Watch This Texan Make A Citizen’s Drunk Driving Arrest

Texas drunk driving arrestAlthough the news is full of drunk driving arrests and drunk driving crashes, you don’t really hear a lot about someone making a citizen’s drunk driving arrest. Someone may call 911 because they see a suspected drunk driver on the road, but you don’t often hear about a private citizen formally arresting a driver.

But that’s what happened in Houston, Texas recently when Alejandro Fernandez spotted a car that was being driven erratically on the roads. He was with his family at the time, so someone pulled out a camera and started filming the driver of the other car.

You can watch the video and see how they trailed the suspect, following him into a parking lot and waiting for him to pull over. Obviously the driver realized he was in trouble and, wanting to avoid a drunk driving arrest, attempted to pull his car out of the parking lot. That’s when Fernandez and another man pried open the door and pulled him out of the car.

While holding the suspect, Fernandez performed a citizen’s drunk driving arrest and waited with him for police to arrive. How does a citizen arrest work? According to Texas laws, anyone can arrest another private citizen without a warrant if they have committed an offense within their view and the offense is a felony or against the public peace.

In this case Fernandez knew that the parking lot was full of parents and their children, so he had to make the arrest to stop the man from driving again. That’s a smart decision, especially considering there are many drunk drivers on the roads who aren’t stopped until the crash and kill someone.

All’s well that ends well with this drunk driving arrest, and although police do rely on citizen’s help to stop drunk drivers, they’d much rather you pull over if you need to, safely call 911 to report that driver, and wait for police arrive. That way you’ll have helped apprehend a drunk driver, but you won’t get hurt yourself.

When California Drunk Driving Offenders Skip The Interlock

California Drunk Driving California drunk driving offenders have added a level of violence to some of the busiest roadways in the entire country, and it’s hard to believe how bad the DUI crashes have been. In a state where a drunk driver crashed into and killed a pedestrian, embedding him in the windshield before driving home, any type of drunk driving scenario seems possible.

Tulare County has seen their fair share of these drunk drivers, and that might be why the county took part in the ignition interlock pilot program and requested that the program be extended. Thankfully California has passed an ignition interlock law that will take effect in 2019, because one recent case shows exactly why California drunk driving offenders need to be kept off the roads.

A repeat offender from Visalia was convicted of DUI in 2014. Because Tulare County had their ignition interlock pilot program in place, he was required to install an ignition interlock. He was also ordered to attend DUI classes and was put on probation.

Just like he made the choice to drink and drive, he made the choice not to install his ignition interlock and he skipped his court-ordered DUI classes too. Because he didn’t have the ignition interlock to stop him he drove drunk again, this time crashing into another vehicle head on and killing one woman while also injuring five other people.

He’s probably wishing he had installed the ignition interlock, because he’s taken a life and he’s now going to be spending 15 years in state prison. He’s not the only repeat offender who’s decided to skip the interlock, and just like all states who pass an all offender law, compliance is one of the many issues California will have to face when interlocks are required in 2018.

Until that point police have their hands full with these drunk drivers, and they can only hope that a situation like this doesn’t happen again before that point.

Tiger Woods May Enter Florida Diversion Program

Florida Diversion ProgramBy now everyone has heard about how Tiger Woods was picked up by police after he was found passed out on the side of the road. Now he may be skipping the status of being a first offender in Florida by entering the Florida Diversion Program.

When Woods was arrested he stated he had not been drinking and his breathalyzer results confirmed that because both tests given turned up zero readings. He was still charged with DUI, and it was discovered that he was driving under the influence of pain killers and sleeping pills. In Florida like most other states, that makes him just as much of an impaired driver as anyone who’s driving over .08.

When his case appeared in front of a judge recently, Woods’ lawyer entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of drunk driving in Florida. Entering that plea may take him out of the running to receive the typical penalties for a first offender – jail time, driver’s license suspension, and the possibility of an ignition interlock if you blow over 0.15 BAC, and allow him to enter the Florida Diversion program.

If Tiger Woods enters the Florida Diversion program he’s in for a long 12 months. The terms and conditions of the program are harsh for anyone. The good news is that he won’t lose his driver’s license and he’ll be able to drive normally. The bad news? He’ll have to abstain from alcohol and drugs as well as comply with the following:

  • He’ll need to drive with an ignition interlock for three to six months
  • He’ll be on probation for one year
  • Must pay fines up to $500
  • He’ll need to complete DUI school and do up to 75 hours of community service
  • He may need to submit to random urine testing

At the end of the 12-month program Woods will have a clean driving record with no evidence that he’s had a DUI at all. But if he fails the program or registers a violation in any way, he could spend up to 90 days in jail.

