‘Now you’re infected,’ suspect says while coughing in trooper’s face

PUTNAM – “Now you’re infected.”

Those were the words a handcuffed Putnam man uttered as he turned to a state trooper Thursday night and coughed before claiming he had the coronavirus, police said.

The 52-year suspect, identified as James Keith, of 82 Chapman St., had been pulled over after troopers received a report by several witnesses of an ongoing disturbance in an East Putnam parking lot.

As troopers in the area pulled up to the scene, two individuals jumped into a vehicle and fled the scene heading west on Route 44, nearly striking a trooper as they sped away, police said. Troopers, who were able to stop the car near the intersection of Interstate 395, said they learned Chapman had physically assaulted his girlfriend, a passenger in the vehicle.

Police said they observed several indicators leading them to believe Chapman was intoxicated. The man admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages earlier in the evening and subsequently failed a field sobriety test, police said.

As troopers tried to place Chapman under arrest for second-degree breach of peace and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he turned to a trooper and “aggressively coughed” and stating, “now you’re infected,” adding he had the coronavirus.

Chapman, who is also listed as living at 4 Rawson Ave. Apt. 3 in North Grosvenordale, was transported back to Troop D in Danielson and released on a $5,000 bond.

State police officials said a medical pre-screening for COVID-19 was conducted on Chapman by state Department of Corrections personnel. The screening came back negative. Decontamination measures were taken by all personnel involved, state police said.

The female victim declined medical attention and troopers said they ensured she got home safely.

During his brief appearance Friday in Danielson Superior Court, Judge Jack Fischer issued a protective order on behalf of the alleged victim and continued Chapman’s case until April 20.

When asked outside the courthouse about the incident, Chapman said he was not ill, but understood his coronavirus comments were not correct in the midst of a pandemic.

“But he (the trooper) was being anal,” Chapman said. “I do that at work all the time, coughing and saying ‘corona.’”

The Putnam incident was the second of its type reported in the area on Thursday.

UConn Police said Dr. Cory Edgar, a UConn Health physician and assistant professor in the orthopedic surgery department, intentionally coughed on two other medical employees at the health center. He was issued a misdemeanor breach of peace summons. https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20200327/now-youre-infected-conn-suspect-says-while-coughing-in-troopers-face

Louisville Police arrest man driving under the influence, domestic violence

Upon contact, the officer immediately smelled an alcohol odor and removed 44-year-old Kevin Bennett from the car.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police arrested a man for domestic violence and driving under the influence.

According to a news release, an officer was dispatched to Colorado Ave. and Central Ave. on March 26 around 8:40 p.m. on a report of a violent domestic dispute.

When the officer turned on to the street, a 2003 Dodge Durango was seen fleeing from the location in a careless manner after committing an act of domestic violence failing to signal to a car traveling southbound at the intersection.

Upon contact, the officer immediately smelled an alcohol odor and removed 44-year-old Kevin Bennett from the car. Bennett was transported to LMDC and refused any testing for the first hour of contact. 

Bennett reportedly stated to the officer in an excited tone that he began drinking at 10 a.m. because “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” and didn’t have intentions of leaving the house.

Bennett was found guilty of operating a car under the influence in 2006. His license was suspended at the time of the stop and did not have any insurance in the car.

Bennett has been charged with operating a car on a suspended license, failure of non-owned operator to maintain required ins/sec 1st, failure or improper signal, and operating a car under the influence of alcohol 2nd degree. https://www.whas11.com/article/news/crime/lmpd-arrest-man-domestic-violence-dui/417-2c8c6930-f12d-4791-82f9-ef0047ba0e8f

Man in custody after allegedly producing firearm, yelling at neighbor

Spanish Fork police arrested a local man after he allegedly brandished a gun while participating in a verbal altercation with a neighbor.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers responded to reports of a weapons offense at a residence in Spanish Fork.

