger side mirror.
She then blew the stop sign and Hylan Boulevard and Greeley Avenue before being pulled over by officers.
The officers said Harrell had a strong odor of alcohol on her breath, bloodshot watery eyes, was unsteady on her feet and slurring her words.
She was arrested without incident, according to the source.
A recent study that draws heavily on Deschutes County found an “overwhelming consensus” among law enforcement officers that Oregon’s marijuana laws are poorly written and confusing.
As a result, this perception has even led some local officers to stop enforcing marijuana laws altogether, according to the February report by Portland State University researchers Kris Henning and Greg Stewart.
“The laws are too convoluted to comprehend,” one officer wrote in a survey response. “If we as law enforcement can’t easily decipher the laws, how can we expect the citizens to be able to understand them?”
Wrote another: “I have just started treating weed as if it is legal regardless of the amount.”
For their report, titled “Dazed and Confused: Police Experiences Enforcing Oregon’s New Marijuana Laws,” Henning and Stewart surveyed 301 police officers in the second half of 2020. Participants included officers and deputies from four agencies: Bend Police Department, Redmond Police Department, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.
Among the results:
• More than 90% of participants felt that the illegal shipment of marijuana out of state had increased in the past three years.
• More than 90% believe instances of driving under the influence of marijuana had increased for adults and juveniles.
• More than 60% of respondents felt Oregon’s marijuana laws make it difficult to determine if someone has broken the law.
In 2014, Oregon voters approved Measure 91, legalizing recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older. What followed were a number of major changes to Oregon law in a short period of time. This included the Oregon Liquor Control Commission tightening its licensing guidelines in 2018. The next year, the Legislature afforded the agency more authority to restrict marijuana production licenses.
Today, there are six areas where marijuana offenses are still charged, though the offending amounts differ from those prior to 2014: driving while impaired, the illegal use or possession of marijuana and the illegal growing, processing or distribution of marijuana.
In response to open-ended questions in the PSU study, 3 of 4 officers mentioned confusion in understanding the laws. Many officers expressed a feeling they’d been intentionally written to be vague so officers would eventually give up on enforcement.
Officers surveyed spoke to confusion about enforcement of medical vs. recreational cannabis laws. They also discussed a difficulty determining if a person possessed an illegal amount of a drug, or in determining if it was purchased from a licensed retailer. Many officers noted a breakdown in cooperation with state agencies that regulate cannabis, notably the OLCC, the Oregon Health Administration and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
This lack of clear understanding often manifests in roadside contacts between officers and members of the public, according to the study. Officers said it can be difficult determining the authenticity of documentation showing a person is in lawful possession of large amounts of marijuana. They also reported a near-impossibility in determining if a driver in Oregon with large amounts of marijuana is heading out of state.
“Offenders often claim the product is hemp rather than marijuana which also makes it difficult to determine what the product is,” one officer wrote.
Many officers also reported declining to make marijuana arrests because they feel district attorneys will not prosecute the cases.
“It seems pointless to care about it when, in (redacted) county, even if someone has several hundred pounds, there will be no prosecution,” wrote a respondent. “I would just prefer that it is legalized and then it is not an issue.”
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said he prosecutes all valid arrests that reach his office. He noted some of the survey respondents work outside Deschutes County.
“It makes me wonder if the officers are correct. I mean, I’m pretty liberal on drug charges. And if I’m bringing charges, I don’t imagine there’s a county out there that’s not,” Hummel said. “Look, it’s anecdotal — it wasn’t fact-checked. But it’s important in that it’s telling us what the officers think. That’s important to know.”
Combating illegal marijuana grow operations has been a priority of Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, who took office in 2015.
In 2018, the county received a state grant to go after illegal grow operations. Today, the sheriff’s office has two detectives dedicated to marijuana enforcement working out of the office of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement task force. Bend Police Department has one detective working a similar assignment.
Funding for the PSU study came primarily from a grant awarded to Deschutes County by the Criminal Justice Commission.
In 2019, PSU criminologists Henning and Stewart were contracted to study the effectiveness of the grant, finding that between September 2018 and May 2019, the task force seized more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana and $143,000 in cash and made 15 arrests.
The following is a list of incidents reported by the Teller County Sheriff’s Department from April 29-May 20. Published with permission from the Teller County Sheriff.
Robert Donald Kerr, DOB Sept. 18, 1979 of Divide, was arrested for domestic violence, harassment and criminal mischief. This was a no bond arrest.
