Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worst traffic in America---Nashville, Tennessee

Which city has the worst traffic? For years we have been hearing about the notorious traffic jams of Los Angles, the worst in the nation. But now a new study is saying hold on -- Nashville

Read about it on ABC NEWS at:

Vehicular Assault brings 4 year sentence to serve

A new case from the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the sufficiency of evidence and sentence of four years to serve.
In State v Teaster, the driver's blood test indicated she had taken prescription medications that had impaired her ability to drive. They included valium and soma. The driver slammed into and caused serious injury to an 85 year old victim.
Read the case at:

Effects of salvia

video

This person is showing the effects of salvia. Notice how he loses his ability to speak and fears his own hand. There is a reason the legislature banned this stuff!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tn Supreme Court reinstates taillight conviction

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reversed the Court of Criminal Appeals and reinstated the conviction in State v Brotherton. In the case a trooper saw a bright white light shining from a broken, but partially covered taillight. The light had been covered by red tape, but the tape only covered a little more than 50% of the light and bright white light was visible to the trooper.
The Court found the trooper had reasonable suspicion to stop the car based on the taillight. It made a point of stating that a taillight did not have to be in perfect condition. It can be properly repaired or covered with red tape, but if a bright white light is shining through an officer can stop the vehicle to check it out.
Read the case at:
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/TSC/PDF/103/State%20v%20Mike%20Brotherton%20opn.pdf

Monday, September 27, 2010

55 years for driver who killed Angel's pitcher, Adenhart

Nick Adenhart had pitched 6 scoreless innings in his first start in 2009 for the California Angels. Hours later he and two friends were dead. Two others were injured. The impaired driver, Andrew Gallo, 22, had a BAC of .19. Gallo had been convicted of DUI three years earlier and was still on probation when he crashed. Video in the trial depicted him and a friend drinking heavily at a bikini bar earlier in the evening. Gallo received a 55 year sentence for second degree murder in the case.
Read about the case in the Los Angeles Times at:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marijuana driving kills 3

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An arrest report says a 26-year-old driver smoked marijuana heavily for several days before falling asleep at the wheel of a tour bus that crashed in Utah, killing three Japanese tourists and injuring 11 last month.

Yasushi Mikuni was charged Wednesday with 10 felony counts of negligent driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor charge of having marijuana residue in his system.

Read the full story at:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Distracted Driving

The Department of Transportation is conducting a summit today concerning distracted driving. It can be seen live on C-Span or viewed later on that channel.

Watch it now or later at:

10 year sentence for vehicular homicide

Two motorcyclists were killed by a driver who had two pending DUI cases, including one in which she drove teenagers around while impaired. The driver, Sara Smith or Lamb, had a .13 BAC level and crossed into the path of the motorcycle. Smith was facing up to 32 years, but apparently benefitted from the fact that her childhood and past were pretty lousy.
Read about it in the Chattanoogan at:
Read about it in the Chattanooga Times Free Press at:

Sgt Mark Chesnut testimony

For those who don't wear a badge every day, the testimony of Sgt. Chesnut in the trial of those facing trial for attempted murder is chilling and revealing.
For those who wear the badge every day, the testimony is a reminder of how quickly danger can swoop in and take life on this earth away.
Read about it the Tennessean at:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Persistence is 3 DUI's in one evening

Police: Man crashes, tries to tow cars while drunk

A 54 year old guy in Washington crashed his truck into a utility pole. He walked home and got his wife's car and crashed it into a guard rail. He went back again and got his tow truck to try and tow the two vehicles. He pulled up to one of the crash scenes, while the police were investigating. He ended up with three DUI arrests. Read about it at:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ADAT Treatment

Last year 1,529 convicted DUI offenders completed in patient treatment in Tennessee, funded by the A.D.A.T. program. 80% of them did not get arrested again within 6 months of treatment completion. To receive ADAT funding the driver had to be indigent. This information was provided by the A.D.A.T. Director.

Vanderbilt Pediatrics

I heard a presentation today from Purnima Unni, MPH, CHES, Injury Prevention Coordinator of the Pediatric Trauma Program at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. She stated that 18% of pediatric emergency admissions are due to traffic crashes.
For children aged 10-14, traffic crashes are the leading cause of admission. 50% of kids in the pediatric emergency room for traffic crash injuries were not wearing seat belts.
Seat belt or surgery?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Three new DUI decisions

The Court of Criminal Appeals has issued three new opinions in DUI cases.