The reporting party told authorities that he heard his neighbor, later identified as 22-year-old Tyler Victor Steggell, yelling from behind him while he was working in his yard. The complainant said he stood on a bucket to ask his neighbor if he was yelling at him.

Shortly after the conversation began, a verbal altercation started and escalated when Steggell allegedly pulled a small, black gun out of his right pocket and pointed it at his neighbor, asking him “what he was going to do about it,” according to arrest documents.

Authorities arrived to find Steggell had fled the scene in his car. Steggell has a history of attempting to commit “suicide by cop” several times, according to the probable cause affidavit, and officials believed he was a danger to himself and others.

In order to locate him, officers performed a cell phone ping, and he was found to be driving his car. Police pulled Steggell’s vehicle over and took him into custody. Arresting officers reported Steggell smelled of alcohol and exhibited poor balance, according to arrest documents.

After officers read him his Miranda Rights, Steggell allegedly told police he had a gun in his right pocket and pulled it on his neighbor. He also said he had been drinking alcohol that night and had marijuana in the car.

During a search of the vehicle, police discovered a gun matching the description his neighbor gave to police. The gun was unloaded but a loaded magazine was located in the driver’s door.

At the Utah County Jail, a field sobriety test showed he had enough signs to render him unsafe to operate a vehicle and his blood alcohol count tested .175. Steggell consented to a breathalyzer test which showed a .223 BAC.

While speaking with Steggell, he reportedly pulled off his blood-soaked band-aid, that was given to him after a blood draw, and threw it at the officer. The band-aid bounced off of the officer’s arm, according to the probable cause statement.

Steggell is being held at the Utah County Jail under suspicion of third-degree felony aggravated assault, class A misdemeanor threat or use of a dangerous weapon, class B misdemeanor carrying a concealed firearm, class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, class B misdemeanor propelling a bodily substance, class B misdemeanor carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol, and class B misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol. Officials also issued a citation for driving without proof of insurance.

UCSO Courtesy Tyler Victor Steggell
Utah County Sheriff’s Office courtesy photo of 22-year-old Tyler Victor Steggell of Spanish Fork on March 23, 2020. Utah County Sheriff’s Office

El Paso County courts closed to public except for ‘matters of immediate concern’

El Paso County Courthouse
The entrance of the El Paso County Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex on Tejon Street with the reflection of the Pioneers Museum in the background. (Gazette file photo)Carol Lawrence

The El Paso County courthouse is closed to the public through April 10, except for “matters of most immediate concern.”

Fourth Judicial District Judge William Bain issued new restrictions after further guidance from health officials to help stem the spread of COVID-19, according to an order that went into effect Friday.

All trials during the closure period are postponed, except for those involving speedy trial deadlines on or before April 17.

All in-person civil hearings, including trials, are also vacated and will be rescheduled.

Jury summonses with a return date of Friday through March 27 are lifted. Jurors with a summons return date on or after March 30 should monitor the court  website — courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Index.cfm?County_ID=6  — for information.

Other highlights of the closure:

 Colorado public defender tests positive for COVID-19, others wait for tests

— The Clerk’s Office will be open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays. During operating hours, the clerk’s office will only accept paper filings related to certain public safety matters, including petitions for restraining orders and emergency custody changes. All other filings should be mailed to courthouse or filed electronically through the state filing system.

— All in-person domestic relations hearings are canceled, except emergency motions to restrict parenting time and motions for abduction-prevention measures.

— Most out-of-custody defendants are prohibited from entering the courthouse during closure, except for certain crimes and certain hearings. In-person appearances are required for those charged with domestic violence, unlawful sexual contact, animal cruelty, driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in injury or death. https://gazette.com/news/el-paso-county-courts-closed-to-public-except-for-matters/article_3ce0ee14-6ad9-11ea-9bcb-8774ec94aee6.html

Man sentenced for stealing ambulance from hospital

FLINT, MI — A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to 6 months of jail time for stealing an ambulance from outside a Flint hospital.