David Lee Fairley, DOB April 26, 1984 of Cripple Creek, was summoned and released on a promise to appear for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or both and excessive blood alcohol content.
David Thomas Ford, DOB Oct. 18, 1964 of Peyton, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Bond was $1,000.
Valerie Lynne Poulos, DOB Nov. 27, 1959 of Colorado Springs, was arrested for distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to present insurance upon request, defective tail lamp and speeding. Bond was $10,000.
Shelley Jean Chancy, DOB Jan. 12, 1965 of Colorado Springs, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Bond was $1,000.
Richard Lussier, DOB June 24, 1964 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with original charges of careless driving and failure to display proof of insurance. Bond was $400.
Elizabeth Denise Devezin, DOB Dec. 31, 1972 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on a warrant for theft. Bond was $1,000.
David Frank Couleas, DOB Aug. 16, 1982 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on three warrants for failure to comply with terms and conditions of probation with original charges of possession of a controlled substance, introduction of contraband and gaming — fraud take money not won. These were no bond warrants.
Luis Eduardo Sanchez-Chavez, DOB Dec. 18, 1993 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on two warrants for failure to appear with an original charges of speeding 25 mph or more over the limit, driving under restraint, failure to display proof of insurance and weaving. Bond for both warrants was $3,300.
Toby Dewayne Bryant, DOB July 23, 1975 of Pueblo, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with an original charge of driving under the influence. Bond was $1,000.
Timothy Leslie Shaw, DOB May 8, 1987 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on two warrants for failure to appear with original charges of attempted escape, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, aggravated motor vehicle theft, assault, harassment, use/consume or possess marijuana in vehicle and fictitious plates. Warrants were no bond warrants.
Armand Michael Lovato, DOB Sept. 18, 1995 of Woodland Park, was arrested for violation of a protection order. Bond was $1,000.
Aldo Jaziel Abastta, DOB Nov. 10, 1993 of Woodland Park, was arrested on a warrant for failure to comply with monitored sobriety order with original charges of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or both, careless driving and failure to display proof of insurance. Bond was $2,000.
Nicole Remitha Hawkins, DOB Nov. 20, 1976 of Yoder, was arrested on two arrest warrants for assault of a peace officer, violation of bail bond conditions and fraud. Bond for one warrant was $10,000, second warrant was no bond.
Thomas Gale Graham, DOB Aug. 1, 1965 of Victor, was arrested for driving under restraint per se, uninsured motor vehicle, license plates not visible and fictitious registration. Bond was $3,000.
Tori Deonne Rabun, DOB Jan. 23, 1963 of Florissant, was summoned and released on a promise to appear for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or both, driving with excessive blood alcohol content, weaving and defective head lights.
Ethan Leroy Williams, DOB Sept. 11, 1990 of Divide, was summoned and released on a promise to appear for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or both and weaving.
Dustin Joe Lees, DOB Nov. 17, 1981 of Limon, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with original charges of driving under restraint, on insurance and careless driving. Bond was $500.
Preston J Wells, DOB March 17, 1994 of Golden, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with an original charge of careless driving resulting in death. Bond was $1,000.
Bobby Gene Turner, DOB July 5, 1975 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on two warrants for failure to appear with original charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools, driving under restraint, driving without a driver’s license and license plates no lighted. Bond was $5,050.
Justin Lee Comer, DOB May 7, 1982 of Cripple Creek, was arrested on a warrant for two counts of assault, harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. Bond was $10,000.
Nicholas Scott Harrison, DOB April 25, 2000 of Trophy Club, Texas, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or both and failure to signal. Bond was $1,000.
Cypress Aiden Kalman Valdez, DOB Jan. 9, 2001 of Woodland Park, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with an original charge of speeding 25-39 mph over the limit. Bond was $150.
Jeffrey John Amend, DOB Nov. 6, 1967 of Divide, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with an original charge of speeding 25-39 mph over the limit. Bond was $150.
Roberto Travis Prater, DOB Aug. 30, 1988 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on a warrant for failure to comply with conditions of probation with an original charge of violation of a protection order. Bond was $1,000.
Sean Christopher Mackins, DOB July 2, 1997 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with original charges of driving under restraint — alcohol related second offense and speeding 10-19 mph over the limit. Bond was $3,000.
Robert A Madrid, DOB June 25, 1961 of Woodland Park, was arrested on a warrant for assault, at-risk-negligent bodily injury and harassment. Bond was $1,000.
Dionlei Dylein N Alfien, DOB Nov. 11, 1993 of Pueblo, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with original charges of possession of a controlled substance, attempt to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation and driving under restraint. Bond was $5,000.
