Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red light intersection crash videos

In an effort to educate drivers a montage of red light crashes caught by red light cameras has been released by American Traffic Solutions.
Read about the video at:

Watch the video at:

DUI 2nd affirmed

At 3:30 a.m. on an April night in Somersville David Austin drove his tractor to a store. The clerk knew him and noticed he was having problems. She called the police. When the tractor was stopped, the driver appeared to be "completely unfit to drive", according to Sergaent Justin Powers. A blood test indicated the defendant had consumed Soma and Lortab.
The opinion affirming the conviction can be read at:

Not guilty plea entered in Millington homicide that killed 4

On Christmas Eve in Millington four women were killed. A 32 year old man from Jackson was arrested and charged with four counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication. He has entered a not guilty plea and his attorney has stated that his own investigation has begun. Read about it in the Commercial Appeal at:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Talk to your D.A.!

A question raised during the training Tuesday was whether a person should be charged with an Implied Consent violation, when he attempts to refuse, and is mandated to submit. District Attorneys may not agree on one answer. To get it right in your jurisdiction, ask the District Attorney. If you are charging I.C, you must read the ramifications of refusal. If not, you don't need or want to waste your time telling someone what happens when they refuse. The warnings only apply to the Implied Consent charge.

implied consent

I just recieved word that TRI-COR, the State Printing Agency now has the new implied consent forms ready. Jan 1 is just around the corner!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Thanks to the 191 prosecutors and officers who tuned in to our webinar about the mandatory blood testing law, which goes into effect January 1, 2012. I hope you pass the word to all in your departments. I hope the transition to the new law will be smooth. I will respond to questions posted Thursday. Tom

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Surgoinsville bans synthetic drugs

A number of cities have been trying to protect their citizens from the effects of synthetic drugs. Reported in the Kingsport Times News is a ban by the town of Surgoinsville. The cities appear to be taking preemptive action as they wait more legislative action by the General Assembly.
Read about it at:

NTSB Recommends cell phone and testing ban.

The National Traffic Safety Board has studied the use of cell phones and texting by drivers and has recommended that all States ban the use of cell phones and texting for all drivers, except in emergency situations.
Read a synopsis of the final recommendation at:

Tell us how you would vote on this recommendation in our new poll on the right side of the blog page!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

14 years for hit and run driver who killed horseback riding 12 year old.

Amber Kendrick was a happy 12 year old child riding her horse. She rode with two young men when she was killed by 28 year old Richard White near Jackson, Tn. White driving a pickup truck crashed into the child and her horse, killing them both. He then took off from the scene.
He has now been convicted of reckless vehicular homicide, his 4th driving on revoked license crime, possession of marijuana, and leaving the scene. After killing the girl, he removed the license plate from his truck and took off.
There is nothing more heartless and cruel than to leave a child in such a situation. Let's hope Mr. White changes his ways during his short time in prison. Amber's family does not get a second chance. Their loss is forever.
Read about the plea in the Jackson Sun at:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dragon Crash Lawsuit

A family has filed a 14.5 million dollar lawsuit against a trucking company after a motocyclist on a Triumph Triple Speed motorcycle crashed into a semi truck that was alleged to be blocking both lanes of traffic. According to the Daily Times article there have been 17 motorcyclists killed on the Dragon, an 11 mile stretch of U.S. Hwy 129, in the last six years. One has involved a large truck.
Several Nashville riders, including members of the family of this biker, mounted a campaign shortly after the crash to persuade legislators to ban tractor-trailers longer than 30 feet from using the Dragon.
Read the article at:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cookeville impaired driver tries to eat car seat!

How drunk do you have to be to think that eating the back seat of the patrol car is a good idea?

Read about Charles Jones' arrest and remember he is presumed innocent unless and until he os proven guilty at:

Gustavo Reyes denied parole recommendation

Five years into a 25 year sentence, Gustavo Reyes, was given a parole hearing. Reyes was made famous when he killed a Mt. Juliet couple after being spared deportation numerous times. His hearing was granted after he had served 21% of his time. He has not been a good prisoner with multiple behavior violations and a drug violation. The hearing officer was not impresssed. Read about it at:

Vehicular Homicide Sentencing in Washington County

An impaired driver who crashed into a home and killed has been sentenced to serve 8 years for vehicular homicide by intoxication. Ashley Langworthy was driving over 90 mph with a BAC of .16 when she went airborne and killed 71 year old Glenn Smith in his living room. She sought alternative sentencing.
Read about the hearing at:

Blood testing article from Rutherford County

Congratulations to Rutherford County for setting up a system in which the blood draw for DUI cases takes place at the jail. The County has a contract with a local Doctor to provide services. The system removes hospitals from the system completely. This is a good model for improvement in one county system.
Read about it at:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DUI Traffic Stop leads to Homeland Security Investigation

In Kingsport, a Liberian citizen, Garbiel Tutuboy Quewea, was stopped for DUI. During a search of his vehicle an unusal clay type ball wrapped in plant matter comparable to a corn husk was discovered. The man refused to identify himself. Hazmat units were called in after preliminary testing indicated the item may be a biological weapon. The material had been taken to the justice center, which had to be evacuated. The driver was later identified and was wanted by Homeland Security. An officer never knows what he may encounter in a traffic stop!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Synthetic stimulants leave college student in psych ward.