Raymond E. Kibby, 33, was sentenced Monday, March 23 by Genesee Circuit Judge Celeste D. Bell to the jail time, with 41 days credit on charges including assault with a dangerous weapon, third-degree fleeing and eluding police, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated — second offense.

He reached a plea deal in December 2019 that dropped unlawful driving away of an automobile, malicious destruction of fire or police property, and unlawful driving away of an automobile charges.

The charges stemmed from a Nov. 26, 2019 incident which began at McLaren Flint off South Ballenger Highway.

That’s where Kibby stole a STAT EMS ambulance.

The ambulance had just parked following a call and a patient was being delivered to the emergency room shortly after midnight at McLaren Flint off South Ballenger Highway.

Joseph R. Karlichek, Chief Operating Officer for STAT EMS, previously said the ambulance was in the bay outside the emergency room doors at the time of the incident.

The vehicle was unlocked with the keys in the ignition at the time of the theft due to an urgent situation with a patient when paramedics arrived, Karlichek noted.

The ambulance personnel noticed the vehicle was missing when the exited the hospital.

The location of the ambulance was confirmed and 911 was called. No injuries were reported to STAT EMS staff.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Kibby was at the hospital receiving treatment for heroin withdrawal. He’d been dropped off by his mom after it was noticed he was going through the withdrawals.

Flint Police Chief Phil Hart previously said at least one city unit and several other law enforcement agencies including the Genesee County Park Rangers were involved in the pursuit.

Leyton said it’s “fortunate nobody was hurt” because video from inside the ambulance shows Kibby not stopping at red lights at Court Street and Miller Road.

The ambulance eventually crashed into a tree and hit a police vehicle in the area of Alvord Avenue and Fenton Road.

When Kibby spoke with officers, Leyton said, “He complained to the police that the ambulance wouldn’t go fast enough” because it only reached speeds between 35-40 miles per hour.

He also told police he’d stolen the ambulance to go and buy heroin on the city’s south side, Leyton said.

Kibby will be transported to a 90-day substance use disorder program at New Paths following the jail sentence, per the judge’s sentence.

Officer dragged by vehicle operated by impaired driver

A woman who police say was driving impaired Thursday night was arrested after dragging a Dothan police officer with her vehicle in an effort to avoid arrest.

Jennifer Linsey Viveiros, 37, is charged with second-degree assault.

According to police, several calls were received at the communications center regarding a possibly impaired driver traveling on Ross Clark Circle with the vehicle’s rear bumper dragging the ground and no headlights on.

An officer located the vehicle matching the description in a parking lot of the 2600 block of Ross Clark Circle. The officer observed the driver, who appeared to be passed out.

Once the officer got the driver’s attention and obtained a license, Viveiros attempted to leave the area by starting her vehicle and putting it in drive.

Police said the officer attempted to stop Viveiros from driving by taking her keys and putting the vehicle in park. However, Viveiros was able to get the vehicle in drive and accelerated, dragging the officer and almost striking other vehicles in the parking lot. She then put the vehicle in reverse before putting the vehicle back in drive, and again accelerating forward, still dragging the officer.

The officer was freed when Viveiros struck a buggy corral in the parking lot.

After the officer was freed, Viveiros drove south on Ross Clark Circle with no headlights on.

A resident who witnessed the incident followed Viveiros’ vehicle and provided updates to communications on her location until police arrived.

Officers stopped Viveiros in the 2200 block of the Ross Clark Circle, where she once again refused to get out.

A K-9 was utilized to apprehend her, and she was taken into custody.

The officer, who was not identified, was treated for minor injuries.

Additional charges may be forthcoming. Dothan police are still investigating the case.

