DUI, assault charges after crash

Kennesaw Mountain High School’s orchestra director faces DUI and aggravated assault charges after authorities said he crashed into another car while driving under the influence of drugs.

The bizarre incident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. June 15 near the intersection of Barrett Parkway and Old 41 Highway in Kennesaw, arrest warrants show. 

Witnesses said 43-year-old Joel Schroter drove past them at a high rate of speed and appeared to intentionally strike another car carrying a couple and their infant daughter, according to a Kennesaw police report. 

Schroter, who wasn’t wearing shoes when police arrived on scene, reportedly ran toward the couple after the collision and began yelling about how he meant to crash into them and meet them, calling it “a sign from God.” 

The mother of the 4-month-old girl told police Schroter repeatedly said that he wanted to kill her baby, according to the incident report. She had wounds to her left arm and complained of a head injury from the crash, but the child appeared unharmed. All three passengers were taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. 

When officers arrived, the orchestra instructor reportedly galloped toward them, flailing his arms and giggling uncontrollably, Kennesaw police said.

According to the report, he told officers, “this was done in love” and that he was “on the space shuttle,” while repeatedly ignoring their commands. Two officers on scene forced him to the ground and handcuffed him before carrying him to the back of the patrol car with his legs dangling in the air, police said.

Schroter’s warrant alleges that he was under the influence of a drug at the time, “possibly LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, or (a) synthetic/natural hallucinogen.” 

He also had a puppy in his Mazda at the time of the crash. The dog was turned over to Cobb County Animal Control. 

Schroter is charged with aggravated assault, driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving, obstruction of law enforcement, driving too fast for conditions and failure to maintain lane, jail records show. He was released the following morning on a $16,720 bond.

His employment status with the high school is unclear.

“The district is aware of the arrest of a Kennesaw Mountain High School teacher,” a Cobb School District spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday. “Due to privacy restrictions, the district cannot provide additional information during an ongoing investigation. We will act in accordance with any relevant district policy upon the conclusion of the police investigation.” https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/cobb-county-orchestra-teacher-faces-dui-assault-charges-after-crash/PH72HFiOUGVWNL7MlMTIQJ/

Suspected DUI Driver Fails To Negotiate Roundabout

PETALUMA, CA — A Petaluma man who failed to negotiate a roundabout Thursday night and ended up with his car in a ditch is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

The driver, identified as 21-year-old Laurentino Vasquez-Chavez, was reportedly going over the speed limit as he got close to the roundabout at the intersection of Corona Road and Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma police Sgt. Ryan Suhrke said.

Instead of going through the roundabout, Chavez drove over the curb and hit street signs and a mailbox before landing his car in a nearby ditch, Suhrke said.

When officers responded to the intersection at 8:16 p.m., Chavez’s car was inoperable.

“Officers observed signs of alcohol intoxication coming from Chavez, administered field sobriety tests and determined he had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,” Suhrke said. “He was arrested and later transported to the Sonoma County Jail for DUI.”

Chavez was not injured in the collision, nor was anyone else, police said. https://news.yahoo.com/suspected-dui-driver-fails-negotiate-041104980.html

Drunken Driver Damages Squad Car, Tries To Bite Officer: Blotter

Disoriented Highland Park woman had BAC nearly three times legal limit; cannabis collection discovered during stop: Lake Forest PD Blotter

The incidents and arrests below were reported by the Lake Forest Police Department between May 16 and June 22, 2020.
The incidents and arrests below were reported by the Lake Forest Police Department between May 16 and June 22, 2020. (Lake Forest PD)

LAKE FOREST, IL — The following information comes from Lake Forest police and Lake County court records as a record of those arrested by police. Readers are reminded that an arrest is not an indication of guilt, and criminal charges, which represent merely accusations by the state, are often dropped or reduced. Updated information may be available from the Lake County Circuit Clerk of Courts. All persons named are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

ARRESTS

Jason C. Lott, 38, of the 2000 block of Jackson Avenue, Evanston, was arrested around 10 p.m. on May 22 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a valid driver’s license after police were called to a traffic crash involving a motorcycle and a tractor trailer near Route 41 and Route 60. Officers determined Lott, the driver of the motorcycle, was speeding when he lost control of the motorcycle and crashed. He also smelled of alcohol and seemed drunk, police reported, and a sample taken at Condell Hospital indicated he had a blood alcohol concentration of nearly 0.27 — more than three times the legal threshold of intoxication. Officers also issued him citations for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, improper lane usage and speeding.