(1) State v Thompson: Defendant Thompson won a statute of limitations argument in the Trial Court. The Trial Judge dismissed a DUI after determining the statute of limitations for the misdemeanor had expired. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the decision. The case had not been tried in the Criminal Court within a year after arrest. However, the defendant had bound his case over to the grand jury prior to the running of the statute, so the prosecution had been commenced despite problems with the affadavit of complaint.

(2) State v Daqqaq: Defendant Nader Daqqaq used the old favorite defense of "my passenger was really the driver and the officers were either blind, stupid or dishonest." It did not work. The jury convicted and Daqqaq recieved a sentence including nine months in jail.

(3) State v Adkins: Defendant Adkins argued that his two prior convictions for DUI should not have been admitted and that the State did not prove that he drove and crashed his truck. The Court affirmed the Trial convictions.

To view the opinions go to:
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/tcca/PDF/103/adkinseopn.pdf
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/Tcca/cc3qtr2010.shtml
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/tcca/PDF/103/thompsonsopn.pdf

Lifesavers Conference

The Tennessee Lifesavers Conference was conducted this week in Nashville. It was attended by over 400 persons dedicated to saving lives on our highways. The Governor's Highway Safety Office and Director Kendell Poole had wonderful break out sessions for educational purposes. The luncheon speaker, Ken Sharp, runs a radio program in Los Angeles called Ridin Dirty, which focuses on changing behavior to eliminate impaired driving.
He noted, the time to change our society is now and it can be done. Remember the campaign to eliminate littering called Keep America Beautiful? Littering is extremely rare now. Of course, their was not a littering industry advertising littering like the alcohol industry. There were no pro-litter lobbyist in Congress. Ken is right though. The time to eliminate impaired driving is here and now. Once impaired driving is eliminated, won't people look back and ask what were those people thinking? Why did that society permit thousands and thousands of deaths on the highways every year? Why didn't people stop their friends, familiy members and co-workers from driving impaired? Did they not care about one another? Was driving impaired more important to them that the lives of their fellow citizens? Talk about it with your families, friends and co-workers. Stop the madness now!
Check out www.ridindirtyradio.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Supremes grant cert. in State v Cooper

The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of Alecia Cooper from a sentencing decision affirmed in the Court of Criminal Appeals. Cooper, a nurse, committed a DUI in Illinois and a second in Tennessee with a .22 B.A.C. within a week. The Trial Court sentenced her to serve 11 months 29 days at 100%, but indicated a furlough would be granted after 90 days, so she could attend in patient treatment. The Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the case with a presumption that the sentence was correct and that the appellant failed to overcome the presumption.

20 year Vehicular Homicide sentence


In Dyersburg, pro-se defendant Vincent Williams went to trial and decided to enter a plea.

Williams was accused of stealing a truck, leading police on a high-speed chase through town and crashing head-on into a pickup truck in front of the Dyer County Jail on July 25, 2009. The driver of the pickup truck, Jeffery Lynn Richardson, was killed.

Williams faced charges of first-degree murder, vehicular homicide as a result of intoxication, theft of property in excess of $1,000 and evading arrest in a motor vehicle.

With the consent of Richardson's family, District Attorney Phil Bivens entered into a plea agreement. Williams would plead guilty to the vehicular homicide charge and the rest of the charges would be dismissed. Williams accepted the maximum penalty for the crime as a multiple offender, 20 years. However, he will be eligible for parole after serving only 35% of his time, due to Tennessee sentencing law, where vehicular homicide is not considered a violent crime. Read the full story at:

Poll results

Fifty one people took the poll about potential 2011 legislation. No one could vote for more than one result. The winner with 54% of the results was a proposal to eliminate the implied consent refusal option for multiple offenders. In second place was a proposal to set a zero per se limit for illicit drugs and driving. In third place was the proposal to lower the extreme DUI level from .20 to .15. Thanks for your input. It will be reported to the DA's Legislative Committee for their consideration.

Learning about speed

At an SFST class at Arnold Air Base near Tullahoma yesterday I learned something new, proving even an old dog can learn new tricks. I never knew that as part of radar speed measurement training, every officer watches 20 cars in traffic and has to estimate the speed of the various cars within 5 mph, using only his/her senses. Correct speed estimates are required to complete the course. That should be a nice bit of evidence of training and experience in a case where a stop is based on speed. I asked the officers in the training how many Prosecutors they thought knew that tidbit. They answered none. Let's change that right now. Let your co-workers know about it. Use it in Court. Talk about it. The training that officers recieve is very diverse and extensive.