Viveiros is at the Houston County Jail on a $15,000 bond. https://www.dothaneagle.com/news/crime_court/dothan-officer-dragged-by-vehicle-operated-by-impaired-driver/article_459ba23a-0f71-5608-b584-fe33dc4e853a.html

Springfield man jailed after crashing, confronting citizen, fighting with troopers

SPRINGFIELD  — A 39-year-old Springfield man is in jail on charges accusing him of driving while intoxicated and fighting with state troopers after he crashed his truck, then again at a hospital, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Steven Toms was taken into custody the first time on West Possum Road after he hit a utility pole about 3:43 p.m. and was stopped from leaving the scene by a concerned citizen who had called the state patrol to report a reckless driver on South Yellow Springs Street. 

The concerned citizen, who noticed a small child in Toms’ truck, was able to prevent the man from getting away. 

Troopers arrived and determined Toms was very intoxicated and irate. They tussled with him at the crash scene and tended to the 1-year-old child, who was properly restrained in a car seat. He suffered minor injuries in the crash. 

Toms and the child were taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center, where the child was released to his mother and Toms engaged in the second fight with troopers. 

Toms was taken to the Clark County Jail from the fight, where he’s being detained on charges of operating a vehicle impaired, failure to control, a seat belt violation, child endangerment, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, driving under license suspension and drug possession (marijuana). 

A records check shows Toms, in 1998, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and attempted involuntary manslaughter stemming from an alcohol-related offense in Clark County. 

He is scheduled to be in Clark County Municipal Court on Monday, according to the state patrol. The concerned citizen, who was not identified by name, called 1-800-GRAB-DUI to lodge the initial complaint against the driver later identified as Toms, according to the state patrol. https://www.whio.com/news/local/springfield-man-jailed-after-crashing-confronting-citizen-fighting-with-troopers/YXMjGaaU2HB2IYdN4G5z6H/

Police: Woman Sexually Abused Officer After OWI Traffic Stop

Jameshia Nevills (WHO Channel 13)

WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa – A Des Moines woman is facing a third-degree sexual abuse charge after officials say she groped a Windsor Heights police officer following an OWI stop early Sunday morning.

Nineteen-year-old Jameshia Nevills is being held in the Polk County Jail on charges of sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, and several traffic-related offenses.

According to a criminal complaint from the Windsor Heights Police Department, Nevills was observed turning the wrong way onto the off-ramp to I-235 at 73rd Street and once noticing her mistake, reversed in a “very fast and unsafe manner back onto 73rd Street.”

Nevills then took the on-ramp to I-235 and was followed by an officer from Windsor Heights. The officer observed her driving recklessly and reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour prior to making a traffic stop.

Nevills did not have a driver’s license and the vehicle was not registered. The officer noted she smelled of an alcoholic beverage and admitted several times she was very drunk. A container of soda and Crown Royal whiskey was found in the center console.

During processing, Nevills allegedly grabbed an officer’s crotch “in a sexual manner against his will.” The complaint also alleges she had made prior comments to the officer about how she was attracted to him.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Nevills on March 25th. https://whotv.com/news/police-woman-sexually-abused-officer-after-owi-traffic-stop/

Study: Motorists using Apple CarPlay are more distracted than drunk drivers

Driving while impaired is often vilified as the most dangerous thing to do on four wheels, but a recent study suggests using infotainment software like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay reduces a driver’s reaction time more than booze or pot. United Kingdom-based road safety advocate group IAM RoadSmart wants the government to take action.

The group pointed out the average driver’s reaction time is about a second; that means when the car in front slams on its brakes, it’s going to take a full second for the person following it to do the same. That figure increases by 12% when someone takes the wheel after reaching the legal alcohol limit, and by 21% when a person drives after smoking or eating cannabis. Using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay increased the reaction time by 53% and 57%, respectively.

Researchers discovered motorists who incessantly poke their car’s touchscreen to access a feature buried deep in either software increase their car’s stopping distance by between four and five car lengths, and they can take their eyes off the road for up to 16 seconds at a time without realizing it.

