Widow and mother of three gets 7 years for DUI crash that killed husband

From the Peoria Pantagraph:

An East Peoria woman was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday for aggravated driving under the influence related to a single-vehicle crash that killed her husband.

Juanita Webster, 38, sobbed loudly after Judge William Yoder imposed the sentence.

Webster was behind the wheel on June 16, 2017, when she lost control of the vehicle in which Andre Webster was a passenger. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Interstate 55 north of Bloomington.

In his decision to impose a prison sentence, Yoder cited Webster’s criminal history that included convictions for drunken driving in 2012 and domestic battery of her husband in 2016.

Yoder said he found no extraordinary circumstances involved in the crash that would allow him to consider probation over prison as required by state law.

Defense lawyer Matthew Koetters argued that the testimony from Webster’s relatives, including her three children, illustrated the hardship they have suffered since their mother’s incarceration. The defendant’s two sons, ages 18 and 13, and daughter, now 12, said they needed their mother at home.

The children, who exchanged emotional goodbyes with their mother after the hearing, are living with a disabled grandfather and a family friend near Chicago.

In her statement to the judge, Webster’s words were nearly drowned out by her sobs.

“I’m suffering every day. I lost my husband I’m still in love with. … I don’t have anyone to take care of my kids, judge,” said Webster.

Read the entire story here:  https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/driver-sentenced-to-years-in-dui-crash-that-killed-her/article_28557471-8087-5605-8260-7edc5a1331e4.html

Alleged Drunk Driver Sleeping Behind Wheel in Autopiloted Tesla going 70 mph Arrested

From WTVR.com:

Two California Highway Patrol Officers came up with a technique on the spot to stop a speeding Tesla Model S with an allegedly drunken driver asleep behind the wheel on the 101 Freeway in Redwood City on Friday, authorities said…

The officers saw the car traveling at about 70 mph and realized the driver appeared to be unconscious, officials said. The driver showed no response when the officers activated their emergency lights and sirens while directly behind the Tesla in an attempt to pull it over.

“Officers then positioned their patrol vehicle in front of the Tesla and began slowing directly in front of the Tesla in hoped that the ‘driver assist’ feature had been activated, and therefore, the Tesla would slow to a stop as the patrol vehicle came to a stop,” according to the statement.

They were able to slow the auto-piloted car to a complete stop.

After finally managing to rouse the driver, officers determined he was under the influence of alcohol, CHP officials said. Alexander Samek, 45, of Los Altos was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

“We cannot confirm at this time if the ‘driver assist’ feature was activated, but considering the vehicle’s ability to slow to a stop when Samek was asleep, it appears the ‘driver assist’ feature may have been active at the time,” the statement said.

Elmhurst will conduct a DUI roadblock tonight

From the Elmhurst Patch:

The Elmhurst Police Department continues to take part in a year-long traffic enforcement grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. According to the department, the goal of this grant is to save lives by reducing fatal and serious injury crashes through additional enforcement of DUI and seatbelt laws.

The department said the roadside safety checkpoint will take place on major roadway in Elmhurst starting at 11:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 and ending at 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

As part of the grant, periodic roadside safety checkpoints are being set up throughout the year, with vehicles being stopped at a predetermined interval and checked for violations, the department said.

Man charged with DUI and aggravated speeding after crashing into new Arlington Hts police station

From the Chicago Tribune:

An Arlington Heights man who, police said, was speeding at 104 mph when he crashed recently into the village’s new police station has been charged.

Sam O. Kerlin, 44, of the 0-99 block of South Vail Avenue, was charged Nov. 16 with driving under the influence of drugs, speeding 35 mph or more over the speed limit, reckless driving and improper lane use, Arlington Heights police said in a statement.

The charges were filed after Kerlin was released from Northwest Community Hospital following treatment for injuries that he sustained during the one-vehicle crash on Nov. 11. The man told investigators last week while at the hospital that he had used cocaine and taken prescription drugs, including anti-depressants, shortly before the crash, which was captured on security cameras at the new police station, police said.

In the video, Kerlin can be seen driving a 2015 Volkswagen car at a high rate of speed west on Sigwalt Street around 5:30 p.m.

His car then veers off the road and flips over before crashing into the east side of the entrance of the new, $28 million police headquarters, which the police department was planning to move into later this month.

The construction project started during summer 2017 and was meant to replace the old station, which was originally built in 1979, with a modernized headquarters totaling 70,000 square feet.

Officials also were planning to host a grand opening event in late November for the new police station, which was built on the site of the old station at 200 E. Sigwalt St., but those plans since have been postponed to a later date, police have said.

Since the crash, an engineer also has assessed the building and determined that the damage was non-structural in nature, police said. Repair work is ongoing.

Cook County Branch Courts at Belmont and Western and at 51st St to close January 4th

From the Cook County Courts website:

The Circuit Court and Cook County have finalized the scheduled closing of two Chicago branch court locations – 155 W. 51st St. and 2452 W. Belmont Ave.  – to take effect after court concludes on January 4, 2019.