Brandon Joseph Vigil, date July 2, 1987 of Colorado Springs, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear with an original charge of violation of a protection order. Bond was $1,000.
90 Day Fiancé weight loss queen Angela Deem found herself in trouble back in September 2018 when she was arrested for driving under the influence.
Season six star of 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? Angela Deem is quite the troublemaker on the show, but the Georgia resident found herself in some real trouble during a night out in 2018. In that year, Angela debuted on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days season two with Nigerian husband Michael Ilesanmi, making her arrest and subsequent mug-shot an even bigger shock for TLC viewers. More importantly, Angela called herself single in the booking report despite being engaged to Michael on 90 Day Fiancé, which also raised eyebrows among the show’s fans.
While Angela is now the topic of many discussions thanks to her 100-pound weight loss, back then, the meemaw was showing her over-the-top antics both on-screen and off-screen. 90 Day Fiancé fans discovered Angela had a reality TV past after appearing on Trisha and Maury. On September 2, 2018, news broke of Angela allegedly drinking and driving. Then 52, Angela was reported to have split from Michael as news articles hinted at the nursing assistant having found a new man. The Facebook post from Angela’s page showed her in a car with friends saying she was “Kerrigan bound” and it also featured the mystery man.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW
As per People, 90 Day Fiancé star Angela was arrested in Montgomery County, Georgia, and was charged with “driving under the influence (refusal), speeding and driving without a license on person.” The article mentions Angela was “driving 60 mph – above the 35 mph speed limit” when she was pulled over. It appears it was also a cigarette that landed Angela in more hot water back then. The officer mentioned in his report that “the driver lit a cigarette before I made it to the driver window.” Additionally, according to SoapDirt, when asked about “a strong alcohol odor coming from inside the vehicle,” Angela, who didn’t have her license on her, apparently pointed out it was the same mystery man who was the backseat passenger. https://screenrant.com/90-day-fiance-angela-deem-2018-arrest-mughsot/
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — An Aurora man was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to drunk driving and killing a woman who was walking on a sidewalk in 2018.
Timothy Knutson, 40, of Aurora, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on May 19. He pleaded guilty on March 12, 2021 to vehicular homicide DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. Both are Class 3 felonies. He faces 10 years for the vehicular homicide count and four years for leaving the scene.
On Oct. 28, 2018, Knutson left a bar and decided to drive home drunk in his Jeep Patriot. At the same time, 24-year-old Jana Phillips, who had also been out that evening, was walking home on E. Iliff Avenue, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
As Knutson drove home, he jumped a curb and drove down a sidewalk, hitting Phillips near E. Iliff Avenue and S. Rifle Street and dragging her a short distance. He continued driving.
A passerby found her body. She was dead at the scene and had massive injuries. The crash’s impact had stripped off her socks and shoes, according to the district attorney’s office.
Police arrested Knutson nearby on a drunk driving charge. They found three open alcohol containers, numerous empty containers and a marijuana cigar in his Jeep. Several parts of his car were left at the scene of the crash and along the road for about a quarter mile, according to the district attorney’s office.
Deputy District Attorney Meghan Gallo said Phillips had no chance to get away from the car.
“She was struck and dragged, and her injuries were devastating,” Gallo said during her sentencing argument. “He got behind the wheel drunk, barreled down a sidewalk and took out an innocent 24-year-old woman. She was run down like roadkill.”
Gallo also noted that Knutson’s blood-alcohol level at the time was between 0.26 and 0.28, and he had THC and Kratom in his system.
“He wasn’t simply drunk but extraordinarily drunk. He wasn’t simply high but extraordinarily high,” she said. “Five hours after the crash he was still twice over the legal limit.”
Before the sentencing, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Darren Vahle noted Knutson’s past arrests and substance abuse issues. Vahle said he did not address these problems.
“This defendant has failed on probation before and has had numerous crimes over a period of years,” Vahle said. “This is a fully grown, mature man fully responsible for his actions. … It’s ironic that both of these people were drinking that night. One cared about people in society and was walking home. The other barreled down a sidewalk and killed someone. … The appropriate punishment makes a statement to society that we care about people’s lives. It sends a statement that we cannot drink and drive, and if you do, there is a punishment.”
Phillips’ sisters and mother attended the sentencing.
Report: Haverhill officer, running for mayor, hurt when SUV caused collision
HAVERHILL — Police said a Haverhill woman was driving drunk when she caused a crash that injured an off-duty Haverhill police officer who was in his personal vehicle.
