Drunk Driver’s shirt says it all

DalyIf you are going to drive drunk, here are a few lessons you can learn from Kevin Daly:

1.  Try to avoid the DUI enforcement police squad;

2.  If you can’t do No. 1, try not to crash into their squad car; and

3.  Don’t wear a shirt stating that you are a drunk while doing this.

From the N.Y. Post:

f you’re going to get drunk and plow your car into a police cruiser, do it in style!

A fashion-forward Long Island boozehound lost control of his car and rammed it into a marked Suffolk County cop car that was on DWI patrol — all while wearing a T-shirt with a message that couldn’t be more fitting for the occasion.

I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings,” announced the black-and-white shirt worn by DWI suspect Kevin Daly, 23, of Coram.

The self-professed “drunk” — who has 13 prior arrests and seven convictions for various crimes — spun his 2000 Saturn out of control at about 1:45 a.m. yesterday as he attempted to turn east from County Road 83 to Route 25A in Mount Sinai, Suffolk County Police said.

As he came around the bend, he hit the side of a parked Suffolk cop car that was part of the department’s Selective Alcohol Fatality Enforcement Team, in which an officer had been observing traffic for possible drunk drivers.

Neither Daly nor the officer in the car, Armand Reyes, suffered serious injuries, police said.

After Daly was pulled out of his car, his words to cops were as candid as his shirt.

“I had two beers, the big ones . . . I deserve whatever I get. I was drinking and driving.,” he said, according to a police report. He also told police that the rain had a role in the smash-up.

“I tried to stop but I was going too fast for my brakes to stop on the wet road,” he said, according to police records.

Daly allegedly registered a .11 blood alcohol level and was charged with DWI and several traffic offenses.

When cops saw his alcohol-related outerwear they couldn’t help but be shocked.

Lt. David Geer called the shirt “ironic” and said, “It’s almost surreal to have that happen.”

However, he didn’t see anything funny in it.

“The T-shirt was announcing his feelings about intoxication,” Geer said. “I think anytime people take something as serious as alcoholism and driving a motor vehicle under the influence that lightly, it is an immature attitude.”

When Daly was hauled into court for arraignment yesterday, he had the shirt turned inside-out so it couldn’t be seen.

After the hearing, even his lawyer was amazed by the shirt’s message.

“You see people come in here all the time in weird clothes like pajamas, but his shirt was just ironic,” said attorney Matt Hereth.

Though cops said Daly was unemployed, Hereth said he had a job, but would not say what it was.

The Coram man — who has no prior DWIs despite his long rap sheet — had been on probation for a petit larceny, according to cops.

He was ordered held on $10,000 bail.

If you like this, see my earlier post:  Is this what you wear to your sixth DUI?

Thanks to Florida attorney Michael Kessler, who tweeted this story.

Time for re-training? Driver’s Ed teacher arrested for DUI

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Naperville Central High School driver education teacher facing drunken driving and theft charges is due in court this week, according to authorities.

Jeffrey Peterson, 54, and Carla Mooney, 49, took a taxi from a restaurant to their home in the 1300 block of East Gartner Road, Naperville, on May 29, but their credit cards were denied when they tried to pay the driver’s $7.40 fee, Naperville police Sgt. Lou Cammiso said Friday.

The lack of payment led to an argument, and police responded to the home just after 11 p.m., at which time an SUV pulled out of the garage and left, Cammiso said.

When it returned, police said they found Peterson behind the wheel and that he was intoxicated. Peterson was charged with DUI and theft of services. Mooney was charged with theft of services, resisting a peace officer and obstructing identification.

Susan Rice, director of communications for Naperville Unit District 203, said via email that Peterson has been a district employee for 30 years…

The district has made “an initial inquiry” into the matter, Rice said, but “does not comment on personnel issues including any disciplinary actions that may be taken.”

The future of DUIs?

ct-met-aj-1-dui-technology-0628-jpg-20130627From today’s Chicago Tribune:

Starting Monday, just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, Illinois will add a high-tech tweak to its fight against drunken driving: a camera installed near the dashboard of motorists charged with driving under the influence.

Of the estimated 11,000 motorists in the state required to have Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, more than 3,000 of them are caught each year trying to drive after drinking too much, said Susan McKinney, administrator of the state’s program. The Breathalyzer locks the ignition and stops them.

“We get an inordinate amount of people telling us it wasn’t them (blowing into the Breathalyzer),” McKinney added. “They say it was anybody but me. Now, the technology will allow us not to have to make a judgment call.”

Adding the cameras is the latest step in a movement that may bring even more technology to bear in the fight against drunken driving, a movement quietly gaining momentum even as it draws fire from those who think it would ensnare responsible drinkers and devastate the restaurant industry.

