New - November 2000
and Other News in the DUI Prevention Community
made it to the top! And drank your life away..
of Michigan engineering student died this past Monday after
celebrating his 21st birthday with 20 shots of scotch in
10 minutes, police said. Byung Soo Kim was blue and unconscious
when he was found early Saturday. He died at a hospital,
where he had been admitted with a blood-alcohol level of
0.39 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for driving,
police said. Eleven friends had gathered in an apartment
building Friday night to celebrate his birthday. Police
said Kim was trying to down a shot for every year of his
life but passed out after the 20th drink. Friends told investigators
they put him in the back bedroom and when they checked on
him an hour later, they discovered he was not breathing.
The police stated because he was legally 21, there was no
cause for investigation.
comes slow, but has finally been served.
Vermont a man who seriously injured a University of Vermont
student two years ago while driving drunk has been sentenced
to serve three to 10 years in prison. Noah Greer, of Charlotte,
had pleaded no contest to one count of drunken driving with
serious bodily injury resulting. Greer was sentenced in
Vermont District Court on this past Friday. Greer's car
hit Megan Clothier on Sept. 11, 1998, while she was crossing
Pearl Street. Clothier, now 23, suffered permanent brain
damage and has problems with short-term memory as a result
of being hit. It was Greer's second drunken-driving offense.
His blood alcohol level was .109 percent at the time of
the accident. The legal limit in Vermont is .08 percent.
to show you, not everyone is perfect!
police officer resigned Tuesday when faced with termination
after he allegedly smashed into the rear of a car while
drunk on Cumberland Avenue, records show. James Aman, a
10-year veteran of the Knoxville Police Department, was
told that the department was already planning to fire him
after Internal Affairs found he had violated department
allowed to use sick days and vacation time to extend his
employment until Dec. 30 so he could take advantage of the
city's employee assistance program. He will have no police
powers during that time. Mr. Aman blamed his drinking on
stress. According to the reports, Aman got off work at 7
a.m. Oct. 31 and went home. Aman spent time with his 15-year-old
son during Halloween and dressed up as a soldier in camouflage
and face paint. He said he took some Tylenol cold pills
and drank some cough syrup while at home. Aman said he had
a few mixed drinks at home and went about 10:30 p.m. to
a bar called Banana Joe's. He said he only stayed a few
minutes before leaving for Moose's Music Hall on Cumberland
Avenue, and stated he only drank two beers. Police records
show that at 1:42 a.m., Aman drove his 1994 Toyota 4x4 pickup
truck into the rear of a compact car stopped for a traffic
light on Cumberland Avenue at Volunteer Boulevard. The impact
smashed the trunk of the 2000 Kia Sephia into the back seat
and propelled the car at least 100 feet, records show. As
the driver of the Sephia, Lawrence Brady, 29, and his passenger,
22-year-old Tiffany Turpin, both of Shaler Lane got out
of the car, they saw the driver of the truck running away.
They said the driver never checked on their welfare and
didn't say a word before fleeing on foot, according to the
Internal Affairs file. Brady, who had just bought the Sephia
the week before, was treated at Fort Sanders Regional Medical
Center for injuries to his head and ankle. Turpin did not
require medical treatment. A University of Tennessee police
officer rushed to the crash and radioed another UT officer
of the fleeing driver. University of Tennessee Officer Melissa
Dilbeck said she encountered Aman a block from the crash
but when she ordered him to stop, he just shook his head
and ran away, records show.
from the crash, Knoxville officer Larry Presnell drove up
behind Aman on Highland Avenue. Presnell said before he
could say anything, Aman placed his hands in the air and
surrendered. Aman's face and clothing were bloody because
his nose had been broken in the crash, so Presnell said
he didn't at first recognize Aman as a fellow officer. Aman
told Internal Affairs investigators he doesn't recall anything
about the crash. Asked why he ran, he said, "I guess I was
scared. I don't know." Presnell cited Aman with drunken
driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He refused
to submit to an alcohol test. He is scheduled to be photographed
and fingerprinted Nov. 16 at the Knox County Jail and has
not appeared in court on the charges
the blame on the system for his drinking
of Bradeton,Fla is being sued by a teen-age driver who was
seriously injured in a traffic accident because he says
a police officer failed to arrest him for drunken driving
minutes before the crash.
L. Garcia filed suit last week in Circuit Court, alleging
that officers who found him at a 1999 disturbance told him
to drive home. He crashed his car minutes later, rupturing
a plastic aorta now. For a (teen-ager), that's pretty wicked,"
attorney Wade Thompson said. Garcia and his mother, Betty
Hernandez, are seeking damages exceeding $15,000. They say
Garcia's medical bills are nearing $100,000.
have declined comment.
went to a home at 1:20 a.m. Feb. 9, 1999, after a man found
Garcia climbing into his stepdaughter's window. She had
apparently invited him in, a police report said.
said Garcia, then 16, was obviously drunk -- he stumbled,
his car was parked cockeyed and numerous open beer cans
were visible in the vehicle. But the officers let him drive
away, he said.
him to his car and put him in," Thompson said. Bradenton
officer Robert Semler made no mention in his report that
Garcia was drunk. Semler later resigned from the department
after admitting a crack cocaine habit.