The Florida Diversion Program is a smart choice for anyone charged with drunk driving in the state. It may be difficult to work through, even Tiger Woods, but it’s the only way to keep a DUI off your permanent record.

 

Pleads Guilty To Drunk Driving, Goes To Jail, Drives Drunk Again

pleads guilty to drunk drivingWhen an offender pleads guilty to drunk driving after causing a crash and killing another person, the victim’s family doesn’t always receive closure from that plea. No matter what, moving on will seem impossible.

That may be because the momentary sense of relief that comes from knowing the person who killed your loved one is going to pay a price for doing so is ever so slowly replaced by a creeping fear that a crash like that could happen again to someone else.

No one who’s lived through losing someone to drunk driving wants another family to live through the same situation, but it happens all too frequently. One case in Adrian, Michigan, is the perfect example of what can happen when someone pleads guilty to drunk driving and doesn’t learn their lesson the first time.

Victor Walworth, a 16-year-old who was riding his bike home, was struck and killed by drunk driver Christopher Villanueva, a 20 year old not even old enough to drink. In exchange for pleading guilty to driving on a suspended license causing death, he was given six to 15 years in prison. He served his entire time thanks to Walworth’s parents opposing an early release.

What did he do when he was released from prison? He drove drunk again and caused another crash, injuring himself and his three passengers. He’ll be charged again for drunk driving, but the Walworth family believe that he re-offended because Michigan’s drunk driving laws are far too easy going on all offenders.

The Walworth’s would like to see a few changes come to Michigan’s laws, and that includes:

  • Ignition interlock for all offenders: unlike a growing majority of states, Michigan doesn’t have an all offender interlock law on record as of yet
  • No bail or early release from prison for drunk drivers: Villanueva may have received early release if the Walworth family did not stand up and oppose it at his hearing

These two changes to Michigan law could lock down repeat offenders like Villanueva; people who think nothing of spending eight years in jail then drinking and driving again. With an interlock on their vehicle after release, that just wouldn’t be possible, so let’s hope Michigan gets on board with interlocks sooner than later.

Friday fallout: Ignition Interlock Compliance Can Reduce DUI in Illinois

ignition interlock IllinoisIf no one ever tried to innovate in the fight drunk driving, there would be no police grade breathalyzers, no ignition interlock devices, and no roadside checkpoints. Life would go on as it did back when cars first hit the roads, and decade after decade would pass with drunk drivers claiming the lives of even more innocent people than it does now.

That’s why it’s not surprising that an opinion writer in Champaign County, Illinois has come up with what he hopes could be a solution to stopping drunk drivers. Although he acknowledges that both Illinois and Champaign County are already tough on drunk drivers, with an all offender ignition interlock law in place and numerous other penalties to deter drunk drivers, he also feels as though there could be other steps the county could take to stop these drivers.

Focusing on the issue of stopping people who have been drinking from driving home after they leave the bar at night, he’s suggested three steps:

  • Anyone who has a Class A liquor license, including restaurants, pubs, bars, and nightclubs, would be given a breathalyzer device and the training to use it. Using the breathalyzer would be one of the conditions under which that establishment could serve alcohol
  • Any person who drives a vehicle to a place that serves alcohol would be required to hand over their keys to the bartender before they could be served
  • When the person leaves the bar, he or she would have to blow into a breathalyzer before they would get their keys back. If they blow over the legal limit of .08, he or she would receive a free parking sticker and a shuttle would be called to get them home safely

These are good ideas, and they definitely take a new approach to the fight against drunk driving, but the implementation of a program like this would be difficult. On a busy night a bar would have their hands full with people who would need to blow before they could leave, and that wouldn’t stop anyone who just happened to have an extra set of keys in their pocket either. The room for error when obtaining a sample is also high, and there would have to be a rigorous training program for anyone who would be operating the breathalyzer.

A better idea of Illinois is to establish an ignition interlock compliance program and ensure that each and every offender who should be using an interlock actually is using an interlock. Because it’s so often repeat offenders and people driving on suspended driver’s licenses who make the choice to drink and drive over and over again, putting the brakes on these offenders is exactly what Illinois needs to curb their rate of drunk driving.

