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?

Feds conducting intrusive “voluntary” roadblocks

How would you feel if you came to a roadblock and a sheriff’s deputy asked you to come with him to a room where they asked you whether or not you had drank or used narcotics recently?  And if you would agree to a blood or saliva sample?

From CNN.com:

The roadblocks went up on a Friday at several points in two Alabama towns, about 40 miles on either side of Birmingham.

For the next two days, off-duty sheriff’s deputies in St. Clair County, to the east, and Bibb County, to the southwest, flagged down motorists and steered them toward federal highway safety researchers. The researchers asked them a few questions about drinking and drug use and asked them for breath, saliva and blood samples — offering them $10 for saliva and $50 to give blood.

It’s not just in Alabama. The roadblocks are part of a national study led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is trying to determine how many drivers are on the road with drugs or alcohol in their systems. Similar roadblocks will be erected in dozens of communities across the nation this year, according to the agency.

It’s been going on for decades. Previous surveys date to the 1970s. The last one was run in 2007, and it included the collection of blood and saliva samples without apparent controversy, sheriff’s spokesmen in both Alabama counties said…

And Susan Watson, executive director of the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the use of deputies to conduct the survey an “abuse of power.” Even though the survey is voluntary, people still feel they need to comply when asked by a police officer, she said.

“How voluntary is it when you have a police officer in uniform flagging you down?” Watson asked. “Are you going to stop? Yes, you’re going to stop.”

The agency said in a statement that the survey provides “critical information” to reduce drunken or drugged driving.

“Impaired driving accounts for more than 10,000 deaths per year, and findings from this survey will be used to maximize the impact of policy development, education campaigns, law enforcement efforts and other activities aimed at reducing this problem,” it said. The program costs about $7.9 million over three years, from planning the study to analyzing the results, it said.

“The survey provides useful data about alcohol and drug use by drivers, and participation is completely voluntary and anonymous,” it said. “More than 60 communities across the country will participate this year, including two Alabama counties, both of which also participated in the previous survey in 2007. NHTSA always works closely with state safety officials and local law enforcement to conduct these surveys as we work to better inform our efforts to reduce drunk and drugged driving.”

The agency said the 8,000 drivers expected to take part will do so voluntarily and anonymously, and researchers follow “a highly scientific protocol and complex statistical design in order to accurately reflect the problem nationwide.”

In the 2007 survey, about 7,700 drivers gave saliva samples and 3,300 gave blood at survey sites run during both day and night. Among drivers who were interviewed at night, 12.4% had alcohol in their systems, while about 16% had used marijuana, cocaine or over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

Read the entire story here:  http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/19/us/drug-survey-roadblocks/index.html

Florida Deputy Sheriff arrested for DUI while on duty in squad car

From the Huffington Post:

 Kevin Meyer 911 Call

Sgt. Kevin Meyer, a 23-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriffs Dept., was arrested May 5 for DUI. Although he was off-duty, he was wearing his uniform and driving an official vehicle at the time of his crash.

Officials in Orange County, Fla., released a 911 call and radio transmissions made on the night a local sheriff was arrested for DUI — while wearing his uniform and driving an official vehicle.

On the radio transmission, Meyer inaccurately describes the car he allegedly hit, a gold Toyota.

“It’s a Kia, it’s gray in color,” relayed Meyer, ClickOrlando.com reported. The car was actually a Toyota.

The 911 call of the crash site released by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s office has an unidentified male caller describing the scene.

“This cop almost hit me. Let’s put it that way. He was taking two lanes and he was going super fast and he hit this other car,” the 911 caller said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Sgt. Kevin Meyer, a 23-year veteran, crashed the car May 5 while driving to an off-duty job at Walt Disney World. He was arrested two hours after the crash and refused to take a field sobriety test, ClickOrlando.com reported.

Later, a breath test revealed his blood alcohol level was .13, nearly twice the legal limit of .08. Investigators later found a Powerade bottle in his vehicle containing a pink liquid that smelled like alcohol, WESH-TV reported.

Meyer’s DUI trial is scheduled to begin July 1. He has been on administrative leave since the accident.

Asked for his license, man instead hands cop a beer

medinaFile this under “How not to handle oneself when investigated for DUI”!

From KIRO-TV.com:

By Casey McNerthney


A drunken man who was stopped by police handed the officer a Miller Lite when asked for his license, police said.

Prosecutors said the behavior by Omar Medina, 26, isn’t surprising. They said he habitually drives without his license and this is his fourth arrest for an alcohol-related driving offense investigation.

He’s been charged with felony DUI.

Shortly before 9 p.m. June 8, police were called about a DUI suspect near the 7-Eleven at 18012 West Valley Highway in Kent. A caller said the driver was erratic as he pulled into the parking lot, and police said three people watched Medina urinating next to his blue Chevrolet car.

“Upon arrival I observed a subject matching the description exit the store holding a plastic sack that contained a can of Miller (Lite),” Detective Matt Lorette wrote in a probable cause document. “The subject denied driving the vehicle and was having difficulty walking.”

Medina denied driving the Chevy and tried to walk away, though he had trouble doing so.

“I asked him for his driver’s license and he handed me the can of Miller Lite,” Lorette wrote.

Lorette eventually gave his identification card, and once he was put in handcuffs police said he was upset.

“Omar became combative and said he was an assassin for the US Government,” Lorette wrote. “While at the jail I advised him of his rights which he said he did not understand (and) said he did not respect my authority/organization.”

Police said Medina then refused to take a breath test and repeated his earlier statements about being a killer. His vehicle did not have an ignition interlock device. Court documents show he has two prior convictions for driving without a required ignition interlock device.

The State Department of Licensing lists Medina as a habitual offender for driving with a suspended license. Court documents show Medina received his first DUI here in 2005 for an incident in Renton. He also has a history of domestic violence and resisting arrest.

He has failed to appear in court at least nine times since 2006.

“He is a grave danger to the community given his obvious inability to not drive when he is impaired,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim wrote in charging documents.

Medina remains in King County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.