Eric R. Lundahl, 61, of the 1000 block of Estes Drive, Lake Forest, was arrested shortly before 11 p.m. on May 24 at his home and charged with four counts of misdemeanor domestic battery and one count of interfering in the reporting of domestic violence. Police said Lundahl struck a person repeatedly on the face and head following a verbal argument. There were obvious physical signs of injury when officers interviewed the victim at Highland Park Hospital, police reported.

Edert R. Callejas, 33, of the 1500 block of Cornelia Avenue, Waukegan, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. on May 29 and charged with felony driving with a license revoked for DUI, felony criminal damage to government property, driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest. Police reported getting a report of a crash on Route 41 near the entrance to Lake Forest Hospital. Callejas, who was driving a black Nissan with significant damage to its front, refused to identify himself to officers and showed signs of intoxication. After he was arrested, police reported he attempted to bite one of the officers and kicked out the plastic divider between the front and back of a squad car. One officer suffered a minor injury in the course of the arrest, according to police.

Denzel J. Hopkinsbey, 29, of the 2900 block of West Monroe Street, Chicago, was arrested around 1:30 a.m. on May 30 and charged with possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and issued citations for speeding, cannabis possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police reported they pulled him over for driving 80 mph on a portion of Route 41 with a 55 mph speed limit, searched his car after he admitted having cannabis inside, and found pills that tested positive for ecstasy.

Trisha M. Rinaldi, 46, of the 1300 block of Bob-O-Link Road, Highland Park, was arrested around 9 p.m. on June 2 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol with a breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater following a traffic stop on Route 41. Officers were called for a report of a gray Dodge driving erratically and pulled it over after seeing it break several traffic laws, police reported. Rinaldi first denied drinking alcohol before admitting consuming a vodka drink, and she claimed she was headed home to Highland Park despite driving in the wrong direction, according to police. Following her arrest, she produced a sample indicating a breath alcohol concentration of 0.245 — nearly three times the legal limit for intoxication. Officers also issued her an improper lane usage citation.Subscribe

Henry B. Yehle, 20, of the 300 block of Washington Road, Lake Forest, was arrested around 3:15 p.m. on June 4 on an arrest warrant issued after he failed to appear in court and forfeited bond in Lake County in connection with narcotics charges filed last year. 

Michael P. Hoover, 63, of the 1700 block of Elizabeth Avenue, North Chicago, was arrested around 1 p.m. on June 5 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after officers investigated a two-car traffic crash at Route 41 and Westleigh Road. According to police, a witness saw Hoover drive into the back of an SUV stopped at a traffic light. Hoover said he thought he was headed, despite actually driving south, and showed other signs of intoxication and admitted drinking alcohol, according to police. Following his arrest, he produced a sample indicating his breath alcohol concentration was over 0.27 — more than three times the legal limit for intoxication.