“Participants underestimated by as much as five seconds the time they thought they spent looking away from the road when engaging with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via touch control,” the study alarmingly found. It added using voice instead of touch commands significantly reduced distractions, but not to acceptable levels; reaction times nonetheless increased by 30% and 36% for Google and Apple’s software, respectively. To add context, talking on the phone increases reaction times by 46%.

The results are startling, especially if you regularly bike, run, or walk on a public road. Researchers conducting the study witnessed drivers swerve out of their lane by up to 21 inches while trying to use Android Auto’s navigation function. Those performing the same task using Apple CarPlay moved out of their lane by up to 20 inches.

“We’re now calling on industry and government to openly test and approve such systems and develop consistent standards that genuinely help minimize driver distraction,” IAM RoadSmart concluded. The British government hasn’t commented on the study, though, to be fair, it’s juggling Brexit negotiations and a global pandemic.

British firm research firm TRL conducted the study on behalf of IAM RoadSmart, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, among other events), and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund. It asked participants to drive the same simulated test loop three times: once without using either system, once while using only voice commands, and once while using only the touchscreen.


A New Jersey woman allegedly coughed on police officers and told them she had infected them with coronavirus after being arrested.

Lea Piazza, 28, was arrested on on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on March 12 after a car crash involving a single vehicle in Hanover, NJ.com reported.

She allegedly coughed on officers from the Hanover Township Police Department as they tried to process her. Piazza grew belligerent as officers tried to question her and breathed on an officer despite being repeatedly asked to stop, Capt. Dave White told NJ.com.

While she was being processed at the police department, Piazza again started breathing, he said. According to the outlet, she coughed on one officer and told him, “Oh by the way, I have the coronavirus and now so do you.”Ads by scrollerads.com

Piazza told police that her boyfriend had the virus and was in hospital, White added.

Three officers who had come into contact with Piazza since she was arrested were told to self-quarantine. But after investigating, police determine that everything she had said was “100 percent false,” White told NJ.com.

New Jersey
Police tape indicates the closure of playgrounds on March 15, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey.GARY HERSHORN/GETTY IMAGES

The man Piazza claimed was her boyfriend told police he had gone on one date with her and was in hospital for an unrelated dental issue.

Piazza, of Wayne, was charged with driving while intoxicated, careless driving, reckless driving and refusal to take a breath test, the website reported. She was also charged with causing a false public alarm over the comments.RELATED STORIES

White said Piazza, who was released from custody after being charged, later called police to apologize for her behavior. But he said that police “are not taking this stuff lightly.” He added, “If anything, this sets an example. Don’t screw around.” https://www.newsweek.com/new-jersey-woman-arrested-deliberately-coughing-officers-coronavirus-1492917

Newsweek contacted the Hanover Township Police Department for additional comment.

New Jersey had 267 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The state has had three coronavirus-related deaths.

In a news briefing on Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced he was ordering the closure of all indoor shopping malls and amusement parks. A day earlier, he activated the National Guard, and urged all residents to stay home after 8 p.m.

“This is not a curfew, but it is strongly recommended, and travel is strongly discouraged. If you don’t need to be on the roads, you should not be on the roads,” he said.

“If alternatively you are a healthcare worker or other employee essential to our response, we still need you to get to work and to the vital jobs you are doing. And from the bottom of our hearts we thank you and recognize that you are the frontlines in this fight. But for those who do not need to be out, please, please, please just stay home.”

Also on Monday, Governor Murphy announced that all casinos, racetracks, movie theaters, performing arts centers, nightclubs, and gyms would be closed to curb the spread of the virus. All other non-essential businesses must close by 8 p.m. starting Monday.

The state has also banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 198,000 people around the world and killed almost 8,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 81,000 people have recovered.

In the U.S., 6,496 cases had been confirmed as of Wednesday morning and the death toll has climbed to 114. Seventeen people have recovered so far.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of COVID-19

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • When caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities, follow guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks.
  • Clean hands after disposing of mask, do not reuse single-use masks.