Drunk Driving Crashes Aren’t Meant To Be Livestreamed

drunk driving crashes livestreamBecause anything can happen when you mix alcohol and driving, drunk driving crashes can be as minor as a vehicle hitting a pole or unmanned parked car or as catastrophic as a crash that takes many lives.

No two drunk driving crashes are alike because no two drunk drivers are alike. That might explain why some drunk drivers will wait quietly after a crash for police to arrive while others will do something that would seem absolutely crazy to most drivers: live-stream a crash and share it with the world.

It’s hard to believe, but that’s the unfortunate choice a young woman from California made recently. She was driving her car with her 14-year-old sister and a friend in the backseat, and at the same time she was live-streaming her drive to Instagram. As the audio played you could hear the driver and passengers shift from singing along with the music to screaming while the car rolled.

Because they were not wearing seat belts the crash caused the driver’s passengers to be ejected from the vehicle, and the next part of the video shows the driver standing over her sister, trying to wake her up while talking right into the camera. She says she knows her sister is dead, that she’s going to jail, and that she’s sorry.

It would be hard to watch the video if it was done for shock value as a public service announcement (PSA) put on my Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) or a police department, but when you know it’s real it’s even more difficult to understand. How could someone make the choice to drink and drive and live-stream the aftermath?

Because it was shared on social media the fallout of this drunk driving crash can’t really be determined. Although the video has been removed by Instagram, there’s no telling how many people have watched it now that it’s been shared widely online, and Instagram has issued a statement asking people to immediately report videos like this and to always call 911 if they are witness to a crime while using social media.

As for the driver, she’s been charged with suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and is currently in the Merced County Jail.

A drunk driving crash like this leaves you with more questions than answers, but the bottom line is that a young girl is dead and her sister is in jail for killing her because of drunk driving.  Maybe this crash and how it was shared will make people sit up, take notice, and remember what they watched the next time they’re tempted to drink and drive.

 

Friday Fallout: Florida Drunk Drivers Haven’t Slowed Down A Bit

florida drunk drivers use golf cartsIf there’s one thing that’s true about Florida, it’s that the rate of Florida drunk drivers never seems to slow down. It doesn’t matter what county you’re in or which part of the city you’re driving in; odds are that you or someone you know will come in contact with a drunk driver, and it could be in the strangest places.

Here’s a look at a few of the unusual situations Florida drunk drivers have gotten themselves into lately.

Golf Cart DUI in Palm Beach

Most people don’t think of a golf cart as a vehicle, but according to Florida drunk driving laws, you can and will be arrested for DUI if you drive drunk on a golf cart. One woman in Palm Beach didn’t take that seriously, and after witnesses watched her drive her golf cart over the curb and into traffic, she was stopped by police.

The officer asked her if she was drinking and her reply was, “Do we have to do this?” Unfortunately for her, the answer to that was yes. After a breathalyzer showed her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was three times the legal limit, she was charged with drunk driving on a golf cart.

Gainesville mother arrested with kids in the car

In Florida and many other states, there are extra penalties if you’re caught driving drunk with your children in the car. That doesn’t stop people from making that choice, and one young mother in Gainesville was arrested after she was caught driving drunk with her two year old and four year old in the vehicle.

Not only was she drunk, when asked to take a breathalyzer test police found she was four times the legal limit of .08. With a BAC that high, she wasn’t just at risk of crashing and killing her children, she was also close to having alcohol poisoning.

Both of these cases demonstrate one thing: the need for an all offender ignition interlock law in Florida has never been stronger. Unfortunately a bill that was just proposed, requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders in the state, has died before it could be passed.

Until Florida joins the thirty other states who have signed on for an all offender law, Florida drunk drivers will be out on the roads, and situations like these will become even more common than they already are.

Normalizing Or Condemning? MTV’s Take On Driving Under The Influence

driving under the influence

Image from US Weekly

The only thing that’s true about reality television is that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Television shows that give people a glimpse into the life and drama of strangers have been extremely popular for a long time, but what happens when a reality TV show highlights something that’s illegal, dangerous, and definitely not entertainment? That happened recently when MTV made the choice to broadcast one of the stars of Teen Mom OG as he was driving under the influence of drugs.

Ryan Edwards was filmed driving to his own wedding with his fiancé in the vehicle beside him. From the video clip you can see his eyes closing, how he’s having trouble staying awake, and you can hear how his voice sounds slurred. It’s obvious to his fiancé in the clip that he’s under the influence of something, and she shuts the cameras off to confront him.