Jamelle McBride, 32, and Brenden Butler, 22, both of the 16000 block of Josef Drive, Homer Glen, were arrested around noon on June 11 and charged with a series of felonies in connection with an 18-month investigation of an identity theft ring. They were believed to have cost victims more than $1 million over the past two years. Read more…

Nicholas Lopez, 19, of the 900 block of Deerfield Road, Highland Park, was arrested around 1:30 a.m. on June 18 and charged with possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence of alcohol and cannabis possession following a traffic stop on a silver BMW that ran a red light and swerved into oncoming traffic. After Lopez failed field sobriety tests, officers searched the car and found a black bag with multiple bags of cannabis, pills in unmarked bags and prescription bottles, THC-infused food, vaporizers, cartridges of THC oil and baggies containing THC in wax form, police reported. Lopez later produced a sample indicating his breath alcohol concentration was more than 0.16 — twice the legal limit for impairment. https://patch.com/illinois/lakeforest/drunken-driver-damages-squad-car-tries-bite-officer-blotter

CDOT creating ads to deter driving under cannabis influence after 2-year study

(Colorado Department of Transportation/For Greeley Tribune)

State transportation officials are creating new ads with the hopes of discouraging cannabis users from driving while under the influence of the drug.

The ads are being created using insights from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s two-year “Cannabis Conversation” study into how cannabis users across the state feel about driving under the influence. The study wrapped up late 2019, and officials are optimistic about the impact it will have.

“(Colorado State Patrol’s) Greeley Office shares CDOT’s goal of helping people make safe choices,” Captain Ian Whittington of CSP’s Greeley Office wrote in a statement. “Drivers who are impaired by drugs — even if the impairment is slight — pose an unreasonable threat to Northern Colorado, where so many members of the community depend on public highways for their livelihood and for their way of life.”

A Colorado State trooper talks on the phone at the scene of a crash after Greeley Police, Weld County Sheriffs, and several other law enforcement agencies were led on a high speed chase down U.S 85.
In this 2015 Tribune file photo, a Colorado State trooper talks on the phone at the scene of a crash after Greeley Police, Weld County Sheriffs, and several other law enforcement agencies were led on a high speed chase down U.S 85.

In 2018, 13.5% of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for cannabis, according to a CDOT news release. Prior surveys released by CDOT suggest driving under the influence is a common phenomenon among the state’s cannabis users. In one survey, more than half of cannabis users reported under the influence in the past 30 days. In another, about two-thirds of Weld County cannabis users reported driving under the influence at least once in the past year.

The first main takeaway from the study was that those who consumed cannabis more often considered driving under the influence to be less dangerous. The more they consumed cannabis, according to state officials, the more respondents talked about individual differences in consumption or tolerance as factors in someone’s ability to drive under the influence.

Many daily users considered driving under the influence of cannabis safe, and some told state officials they drove better after using the drug because they were calmer. Those who drive under the influence often rely on a “gut check,” taking their personal tolerance and past driving experiences, to determine their ability to drive safely. Some were very cautious and took extra precautions when driving after cannabis use, state officials noted.

Whittington said people often partake in risky behavior without realizing how risky it was.

“All too frequently it doesn’t work out OK for people who wake up in the morning (not) expecting that they or a loved one would be involved in a horrible traffic crash,” he said. “But unfortunately, that’s how it typically unfolds.”

Transportation officials found that many cannabis users are highly skeptical of the laws, policies and enforcement for driving impaired. Some who drive after using cannabis dismissed existing research and data because it didn’t ring true with their personal experiences. Most users were sensitive to any messages they perceived as overstating the dangers of driving high, stereotyping cannabis users or unrealistic. Many want nuanced, credible information, according to the study.

Users expressed in interest in research on detection methods, ways to measure their own impairment, dosage-based guidelines for legal limits and specific guidelines on how long to wait after consuming before driving. Some developers have created smartphone apps designed to test users’ impairment, such as DRUID, which uses four tests to judge users’ impairment.

Though messaging focused on the enforcement of laws against driving high may be well-received by those opposed to cannabis, such threats do little to convince or deter cannabis users, according to state officials. Instead, users reported liking safety campaign materials with an honest tone and straightforward approach.

Most users reported there were times they were uncomfortably high or that they knew they were not safe to drive after using cannabis. Transportation officials’ ad concept invoking that feeling of discomfort was the most effective at changing users’ attitudes and behaviors around driving after using, getting those who drive high to feel uncomfortable about that decision and rethink their beliefs. The messaging aims to influence users’ “gut check” they do before driving after using.