Officer Guy Cooper, who announced several weeks ago that he is running for mayor, was injured in the crash. The collision happened when the woman drove her SUV in front of Cooper’s pickup truck, a witness told police.
Cooper is a veteran Haverhill officer who is well known locally for his success in landing acting roles in movies including “The Equalizer” and “Spotlight.”
Police charged Kathleen Curry, 48, of 25 Glenview Road with operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation and failure to yield at an intersection.
Curry was arrested Friday night on Broadway by Officer Katelyn Tully and arraigned on the charges Tuesday in Haverhill District Court. Judge Cesar Archilla released Curry on personal recognizance and scheduled a pretrial hearing for June 23.
According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, on Friday at 8:21 p.m. Tully was dispatched to Broadway for a motor vehicle accident.
A police report said a 2021 Range Rover that Curry was driving crashed into a stop sign at the intersection of Broadway and Lowell Avenue. A 2017 Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by Cooper then collided with the right passenger side of the Range Rover, according to the report.
A witness driving behind Cooper told police that the Range Rover cut in front of Cooper’s pickup truck, leaving Cooper no time to stop, according to the report.
The report said that following the crash, Curry appeared to be “extremely unbalanced” and was slurring her words. She told police she was driving north on Broadway and had no idea how she swerved her vehicle and crashed, the report said.
Curry was taken to Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill for evaluation after the crash, according to the report. Cooper complained of back pain and was taken to Lawrence General Hospital to be treated, the report said.
When asked where she was coming from prior to the crash, Curry said she was on her way home from eating at the Hidden Pig Restaurant on downtown Washington Street, according to the report. She told police she had been drinking, the report said.
At the hospital, Curry told the doctor evaluating her that she drank five beers between noon and 7 p.m., the report said. She also told police she was at Pica’s Pub and Grill in Methuen from noon to 5 p.m., then was at the Hidden Pig until about 8 p.m., the report said.
After being discharged from the hospital, Curry submitted to field sobriety tests in front of the hospital’s main entrance, according to the police report. After she failed some parts of the tests, officers charged her with operating under the influence of alcohol, the report said.
While officers booked her at the police station, Curry submitted to a breathalyzer test, which showed a blood alcohol level of .17% — more than twice the .08% legal limit, police said.
In an interview with police, Cooper said he was driving south on Broadway when a Range Rover driving north at a high rate of speed approached another vehicle that was stopped and appeared to be waiting to bear left onto Lowell Avenue, according to the police report. Cooper said the Range Rover swerved to the right of the stopped vehicle and then crossed in front of it, resulting in the crash, according to the report.
AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A local police officer is suing the Ohio State Highway Patrol, claiming a state trooper violated his civil rights when she arrested him for drunk driving. The federal lawsuit claims the trooper had no reason to pull him over or charge him with being impaired.
Around 10:15 p.m. last Fourth of July, fireworks were lighting up the sky in Akron as Ohio State Trooper Kelsee Osborn followed a pickup truck northbound on Route 8 near I-77. She pulled the driver over near Perkins Street, claiming he was speeding and weaving out of his lane.
“Why are you speeding like that?” the trooper is heard asking the driver in the dashcam video, provided by the State Highway Patrol.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” she asked.
The driver, off-duty Northfield Village police officer Craig Wilson, says he drank one beer an hour earlier and was rushing to get home because his wife needed to leave for work. Trooper Osborn administered several field sobriety tests.
The trooper tried to give a breath test, but the equipment malfunctions. According to the video, Wilson refused to blow into the other trooper’s breathalyzer, questioning why they suspected him of being impaired.
“Just because you weren’t falling over, alright, doesn’t mean there’s not clues that I’m getting signs of other impairment,” Trooper Osborn said. “Your speech, you couldn’t maintain lanes, your speed was up and down, up and down, up and down and then yeah, the eyes are enough to arrest you, ok.”
She then arrests Wilson, and reads him his Miranda rights.
“I counted the steps out loud. I had my hands down on my sides. I didn’t stumble,” says Wilson.
“You’re a patrolman, you know how to do these tests,” says Osborn.
“Me being a police officer is not a reason to arrest me for OVI,” Wilson responds.
Wilson was charged with OVI and weaving in marked lanes, charges prosecutors dismissed weeks later.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Akron Wednesday against Trooper Osborn and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the “dashboard video camera depicts no such ‘heavy swerving’ or marked lanes violations” and the “audio depicts him as being alert and speaking clearly.”