When the show aired fans were shocked MTV made the choice to air that clip, and many questioned why MTV didn’t step in and stop him when it became clear he was driving under the influence. Given the dangers of DUI and how easily it would have been to crash and kill someone, it’s hard to understand how a major network could justify it.

MTV responded by saying they don’t condone DUI and he was driving without anyone’s prior knowledge of his condition as there was no cameraman in the car. That doesn’t explain why whoever shot the clip for the show didn’t realize he was impaired, or why his fiancé didn’t ask him to immediately pull over.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, street drugs, or prescription drugs isn’t something that should be used to add excitement to a reality TV show. Although MTV did air a disclaimer at the end of the program and provided an update so the public knows Edwards has since sought drug counseling, it’s still a poor choice on behalf of the network. It looks like an attempt to normalize driving under the influence, and let’s hope that’s the last time someone is shown in the middle of a DUI on reality television.

Teen Thanks Police For Her Arrest For Drunk Driving

thank you for arrest for drunk drivingWhen a police officer has made an arrest for drunk driving, they’re usually expecting the worst from that person. After all, he or she is drunk, they likely understand they are in a lot of trouble, and they’re probably not that happy that they’ve been arrested.  What police wouldn’t expect is that someone would publicly thank them for making that arrest, but that actually just happened in California.

Cheyenne Iglesias is only 18 years old, but she’s a convicted drunk driver in California. She was pulled over in Huntington Beach, a popular spot for drinking and driving, after Officer Grant Hasselbach spotted her swerving and making wide turns in her car.

The legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in California may be .08, but the legal drinking age is 21. Iglesias was down on both counts when she was stopped: not only was she an underage teen consuming alcohol, she also blew above .08 on a breathalyzer. Just like anyone else, she was sent to a holding cell.

Receiving an arrest for drunk driving must have been a shocking experience, especially considering her penalties included a stiff fine and probation. She also had to meet with victims of drunk driving via Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Instead of being angry about her situation, Iglesias decided that she needed to thank her arresting officer. She turned to Facebook to post a thank you to Officer Hasselbach for saving her from a future of drunk driving. Although it may have been the first time he was publicly thanked for arresting someone for drunk driving, she definitely wasn’t his first arrest.

Hasselbach has arrested over 100 drunk drivers during his time working in Huntington Beach, and the police force there arrested over 350 people for drunk driving the year Iglesias was arrested. This is just one city in California, but it’s a fairly accurate representation of the entire state when it comes to drunk driving.

This arrest record is one of the reasons why the state of California has passed a law requiring ignition interlocks for their DUI offenders. By 2018, offenders like Iglesias will be required to use an ignition interlock after they are stopped for drunk driving, and although she doesn’t need another reason to stop, maybe the new law is exactly what the rest of California’s drunk drivers need to reevaluate their choices.

One Of The Craziest Drunk Driving Stories — But He Wasn’t Charged With DUI!

crazy drunk driving storiesPolice officers have seen it all, and if you asked them for their craziest drunk driving stories they’d probably be able to talk for hours. But one police officer’s story in Roswell, Georgia may top them all. And the craziest thing is that the offender didn’t even end up being charged with drunk driving.

It all began when someone reported a reckless driver on a highway near Roswell. In order to corral him before he managed to kill someone, witnesses tried to box his car in. The driver hit a few cars and forced another driver off the road, and he even drove up on the sidewalk before he pulled into a school parking lot.

When police arrived on the scene the driver was losing consciousness, and his passenger was as well. Police assessed the situation and decided that the driver was under the influence of drugs, and would need to be revived with a shot of Narcan.

Narcan is an opiate antidote. If someone is overdosing from drugs, a shot of Narcan can reverse it by blocking opiod receptors in the brain.

In this case, the police officer administered Narcan. Because of that and the fact that he was receiving emergency treatment, they couldn’t do a blood draw. That means there was no blood evidence that the driver was drunk at the time of the crash, and instead of being charged with DUI he was charged with two hit-and-runs.

For the police officer involved it’s probably just another one of his crazy drunk driving stories, but there’s a valuable lesson here for everyone: overdosing and having to receive a lifesaving shot of Narcan is a pretty extreme way to avoid a DUI. If you asked this offender, he probably wouldn’t recommend it.

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