A few minutes
after Garcia drove from the girl's home, he failed to negotiate
a curve and slammed into a tree. Florida Highway Patrol
Trooper Rick Wells wrote in his report that Garcia had a
strong alcohol smell and his eyes were bloodshot.
test found that Garcia's blood-alcohol level was double
the legal limit for adults and almost 10 times the limit
for minors. He later pleaded guilty to drunken driving and
received one-year probation and a fine.
more phony blocks on road in Iron County , Utah
Deseret News staff
Utah - A controversial police tactic, designed to help cops
nab drivers toting or using drugs and alcohol on the road,
has been temporarily shelved in Iron County but remains
vibrant throughout the rest of the state.
County Attorney Scott M. Burns has his way, the surveillance
maneuver, dubbed the "no-block roadblock," will remain on
the shelf permanently.
Patrol troopers regularly conduct "no-block roadblocks"
that consist of strategically placed officers and a sign
set up along the highway shoulder. Sign messages reading
"drug-sniffing dog ahead," or "narcotics officers, checkpoint
up ahead," are the normal bait, UHP spokesman Chris Kramer
examine cars passing the sign and watch for drivers who
behave suspiciously. Kramer cited obvious examples like
flipping a U-turn or throwing things out a car window as
reasons cars would be pulled over.
blatant but still suspicious offenders are followed and
are pulled over if they disobey any minor traffic law. Troopers
then conduct a routine traffic stop, although they are often
shadowed by a drug-sniffing canine while sidling up to a
dogs can pick up any sign of drugs even when they're outside
the car," Kramer said. If the dogs sniff something suspicious
it gives troopers probable cause to rifle through the vehicle,
law police agencies must garner a judge's approval before
conducting a roadblock. With a court setting specific guidelines
including dates, duration and purpose for the traffic checks,
agencies can use roadblocks. Burns says the UHP never receives
court permission for "no-block roadblocks," making the resulting
argues the signs don't constitute roadblocks but merely
trick would-be drug users and dealers; thus his department
doesn't need court approval.
a roadblock because we're not stopping traffic," he said.
doesn't buy the argument.
is that this is an attempt to circumvent the statute, and
if it is, I'm confident that an appellate court is not going
to allow it to continue," he said.
the potential violation of state law, Burns says, the process
may infringe on constitutional rights involving search and
patrol has set forth a plan and will present it to a judge
to see if it conforms with the Fourth Amendment," Burns
roadblocks, then, should soon become court tested or rejected.
Burns said Iron County has four DUI cases pending that stem
from arrests derived out of the "no block" searching procedure.
When the process is given a judicial once-over it could
be reinstated or disallowed altogether. Kramer said the
UHP, often in cooperation with local police agencies, will
continue to use the "no block" strategy in all other Utah
counties as the Iron County legal saga unfolds.
block roadblock" is used with greater frequency in southern
Utah, where Kramer says drug syndicates use the rural highways
as routes for interstate trafficking.
Sheriff Dude Benson said he wouldn't rule out using the
"no block" method but is steering clear of the current debate.
between the county attorney and the highway patrol," he
said. "We're staying out of it."
ordinance in Winona, Minnesota targets college keg parties
Minn. (AP) August 14 -- Hoping to curtail loud parties and
underage drinking in this college town, city officials are
considering an ordinance to penalize residents caught with
more than one keg of beer in their homes.
the proposal, which will go before the City Council in a
few weeks, residents caught with more than one keg in their
homes can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to $700
in fines and 90 days in jail.
9, 000 students attend St. Mary' s University and Winona
The idea is if you curb the party -- you curb the underage
drinking, you curb the noise and you curb the litter, "
Mayor Jerry Miller said. " I realize kids go to school and
they have parties, and we' re not going to stop that --
we' re just trying to control it."
at both universities approached the police to get their
help in keeping its students safe.
The presidents of both colleges have come to me in the past
few years saying, ' We need help. The kids are getting too
drunk and getting injured and damaging property, " ' Police
Chief Frank Pomeroy said. " (They said) we need to get the
emphasis on education and not on being a party town."
after similar ordinances in St. Cloud and Mankato, the one-keg
proposal also comes partly in response to the Rental Housing
Code passed in March. That Winona ordinance penalizes landlords
for public nuisance arrests made on their property.
police make arrests three times within one year, the landlord
could lose his or her rental license. So landlords wanted
help from the city to prevent big parties from getting out
What we don' t want to do is to penalize the average person,
" Miller said. " There are some people who have kegs in
their house and don' t cause any problems. If you had 10
kegs in your house and didn' t make a lot of noise, the
police would never have a reason to come to your house."
proposal is already causing a stir among students.
determined to drink are considering block parties where
each house would have one keg. Others say they' ll just
move the parties farther away from town, inching into the
rural areas away from the watchful eye of the ordinance.