Prototypes in development would measure blood alcohol concentration through a touch pad on the dashboard or steering wheel, or perhaps through sensors that gauge the driver’s breath.

Illinois is far from installing that sophisticated technology, although Secretary of State Jesse White is “very interested” in the devices, spokesman David Druker said.

Motorists arrested on DUI charges can drive only with restrictions that include the ignition device. As of Monday, those restrictions also will require a camera on a visor, roof column or other unobtrusive spot that takes a snapshot when the driver blows into the Breathalyzer to start the car.

The camera activates again when he or she takes a Breathalyzer at random prompts three times an hour while driving.

I posted about this before (Smile while you blow?), and here were my thoughts then:

As you may know, the Illinois Secretary of State requires that most people who have been suspended or revoked in Illinois for one or more DUIs have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as a condition of a driving permit.  The BAIID will only allow the individual to start a motor vehicle so long as there is not a BAC reading of 0.025 or higher.  This means that a person can have a BAC that is well below the legal limit yet not be able to start his or her vehicle.  Because of this, it is quite common for people to find that they are locked out and unable to start their vehicle despite not having consumed alcohol for over 12 hours, and feeling completely sober.  When this happens, not only is the person unable to start the car, but he or she will then face repercussions for their “high” BAC, including but not limited to extensions of the suspension, revocation of the driving permit,and  impoundment or forfeiture of the vehicle.


Faced with such consequences, it is commonplace for the person in this situation to attempt to claim that someone else was responsible for the BAIID result.  Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t.  Currently, the person may contest the action of the Secretary of State and request a hearing, at which time he or she can present their evidence.  This requires the Secretary of State to weigh the credibility of the witnesses and evidence.  A photograph of the actual test will make this determination a lot easier, for both the Secretary of State and motorist involved.

State Police, Chicago, Naperville, Itasca and Rockford top the list for most DUI arrests in Illinois

DUIfieldtestsThe Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists has released its annual DUI arrest surveyt, and it shows that outside of the City of Chicago, Rockford had the most DUI arrests of any municipality in Illinois (although the State Police were the top DUI writers).  Naperville came second.  Itasca had the most DUI arrests per officer.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Naperville police collared more motorists suspected of drunken driving in 2012 than any other Chicago suburb for the third straight year, according to an annual survey by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.

Itasca, meanwhile, had the highest DUI arrest rate per officer statewide, the results showed.

The annual survey, funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, was based on data from more than 500 police departments.

Statewide, Rockford netted the highest number of DUI arrests outside Chicago for the sixth consecutive year with 699, followed by Naperville (576), Springfield (460), Peoria (426), Decatur (408), Carol Stream (389), Aurora (330), Elmhurst (324), Rock Island (323) and Normal (322)…

Itasca’s rate of 11.78 DUI arrests per police officer put it solidly in the state’s top spot for arrest rates for the second straight year, followed by Carol Stream with 6.59 and Fairview Heights with 6.33…

AAIM’s survey does not provide a complete picture, however. The response rate of police departments was about 84 percent, and the survey tracks arrests, not convictions. Some of the departments making the top 10 for number of arrests may not be surprising, as half of them also are in the top 10 for population.

Chicago is in its own category due to its size. Chicago police made 3,795 DUI arrests last year, a 25 percent increase over 2011. Illinois State Police arrested 7,220 suspected impaired drivers last year, a 25.7 percent decline, according to the survey.

Over the past several years, the state’s total number of DUI arrests has been dropping, falling to 38,704 in 2011 compared with 48,113 in 2008, according to Illinois secretary of state figures.

Massachusetts Woman locks herself in trunk, claims kidnapping, to avoid DUI

Some people will do just about anything to avoid a DUI (except not drink and drive).

Here is a story from Massachusetts that I first saw when my fellow Illinois DUI attorney Donald Ramsell shared it on a social media site.

A Beverly woman was arrested earlier this week after lying to police about being kidnapped in an attempt to avoid being arrested for drinking and driving.

Maria Brayfield, 24, was found locked in the back of her car at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning, June 17, just before exit 17 on the northbound side of Route 128 in Wenham by two passing motorists who had stopped to provide assistance to what they believed to be an accident.

Police said the motorists heard a woman and smashed the rear glass in the vehicle hatch to free her.

Brayfield told police that two masked men entered her Beverly apartment and forcibly abducted her. She said they ordered her to drive her car, and eventually pulled to the side of Route 128.

However, Beverly Police later reported that the investigation at the scene did not coincide with details of Brayfield’s account.

