The Florida woman who killed three people when she backed her car into them in a church parking lot had her license suspended yesterday. The woman, 79-year-old Doreen Landstra, paid a $1,000 fine and will not be able to drive for at least one year.
Landstra will have to attend driving school and meet several Florida Department of Motor Vehicles requirements if she wishes to drive again.
She was charged with “improper backing” for a February 2 incident in which she backed into and killed three people in a church parking lot. Witnesses say it appeared Landstra thought she put her car in drive when she’d actually left it in reverse. She backed into three people, killing one of them instantly. Two others later died at the hospital.
Following her court date, the husband of a woman who was killed in the accident said he holds no grudges against Landstra.
“I have no anger against Doreen and I forgive her," John Paul said. "It was an accident. She didn’t mean to do it.”
Paul then said he doesn’t believe Landstra should be allowed to drive again.
“She should have had her license removed immediately and she should have stopped driving years ago," he said. "That’s the reason for the tragedy.”
Paul is not alone in this opinion. Many people left similar sentiments in the comment sections of articles about Landstra after learning that this was her second parking lot accident in the last three years. In 2011, she slammed her SUV into a McDonald’s building after accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brake as she approached the restaurant.
The increased popularity of electronic cigarettes has presented both lawmakers and business owners with difficult situations. Although the products are referred to as cigarettes, the electronic devices emit nicotine in the form of vapor rather than smoke. The relative safety regarding an individual’s personal health is still under review, but the lack of smoke and smell makes the e-cigarettes much safer for indoor use.
Thus far, there have been few laws passed regarding the use of electronic cigarettes. The technology is simply too new. According to the Examiner, however, a man in upstate New York was recently given a traffic ticket for “vaping” an electronic cigarette while driving.
The man, Jason Dewing, was given the ticket on a technicality. Although using an electronic cigarette while driving is not illegal, using a “portable electronic device” while a vehicle is in motion is prohibited.
This law was undoubtedly created to regulate the dangerous use of cell phones while driving. In fact, that’s what the officer that pulled Dewing over suspected him of doing.
“The officer truly believed I had a cell phone in my hand when he pulled me over,” Dewing said, according to the Liberty Crier.
Still, the judge presiding over his case claimed that an e-cigarette could be classified as an electronic device. Despite his protests, Dewing was found guilty in court of violating New York traffic law 1225-d on March 20, 2014. He plans to take his case to an appeals court, further explaining that he was using an e-cigarette rather than a cell phone. Dewing believes he has a strong case.
“The way the law is written, an e-cigarette cannot make a call nor can it send text or data; therefore, it cannot be a portable electronic device,” he said.
Several major cities, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have begun passing laws that treat electronic cigarettes similar to their regular counterparts by banning them for indoor use.
A Pottstown, Pa. assistant teacher quit her job because she was asked to transfer to another facility 35 miles away. After applying to get unemployment benefits, she has officially been denied by the Commonwealth Court.
Theresa M. Keim was working her $11.48-an-hour job at Montgomery Early Learning Center when her boss told her she was being transferred to a facility that was 35 miles away. Keim made the decision to quit because the commute “would result in more wear and tear on her car.” In addition, Keim told the court that it was “a bit too long of a drive” and “she is not a long-distance driver.”
The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review initially turned down her request for benefits, so Keim turned to the Commonwealth Court with her request.
Senior Judge James Gardner Collins said that Keim never even tried to commute to the new job before quitting. Collins also noted that she never tried to see if she could carpool with anybody or take public transportation. In the end, the court decided that the longer commute didn’t present a “necessitous and compelling” reason to quit.
A 21-year-old Phoenix woman has pleaded guilty to charges against her after a 2012 incident in which she left her baby on the roof of her car and drove away.
Catalina Clouser was reportedly under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident. She has been charged with single counts of child abuse and DUI.
According to reports, Clouser, then 19 years old, was at her friend’s home smoking marijuana after finding out that her boyfriend was arrested on DUI charges. When she left her friend’s home, she unknowingly placed her baby boy, who was strapped in his car seat, on the roof of her car and drove away.