I know there are ways around this -- there always are, "
Miller said. " You can have one keg in the house and two
kegs waiting in a car ... I mean, I went to school too,
Spaeth, 21, a senior at Winona State University, lives at
Pepsi House, which has the reputation of throwing the most
parties off-campus. The house usually holds parties -- with
five to seven kegs -- twice a week. He isn' t too supportive
of the proposed ordinance.
Uh, that wouldn' t be good, " he said. " I think maybe it
would cut down on big parties, but we' ll just probably
have ... parties instead where you fill up a garbage can
with juice and hard alcohol."
students say the ordinance could be a deterrent to large
It' s going to stop people from having more parties, and
especially large parties that will attract attention, "
said Andy Davis, 23, a sixth-year senior at Winona State.
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to Speed? Pre-Paid Traffic Tickets Spark National Debate
- Let's face it. Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket.
So the National Motorists Association has come up with what
they think is a brilliant idea: Pre-paid traffic tickets.
insurance-like program, which offers to pay for DUI violations
as well, has sparked a nationwide controversy about safety
on America's roads.
works like this: For a monthly fee of $5 to $50 - the amount
varying based on the amount of coverage - NMA members can
'insure' themselves for up to $1,000 of traffic violations
each month. As long as the ticket involves points on the
license, the association will pick up the tab. The violation
can be anything from speeding and illegal lane changes to
drunk or reckless driving.
that more and more these days, the (traffic) laws are unjust,"
says Eric Skrum, a spokesperson for the driver advocacy
group. "This is simply a way to help people fight unwarranted
and unjustified tickets."
offers a 'legal defense kit' to all those who enroll in
the 'pre-paid' program (they can't officially call it insurance
because they are not licensed to sell policies). The purpose
of the 9-pound kit, Skrum said, is to point out ways in
which officers can get things wrong, not to highlight loopholes
in the law.
want to make people aware of their legal rights," he said.
American Automobile Association, the nation's oldest motoring
club, sees it differently.
you're paying because you're anticipating breaking the law,"
says Mantill Williams, AAA's national spokesperson. "It
flies in the face of good sense and logic and we don't think
it's going to promote safe driving."
some statistical studies have shown a direct link between
excessive speed and traffic accidents. According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
nearly a third of all fatal crashes in 1998 were speed-related.
In addition to the human tragedy, the economic impact of
such accidents averages to nearly $30 billion a year.
Wisconsin-based NMA, which lobbied to eliminate the 55-mph
national speed limit in 1995, insists that many of the country's
speed limits are under posted. According to Skrum, politics
influences posted speed limits more than engineering studies
do, with some states under posting 'for revenue purposes
alone,' he said. The message: Just because you were caught
speeding doesn't necessarily mean you were driving dangerously.
fast and driving recklessly are separate issues, Skrum says,
and the normal deterrence to reckless driving are still
there: "People don't want to hurt themselves. They don't
want to damage their cars. They don't want to injure others.
And they don't want to pay higher premiums," he says.
about 30 people have signed up for the pre-paid traffic
tickets. But if the NMA deems the program useful to its
7,000 members, it may extend the offer to non-members as
well. That is, only if Wisconsin's Insurance Commission
- which is currently looking into the legality of the program
- doesn't nip the program in the bud first.
Back to top
Father Pleads No Contest in Teen Party Case
Wisconsin - A Town of Eagle father has pleaded no contest
to a ticket for failing to prevent an underage drinking
party where middle-schoolers videotaped themselves drinking,
using drugs and fondling each other.
Burner, 44, must pay $427 for the non-criminal ticket, Circuit
Judge Mark Gempeler ordered.
son and other 13- and 14-year-old students who attended
a Dec. 11 party at Burner's house made the videotape to
cheer up another girl who was hospitalized with a spinal
injury after a drunken driving crash.
lighting up for you. . . . Wish you were here," a youth
said on the video.
Police Chief Hans Lux said he had warned Burner that his
son was planning an underage drinking party.
said that Lux expressed concern only about traffic, not
drinking. Yet Burner said he stayed at home to supervise
the party, and locked his beer in a car trunk to keep it
from the teens. He said they went outside to a barn where
they drank and smoked marijuana without his knowledge.
attorney, Carlos Gamino, said in an interview that Burner
was pleading no contest only because he didn't want to embarrass
his son by forcing the son's friends to testify at a trial.
did not appear in court and repeated attempts to reach him
for comment Thursday and Friday were unsuccessful.
Attorney Paul Bucher said he believed there was evidence
Burner "knew or should have known" about the beer that some
teens brought to the party in backpacks.
in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Aug. 21, 2000.
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to September 2000 Update