The two branch court closings, which were finalized as part of the budget litigation settlement between the county and the court, will help the county avoid $9.2 million in repairs, renovations and maintenance that would be necessary to keep the two buildings safe, operational and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The matters now heard at each city branch court are misdemeanor bail hearings, misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings.

The upcoming changes are:

  • Starting on December 10, 2018, all misdemeanor bail hearings at all five city branch court locations will move to the Leighton Criminal Court Building, 2600 S. California Ave. This brings all Chicago bail hearings to one location, as is currently done on weekends and holidays.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) and felony preliminary hearings at 155 W. 51st St. will move – depending on the location of the alleged offense – either to the branch court location at 727 E. 111th St. or the branch court location at 3150 W. Flournoy St.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. will move to 5555 W. Grand Ave. The felony preliminary hearings at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. and 5555 W. Grand Ave. will move to the Skokie courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, which is where those two branch courts’ cases already go when they advance to trial. Felony matters that arise in Chicago and are already heard in Skokie do not include Chicago murder charges and Chicago sexual assault charges, which are currently only heard at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Defendants should check their bail bond slip, summons, ticket or notice-to-appear documents for the correct court location. Those whose court locations may change will receive notice by mail from the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Defendants may also contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Criminal Department at (312) 603-4641.

 

Chicago considering allowing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to wipe out ticket debt

From WBEZ:

The Chicago City Council’s finance committee approved a measure Monday that would forgive ticket debt for some city motorists, but only those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The move is meant to steer indebted drivers away from Chapter 13 bankruptcies that rarely eliminate their debt. The proposed reform, which comes amid growing calls to overhaul the city’s ticketing and debt collection practices, was drafted by the Law Department and included in the 2019 budget package approved by the finance committee.

The measure would wipe away unpaid tickets, fines and fees issued more than three years before debtors file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as long as their bankruptcy plan is successful and they complete a city payment plan for more recent ticket debt. Late penalties and other fines, including boot and impound fees, would also be forgiven.

The measure seeks to address a significant problem uncovered in a ProPublica Illinois report in February: that thousands of mostly black and low-income motorists are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to cope with the consequences of unpaid parking and automated-traffic-camera tickets that often lead to license suspensions and vehicle seizures.

Chapter 13 is the only kind of bankruptcy in which municipal debt, such as unpaid tickets, can be forgiven. But it is rarely a good long-term solution for many people, particularly those with ticket debt. That’s because this type of bankruptcy requires debtors to hand over their disposable monthly income for up to five years, which people with limited incomes often find challenging.

If they stop making payments and their bankruptcy cases get dismissed, debt collectors can come calling again, and threaten license suspension and vehicle seizure. Fewer than one in four of these cases end with debtors successfully completing a payment plan and emerging from bankruptcy, ProPublica Illinois found.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies, on the other hand, almost always end with debt relief. But motorists in Chicago don’t often go that route for two reasons: Ticket debt can’t be forgiven using this kind of bankruptcy, and most lawyers require their fees to be paid in full before they file for bankruptcy protection…

Read the rest of the story here:  https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-considers-wiping-away-old-ticket-debt-for-motorists-who-file-for-chapter-7-bankruptcy/5407d3aa-1e5e-4e27-bc3d-4884c9b86c8f?utm_campaign=Daily_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown_Non-Members_20181106&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&mi_ecmp=News_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown-250ok_Custom_20181106%20-%20Batch&mi_u=960554

Wrestler Stephan “American Psycho Bonnar arrested for DUI

From the NY Post:

Dramatic footage shows UFC legend Stephan Bonnar being pinned to the ground and cuffed as he was arrested for DUI.

The fighter, nicknamed “The American Psycho,” was detained Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas after motorists reported his “erratic” driving at 90 miles per hour, police said.

Witness Katie Dyer, 29 said: “If nobody had stopped him I think he would be dead.

“He was going to hit something, whether it was a car or a wall, and another person could have died.”

Dyer was part of a convoy moving south along I-15 into Las Vegas when she says she saw Bonnar’s red Cadillac dart across the midsection of the road.

Footage filmed by her 10-year-old son, Chance, shows Bonnar crawling along, straddling the emergency lane and holding up traffic.

Dyer claims that she, along with other members of the Jeep club JeepFam, went on to “box in” Bonnar and reduce their speed, forcing him to stop.

Passing truckers, meanwhile, arranged their vehicles in a line across the road, which brought the convoy to a standstill at around 2 p.m.

Police and traffic cops were called to the scene, and footage shows a Nevada highway patrol officer arresting Bonnar.

Video shows Bonnar, 41, looking flushed as he is held face-down to the gravel by four of the Jeep club members…

Read the entire dramatic story here:  https://nypost.com/2018/10/31/ufc-legend-pinned-to-the-ground-during-dui-arrest/