“Through investigation and interviews with the Criminal Investigations Division, it was determined that the story was made up,” said Officer Mike Boccuzzi of the Beverly Police Department.

Boccuzzi added that Brayfield later told Beverly police detectives when questioned that she was intoxicated and fearful of being arrested, hence the reason why she created the false story of the kidnapping.

“She did tell detectives her reasoning there,” said Boccuzzi.

Brafyield was charged on Monday with filing a false police report, according to Boccuzzi. Filing a false report is a misdemeanor crime that carries a court appearance.

“I know that the charges went through,” said Boccuzzi. “It’s now up to the discretion of the Salem District Court when she’ll be summonsed.”

Teen Drag Racing in Lake Co. ends with 16 year old passenger dead

betancourtdawsonSadly, this time of year is not just the beginning of summer, or the end of the school year.  It is also the time when there fatal auto crashes involving teens becomes a recurring news story.

From the Chicago Tribune:

By Ruth Fuller, Dan Hinkel and Lisa Black Chicago Tribune8:26 p.m. CDT, June 25, 2013

Two carloads of teenagers and young adults met up at a gas station in the far north suburbs before heading to a nearby stretch of road where they engaged in a street race, switching lanes and maneuvering for position, authorities said.

The race ended disastrously Monday night when one driver lost control of his car, which shot into the median ditch on Illinois Highway 120 in Gurnee, went airborne, rolled over and ejected two passengers, killing 16-year-old Cynthia Perez of Antioch, authorities said.

On Tuesday, prosecutors announced charges against both purported drivers. The teen alleged to have driven the car that crashed — Jeremy Betancourt, 17, of Antioch — is charged with reckless homicide, aggravated street racing and driving without either a valid license or insurance. Michael R. Dawson, 19, also of Antioch, is charged with aggravated street racing and having an expired vehicle registration.

A judge ordered each held on $250,000 bond, authorities said.

Kristy Morrison came upon the crash scene while driving to her Libertyville home. She said she saw a girl lying in the road, far from the car’s twisted wreckage. She felt for a pulse and found none before she saw another victim of the crash wounded and staggering toward the girl, she said.

“He was screaming, ‘My baby, Cynthia, my baby,'” Morrison said, before he fell and appeared to drift in and out of consciousness.

Betancourt and Perez were both going into their junior year at Antioch Community High School, and Dawson was recently a student there, said Jim McKay, Community High School District 117 superintendent. Class is not in session, but the high school will have staff available to students who want help coping, he said.

The teens in the car allegedly driven by Betancourt were hanging out at a friend’s backyard pool in Antioch less than two hours before the crash, said the homeowner, Christine Hartley, whose daughter was friends with Perez. The kids were well-mannered and respectful, Hartley said.

Before leaving, Perez asked Hartley’s daughter to hold onto a bouquet of spring flowers her boyfriend had given her. Perez worried they would wilt in the car while they swam, Hartley said.

“She was a beautiful girl,” Hartley said.

The drivers had met up at a gas station in Grayslake before the crash, said Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim. The groups appear to have known each other, said Gurnee police Cmdr. Jay Patrick.

Other drivers along Route 120 near Hunt Club Road saw the black 2004 Honda Civic — allegedly driven by Betancourt — try to maneuver around the red 2000 Ford Focus, authorities said. The Civic made a last bid to overtake the Focus and flew out of control, Nerheim said.

Perez and a 20-year-old man were flung from the back seat, police said. That man, Betancourt and a 18-year-old man were all taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, police said. Authorities did not describe their injuries.

Does AA’s take all comers, no questions asked policy create a risk of harm?

Over the years, I have had many, many clients who have benefited from their involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar support group.

These groups operate under a “take all comers, no questions asked” approach — i.e., so long as you are willing to show up and be respectful, they will let you into a meeting.

There is no pre-admission screening process, and no one reviews your background.  All they care about is whether you are “sick and tired about being sick and tired.” The person sitting next to you may be a lawyer, a counselor, or a convicted rapist.  Of course, the same thing can be said about sitting down at a fast-food restaurant, a subway car or a tavern.

In this article over at ProPublica, “Twelve Steps to Danger: How Alcoholics Anonymous can be a Playground for Violence Prone Members,” author Gabrielle Glaser writes about how some sick people see AA as a place to meet new victims.

No evidence is presented as to how common this practice is.

My take:  as in all things, you should use your common sense when meeting new people, particularly when they start asking for favors like loans or a couch to sleep on.  Unfortunately, many new members of AA are in a vulnerable place when they start, and the predators know this.  Still, this will hopefully not scare anyone aware from the help that AA can provide.

What do you think?