Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


11Man Shows Up To DUI Sentencing Drunk, Then Leads Police On Car Chase

A Georgia man who allegedly arrived drunk to court for his DUI sentencing fled the courtroom Tuesday and led police on a car chase.

James Earl Johnson, 44, of Decatur, was sentenced to 63 days in jail after he failed to pay more than $2,000 in fines for a previous DUI conviction.

Michael Thifault, a witness in the Johns Creek courtroom, said Johnson was “argumentative” with the district attorney and his parole officer.

When his sentence was announced Tuesday morning, Johnson ran from the courtroom, jumped into a truck and drove away.

During a pursuit, police say Johnson drove his truck at an officer.

When police caught up to Johnson in Suwanee, he was uncooperative. He was Tasered and taken into custody.

“He was non-compliant in his probation and I guess his acts were consistent with his acts as a probationer also,” City Solicitor Bill Riley told WSB-TV.

Johnson was taken to a local hospital before being booked into Fulton County Jail.

On Wednesday, he was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless driving, fleeing and attempting to elude, obstruction and driving with a suspended license, in addition to DUI.

Sources: UPIAJC

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11Woman Who Was Forcibly Stripped By Police Officers Awarded $355,000 In Settlement (Video)

A Chicago woman has been awarded a $355,000 settlement after suing police for strip-searching her during a DUI arrest.

33-year-old Dana Holmes used surveillance footage captured in the police station as proof of her allegations that the four LaSalle County sheriff’s deputies were inappropriate when they forcibly strip-searched her following her arrest. The deputies said the their actions were justified because Holmes, who was over the legal blood alcohol limit, resisted their initial pat down.

"There's a lot of people that get DUIs, a lot of people that just make mistakes in life," said Holmes. "That still doesn't give them a reason to do what they did."

The video shows the three male officers and one female officer holding Holmes face down to the ground while they forcibly removed all of her clothes, including her underwear.

“I was terrified. I felt helpless,” said Holmes at the time of the incident. “I was scared and I lay there crying... I just prayed.”

“There are on-duty deputy sheriffs humiliating and grouping a female inmate,” said Holmes’ attorney Terry Ekl. “It makes you wonder: Were these guys ever trained?"

Following the arrest and strip-search, Holmes sued the county because she felt the deputies violated her rights and caused her emotional harm. In the end, the county decided to settle the case.

“The county and department believe it’s in everybody's best interest to focus on policies and protocols moving forward, rather than spending time and money fighting over who was right and wrong,” said attorney James Soto.

The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department says they are working to enact a new strip search policy so that situations like these can be avoided in the future.

“There’s been a gap in these policies as to what’s permissible and not permissible in those situations,” said Soto.

11Vermont School Bus Driver Pleads Not Guilty To DUI After Driving Kids While Over Legal Limit (Video)

A Vermont school bus driver has pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI while operating a school bus and child cruelty.

Carl Lupton, 57, of Bethel, Vt., was reportedly drinking the night of March 23 before driving a school bus from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. the next day, according to myChamplainValley.com.

“A staff member came in and said ‘I think I smell alcohol on the driver's breath,’” said Orange-Windsor Supervisory Union Superintendent David Bickford.

South Royalton school officials contacted the supervisory union and Butler’s Bus Service after smelling alcohol on Lupton’s breath.

Butler’s conducted a third party sobriety test, which Lupton apparently failed. The company called police who also performed a sobriety and BAC test. Lupton blew above a .04 which is above the legal limit while driving a school bus, according to court documents. Lupton was charged with DUI while driving a school bus and child cruelty.

Emo Chynoweth, vice president of Butler’s, told FOX 44 the sobriety test was part of company policy, and when Lupton failed, he was immediately fired. Chynoweth noted that calling police after such an instance is not mandated, but they did anyway.

According to court papers, Lupton has been arrested five times for DUIs -- including the incident on March 24. He was convicted of a DUI once in 2006.

State and federal law mandate that school bus drivers undergo a three year driver’s background check. Chynoweth says they followed both laws. He claims they knew Lupton was convicted of DUI in 2006, but they wanted to give him another chance.

Lupton appeared in Windsor County Criminal Court Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty to both DUI and child cruelty charges.