Clouser drove 12 miles home before realizing that her son was not with her.
Witnesses discovered the baby still strapped in his seat lying in the middle of the road. The baby was taken to the hospital but did not sustain any injuries.
Following the incident, the child was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.
A Columbus, Ohio school bus driver who caused a boy to suffer whiplash and a concussion after driving drunk has been sentenced to five days in jail for the November incident.
Tia Denton was driving her normal school bus on November 25 of last year when she was pulled over for driving erratically. Denton blew into a Breathalyzer and her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.216 percent, well above the legal limit in Ohio.
Denton was initially convicted to 180 days in jail, but a judge reduced her sentence to only five days. The parents of the child who suffered the injuries said that while they respected the judge’s decision, they didn’t exactly understand it.
“I respect the judge’s decision,” said the boy’s mother Angela Williams “As far as satisfaction, I don’t know yet. We’re still trying to process everything.” Her husband Dion added that they would be happy, “if this never happens again to another Columbus school student.”
The students on the bus at the time of the incident reportedly yelled out the windows, ““She’s going to kill us! She’s going to kill us,” as the Denton sped through the streets.
“I cannot express my regret and my remorse for what I have cost you and your children and families who are not represented here in court,” said Denton during the sentencing. ““They [Columbus schools] gave me a position of trust and I betrayed it.”
In addition to her five-day prison sentence, Denton is also required to complete two years of probation as well as six months in an in-patient program for alcoholism.
On Monday, Opposing Views reported on the tragic wrong-way car crash that killed six people in Diamond Bar, California. Authorities initially determined that the driver, Olivia Carolee Culbreath, might have been drunk when she sped down California’s 60 Freeway in the wrong direction.
Now, police say that 21-year-old Culbreath had a history of driving offenses, including a DUI conviction at the young age of 16. According to reports, Culbreath had a slew of other offenses that earned her restrictions on her license, but just last week, all of those restrictions were supposedly lifted.
Police have now been able to identify the six victims who died in the crash. The two passengers in Culbreath’s car, 21-year-old Kristin Young and 24-year-old Maya Louise Culbreath, Olivia’s sister, were both killed in the accident. The car that was hit head on had four passengers inside, and all unfortunately died. That family of four included Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Ester Delgado, Leticia Ibarra, 42, and Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20. Jessica Mejia was the daughter of Gregorio Mejia-Martinez and Leticia Ibarra, and Ester Delgado was Jessica’s grandmother.
“We are just in a lot of pain right now,” said an unknown member of Culbreath’s family. “We are just devastated for everyone else involved.”
Culbreath herself survived the accident and was taken to the hospital in stable condition after suffering a broken femur and a ruptured bladder. The 21-year-old is facing serious charges for her drunk driving wreck that killed six others.
Reports note that Maya Culbreath, Olivia’s sister who perished in the crash, also had a string of DUI convictions and had her license taken away last year. An investigation is still ongoing.
Two very similar car wrecks happened over the weekend, and both sadly resulted in multiple fatalities.
The first happened in California when 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath crashed head on into another vehicle while driving the wrong way down the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar, California. Police say they found evidence of alcohol in the vehicle after responding to the crash.
Culbreath was injured in the crash but did make it out alive. Six people died from the wreck, including two of Culbreath’s passengers as well as the family of four that they collided with.
“The officers had sufficient evidence and believe that she was impaired at the time,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez.
“Not only are the parties who are involved affected by this, but the family members of the parties,” continued Jimenez. “As an emergency personnel, this is something that we never want to see. We train for this but never actually have to want to use that training.”
Four people died on the scene, and two others died later on at the hospital. Culbreath suffered a broken femur and a ruptured bladder and was listed in stable condition. She already faces criminal charges for the fatal crash.
Around the same time, another wrong way crash happened in Florida that left the driver and four promising college students dead. The driver was speeding the wrong way down the center lane of Interstate 275 in Tampa around 2 a.m. Sunday morning when he collided head-on with a car full of young students. All four students were between 20 and 22 years old and were killed instantly. The driver who caused the crash was also killed.