“We learned how different groups of people respond to different types of messages — and will use that knowledge to try to influence people to make smart choices,” Sam Cole, CDOT’s traffic safety communications manager, said in a release. “After all, there is no ‘typical’ marijuana consumer.”

Research recently published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests one place where officials could communicate with cannabis users is on the product packaging. In “Perceptions of cannabis health information labels among people who use cannabis in the U.S. and Canada,” researchers from the U.K., the U.S. and Australia analyzed how respondents to the 2019 Global Drug Survey felt about warning labels for cannabis products.

Though only a third of survey respondents supported a policy that would require warning labels for cannabis products, nearly 60% said a label about the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis would make them consider changing their behavior. Of six labels presented to cannabis users — with others warning them about the possibility of developing a dependence on cannabis, the risks associated with adolescent use and more — the label about driving had the greatest impact.

As state officials found, however, more frequent users are less likely to believe such messages and are therefore less likely to change their behavior.

“As such, the adoption of cannabis health information labels can only represent part of an overall public health strategy to optimize the potential benefits and minimize the possible harms of legalization,” the researchers wrote.

The current labeling requirements in Colorado do make mention of the impact cannabis can have on users’ ability to drive, but leave wiggle room for users to feel confident after a “gut check.”

“Use of marijuana may impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery,” current labeling requirements state.

In contrast, the label presented to Global Drug Survey respondents gave a clear command not to drive while high and focused more on the serious risks associated with driving under the influence.

“Don’t drive stoned,” the label stated. “Cannabis use delays your reaction time and is associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of fatal car accidents.”

With the conclusion of the “Cannabis Conversation” study, state transportation officials will launch the “Uncomfortable High” campaign. Officials will continue to work closely with dispensary companies, a trusted source of information for cannabis users, on in-store education collateral and training for “budtenders,” the salespeople at dispensaries.

Whittington said troopers need the community’s help to make northern Colorado roads safe.

“The decision to drive under the influence of drugs is a lot like other poor decisions that unfortunately people make too often, whether it’s driving while distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “I wish that the community could come together and recognize just how important safe highways are for our community and just how important drivers being committed to giving their full attention to safety is.” https://www.greeleytribune.com/2020/06/14/cdot-creating-ads-to-deter-driving-under-cannabis-influence-after-2-year-study/

To read the full “Cannabis Conversation” report, go to bit.ly/CannaConvo20.

Woman Delivering Food for COVID Patients Pinned by Suspected Drunk Driver

A suspected drunk driver swerved off the road and struck a 35-year-old mother of three who was getting food from the trunk of her car for COVID-19 patients on Wednesday.

Footage of the incident showed that the woman, identified by friends as Nancy Tituaña, didn’t see the car coming towards her at 110th Street and Northern Boulevard in Queens. Luis Encalada, 35, has been charged with pinning Tituaña to the back of her SUV, breaking both of her legs, according to police.

Tituaña is a coordinator with Brigada de Esperanza, a nonprofit that has been delivering food to thousands of New Yorkers who have been struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s exactly what she was doing at the moment of impact. Groceries were seen on the street in front of Encalada’s vehicle.

Inside the vehicle, an opened beer can could be seen in the cupholder. Police also charged Encalada with driving while intoxicated and driving without a license.

Tituaña was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she’s recovering from her surgery, her family said. 

After the crash, witnesses rushed Tituaña’s aid and tried to push the car away from her. Conde Cabrera, who is also part of Brigada de Esperanza, was with Tituaña when she was hit. He says she cried out for him to look out for her children. 

“She was doing a good thing. She was helping people who are sick, who could not come out of their home,” said Carmen Velasquez, another volunteer with the nonprofit. “We are the Brigade of Hope and right now we hope that she can be well.” https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/woman-delivering-food-for-covid-patients-pinned-by-suspected-drunk-driver-police/2483772/