Lupton told WPTZ he had been drinking some red wine the night before he got arrested, and was surprised to find it was still in his system.

“I didn't intentionally get up on Monday morning and drive a school bus around, I never would have done that,” Lupton said. “I had a good time with the kids on the bus. I got along with them well, I loved driving them to all the football games and soccer games, I thought I had found my niche, and I’m really sorry I had to mess that up, and I am sorry to all the parents.”

Lupton says he only went inside the South Royalton School that day to report a fight that happened on his bus, and he was looking out for the safety of the students.

Lupton is set to be back in court April 26.

11Drunk Driver Charged With Killing Her Own Children, Injuring Two Others

A North Texas mother is facing manslaughter charges after she allegedly lost control of her car while intoxicated, killing two of her children and injuring two others.

Crystal Suniga, 30, was charged Sunday after crashing her Honda Pilot, carrying her four children, into two parked cars in Irving around 8 pm Saturday.

Police believe she was speeding, driving between 60 and 90 mph in a neighborhood where the speed limit is 30.

The vehicle then rolled onto its side and landed against a house. The four children had been wearing seatbelts, Suniga was not.

Suniga’s 10-year-old son Ricardo Hernandez and 14-year-old son Angel Reyes were both partially ejected and then pinned under the car. They died at the scene.

Her 16-year-old son suffered a crushed pelvis and is being treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Her 12-year-old daughter suffered minor injuries and was treated at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

Suniga, who sustained minor injuries, was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter, two counts of injury to a child, and one count of intoxication assault.

“Certainly it’s tragic,” said police spokesman James McLellan said. “Here’s someone who caused the death of her two children. It was completely avoidable and unnecessary, but she still needs to be held accountable.”

The SUV landed in Eric Sorto’s yard; he had been sleeping at the time of the crash. The vehicle narrowly missed his front bedroom where he and his girlfriend were sleeping.

A group of neighbors tried to pull Suniga and the children from the wreck, but they couldn't get to the boys who were pinned.

“It was like a nightmare,” he said, “like seeing something you’d see in a movie.”

Police markings of tire tracks in the yard show Suniga was driving the wrong way before she veered into the correct lane, jumped the curb and landed on Sorto’s lawn.

Sources: Dallas Morning News, CBS DFW

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11Car Slams Into SXSW Crowd Killing 2, Injuring 23 (Video)

A suspected drunk driver attempting to outrun police slammed into a crowd of people on the street in Austin, Texas, early Thursday.

Two died and at least 23 people were injured in the collision outside Mohawk Bar on Red River Street at 12:30 a.m. The bar was hosting the 27th annual SXSW festival.

The two people who died were on a moped, which was rammed by the driver, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The car crashed into a cab and the driver leapt out and tried to run. Police at the scene apprehended him with a stun gun.

Acevedo said the car chase occurred when an officer at a drunk-driving checkpoint attempted to stop a silver Toyota sedan.

The driver veered into a gas station to avoid the checkpoint and took off going the wrong way down E. 9th Street. He made a right on Red River, barely missing a police officer, then plowed through security barricades and hit concertgoers at the Mohawk bar.

Acevedo described it as a "total disregard for the sanctity of human life."

Sources: Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News

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11Man Arrested For DUI Says He Thought Going For A Drive Would Sober Him Up

A Florida man arrested for driving under the influence told cops he was attempting to “drive it off” after he had an argument with his wife.

Michael Moore, 61, was pulled over for speeding in Hobe Sound, Fla., at 12:35 a.m. on Feb. 13.

The arrest affidavit said that Moore’s breath smelled strongly of alcohol and his speech was slurred.

Moore failed a field sobriety test and then admitted he had “a couple of drinks.”

He told police he left the house after having an argument with his wife about his drinking.

He said he was headed to another bar for “a few” more.

At the Stuart Police Department, authorities gave Moore a breathalizer. His blood alcohol content was 0.104. The legal limit is 0.08.

Sources: New York Daily News, UPI

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11Georgia Man Charged In Wedding Day Car Crash That Killed Wife

After being charged with vehicular homicide following the death of his bride, Georgia man Ryan Quinton was released on bail.