The Florida crash was caught on camera by someone on the other side of the highway. It is deeply disturbing and clearly shows the cars collide and burst into flames. Watch that video below.
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
Two bars in East Stroudsburg, Penn., that were sued by a man paralyzed due to drinking and driving have reached a settlement in the case. The bars will pay the man a combined $6.6 million.
Jason Mercado says he was celebrating at Pub 570 one night after playing on the bar's softball team and decided to have some drinks. At one point in the evening, Mercado says he told the bartender he'd had enough to drink, but she allegedly insisted that he have some more and told him that she would drive him home later on.
At some point in the evening, the two drove to a different bar, Sticks N Stones Bar and Grill, and Mercado, who at that point was visibly intoxicated, was served alcohol by the bartender there. Mercado eventually fell asleep on a bench outside the bar, and when he woke up around 9 p.m., he couldn’t find his friends. So he went inside, saw his keys sitting on a table, and decided to drive himself home.
On the drive home, Mercado crashed into a tree and flipped his car multiple times.
Now, the man is a quadriplegic and requires care 24 hours a day. He needs assistance with everything, from dressing himself to using the bathroom. Mercado's lawyer, Robert W. Sink, estimates that his lifetime medical expenses will be around $34 million.
"This was a tragedy and no amount of money will compensate my client, but given the facts of the case we had to make a compromise to get the case settled," said Sink.
Still, the case would have been difficult to prove in a court. Mercado was in part responsible for the accident and his condition, but lawyers say that the two bars violated Pennsylvania laws by allowing him to continue drinking when visibly intoxicated and allowing him to drive home.
"And if the jury found the drunk driver was more than 50 percent at fault, then he would have gotten nothing," said Sink. "So there was a substantial risk of going to trial based on that alone."
The case was settled in a one-day mediation, and both bars will have to pay different amounts for their roles in the accident. Mercado will walk away with a little more than $3 million after attorney fees and taxes.
A Chicago police department announced this week that anyone arrested for DUI will be subject to having their name publicly tweeted for the entire world to see.
Riverside Police Department decided to start doing this after they say more incidences of driving under the influence of a substance have occurred recently.
“I’m hoping that seeing these names, and seeing the amount of arrests that Riverside makes, will send a message,” said Police Chief Tom Weitzel.
The department hopes that by tweeting the names of impaired drivers, more people, specifically those under the age of 30, will see the real results of drinking and/or using and driving.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Officers will tweet the names, ages and the towns of residence for offenders after they either post bond or make a court appearance.” They will also tweet the “names of drivers who are charged with illegal drug use,” as well as “the names of anyone arrested for driving with a license that was suspended or revoked because of drunk driving.”
The department has made it clear that they will not be releasing any information that they wouldn’t normally release under public information laws. The Riverside Police Department’s twitter handle is @PDRiverside.
A 13-year-old girl has been charged with homicide after a joyride with her friends resulted in a fatal car crash.
Almani Kreamer was pronounced dead at Franciscan St. James Hospital in Chicago. He was just 12 years old. The 13-year-old driver appeared in court after the wreck last week for an arraignment on charges of reckless homicide, reckless conduct, and possession of a stolen vehicle.
According to reports, the 13-year-old girl was driving the vehicle with her friends when she lost control and hit a tree. Neighbors rushed to the scene and encouraged the children to stay in the vehicle until an ambulance came. Witnesses say a girl inside was crying for help. The other children were all treated at St. James Hospital and were released shortly after. Police have not released the names or ages of the other children in the car, but its been confirmed that they were all under the age of 16.
"I just want the other children to understand because they were all in the car together," said Regina Anderson, mother of victim Almani Kreamer.
"What was he saying?" asked Anderson of her son’s untimely death. "Did he suffer?"
Neighbors of the young suburban boy are mourning his death and searching for answers.
“He was a fine young man,” said neighbor Beverly Reed Scott. “We loved him.”
Terrell Neely says that seeing the 13-year-old girl driving a car was not a surprise to him.
"A while ago, she said that her mom let her drive on her birthday when it was her birthday a couple months ago, and she said her mom let her drive the car around,” said Neely.
A full investigation into the tragic accident is still underway.