The couple had just left their wedding reception in December when Quinton suddenly swerved at the sight of, he says, a dog in the road. As a result, the car rolled down an embankment.

Quinton’s bride was trapped underneath the car, but Quinton himself managed to reach the road for help. When a witness, Chris Thomas, saw Quinton stumbling down the road he stopped and called 911.

"He was shaken up. He wasn't making a whole lot of sense. He was hysterical," Thomas said of Quinton.

Thomas said the most difficult part was telling the wedding party, still dressed for a celebration, what had happened.

Crime lab results showed that Quinton’s blood alcohol level that day was .114, though the legal limit in Georgia is .08.

On Wednesday morning Quinton turned himself in to the Cherokee County Police Department, admitting that his dog story was untrue.

Quinton was charged with a DUI and vehicular homicide.

Sources: WSB Atlanta, AJC

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11Girl Smokes Marijuana, Leaves Her Baby On The Roof Of Her Car, And Drives Away

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.

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11 Florida Police Chase Ends With Smashed Fire Hydrant, Vehicle Swallowed By Sinkhole

A wild police chase on the streets of south Florida ended in the strangest way possible.

The chase came after Ivanka Cancic, 50, ran over 68-year-old Betty J. Greene before fleeing the scene. Couric then slammed into a hydrant, flooding neighborhood streets early Monday morning.

When police arrived to the scene, the water had already caused a condominium’s parking lot to sink in, partially swallowing a parked SUV.

“I saw my car, I thought, ‘Oh my God, how am I ever going to get that out of there?’” the car’s owner Diane Duchesne told the Sun Sentinel.

The hit-and-run victim, Greene, was walking with her church group when Cancic struck her with her pick up truck, police say. Greene hospitalized and recovering after her arm was run over.

“She said she awoke to find herself under the truck and the tire was rolling over her arm,” her son, Darron Jackson, said. “She has tire marks on her arm right now.”

Cancic was found passed out with her head on top of her truck’s steering wheel. Cops found a near empty bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila inside the vehicle.

Deputies say the driver asked them, “What happened?”

Cancic asked to be taken to the hospital, where she caused a scene, according to Jackson, whose mother was taken to the same hospital. He said Cancic could be heard down the hall from her mother’s hospital room.

“She was screaming, saying she was going to call internal affairs on the police and saying that she did not want to give a blood sample.” Jackson said.

Cancic was arrested at the scene on multiple charges including DUI, DUI property damage, fleeing the scene of a crash and driving with a suspended license.

Judge John “Jay” Hurley declared Cancic to be a “very, very, significant danger to the community” Tuesday during a court hearing. The Sun Sentinel reports Cancic has nearly a 30-year history of drug and driving violations.

She was ordered to remain in jail without bond.

Source: Sun Sentinel, NBC 6

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11Three Motorists Bravely Box In Drunk Driver On Interstate Before He Hurt Someone

When three good Samaritans spotted a blue mini-van driving erratically on a New York highway this past Monday, they boxed him in and called police.

Driver Briana Cole says the driver, 48-year-old Paul Kostraba, was all over Interstate 390.

“I thought somebody was going to die,” Cole told 13WHAM-TV.

Driver Josh Kuba said he suspected Kostraba was having a medical emergency, but when he didn’t respond to attempts to get him to pull over he realized Kostraba might be intoxicated.

Kuba pulled his truck in front of the van to prevent Kostraba from exiting the interstate. Kostraba slammed into his truck.

Cole pulled up behind the van to block him from getting out. A third driver parked alongside Kostraba until police arrived.

“There was no way for him to move,” Cole said. “He tried to start his car and tried to go again, but he had nowhere to go.”

Kostraba was booked into Livingston county jail for DWI and other charges. His license was revoked.

Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty said deputies at the scene described Kostraba as “highly intoxicated,” although they do not know what his blood alcohol level was.

His wife, who was allegedly intoxicated as well, was a passenger in the van.

While Dougherty says the public isn’t encouraged to make such interventions, he thanked the three drivers.

“They felt that this guy was putting everybody in danger,” Dougherty said. “And they didn’t have time for the police to arrive.”

Sources: 13WHAM-TV, WROC-TV

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