Thanks to Ben Benton and the Chattanooga Times Free Press for their report concerning synthetic drugs in Tennessee. It is an excellent example of journalism concerning a dire issue. Read it at:

Vehicular homicide guilty plea in Blount County

The Maryville Daily Times has reported that Jeffrey Knight, 42, has pled guilty for killing Brittany Thomas, 21 and her baby daughter Aiden, 10 months. The homicides happened in February, 2010. The mother and grandmother of the victims stated that the guilty plea was "the tip of the iceburg on the path to justice". She indicates she will work for stricter sentencing for impaired drivers and work to educate young people, because she does not want this to happen to anyone else.
Knight apologized during the hearing, but called his crime an "accident". It is no accident to drive with a .20 Blood alcohol level.
Read the article at:

New case alert: Always wear your seat belt!

A Willamson County driver has learned that the failure to wear a seat belt can result in some time in jail. That's because she was carrying meth. Being her 3rd simple possesion conviction she ended up with a 2 year sentence, suspended after 30 days in the pokey.
The lesson should be clear. Wearing a seat belt can save your life AND keep you out of jail!
Read the CCA affirmation of the seat belt traffic stop in State v Osbourne at:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interactive traffic fatality map

At this link, you can see where every traffic fatality occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2009. If you are an agency concerned with where to put your next sobriety checkpoint, this can be of assistance. If you are a parent concerned about where your new driver should practice, this can be of assistance too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

11 million dollar verdict against drinking driver

A Washington County, Tennessee jury has awarded an 11 million dollar judgement against a driver who killed when driving impaired. The driver, David Wilcox recieved a 5 year sentence for vehicular homicide when he killed David Hudson in 2007. His sentence expires in 2015.

Mandatory blood test law in the news

The new law mandating blood testing without or without consent for multiple offenders and driver's with children under 16 is getting some press.
Court decisions in Tennessee adopted the 4 part test of California v Schmember, a 1966 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court more than a decade ago. The 4 part Schmerber analysis is:
1) There is a clear indication (probable cause) that evidence of intoxication;
2) Exigent circumstances exist to forego the warrant requirement;
3) The test selected is reasonable and competent; and
4) The test is performed in a reasonable manner.
See State v Jordan 7 SW3d 92 1999 Tenn Crim App

Read and watch the coverage on Channell 9 in Chattanooga at:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why a parole hearing now?

ABC News in Memphis and the family of a vehicular homicide victim are stunned that a convicted killer could be getting out of prison after only 4 years of a 20 year sentence. The killer was on parole when he killed. It is simply amazing!

Read the article about how Derrick Kirk killed Jeff Walker and is now headed to a parole hearing and see if it makes any sense to you. Read it at:

New case

The Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed a .19 DUI conviction from Sevier County in State v Treat. Treat pled guilty and reserved a question about the loss of the video, depicting his bad driving. The Court dismissed the appeal as it was not dispositive of his case and was overly broad. Read about it at:

More Cops; More Stops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee is one of two states that get to test out a new federal plan to make the roads safer.

The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tennessee law enforcement agencies for the plan.

The new campaign, called "More Cops, More Stops", will work to reduce drunk driving, boost seat belt use, and crack down on speeding and distracted driving.

Officers will target more roads by creating extra DUI check-points and beefing up staff. There will be extra officers on the roads patrolling through Thanksgiving.

More details will be released at a press conference at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. It starts at 1:00 p.m. Friday.

Nearly one-third of those killed on Tennessee's highways during 2009 involved drunk drivers. Sixty percent of people killed in crashes in Tennessee during 2009 were not wearing their seatbelts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PYRA, synthetic drug causes crash

A teen driver and passenger were trapped in their vehicle after crashing into a building. Officers saved them after the truck caught fire. The teens were stoned on a synthetic drug, Pyra, according to the news article in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, which you can read here:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vehicular homicide trial in Maryville

A vehicular homicide trial has begun in Maryville with Prosecutor Ryan Desmond representing the State. Read about it in the Maryville Daily Times at:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

8th offender with .19 gets reversal from CCA

James Moates, a McMinn County man with 7 prior DUI convictions was in his truck, drunk at 2:00 a.m in a store parking lot. The store was closed and had "no loitering" signs in the lot. Etowah police Sgt Bige saw the truck with it's lights on stopped in the lot. She drove past, but saw it there again five minutes later. She pulled in to investigate. She activated her blue lights and approached the truck. She found the drunken Moates with a .19 BAC.
The trial court ruled that an officer can approach any vehicle in such a situation to investigate. The Court of Criminal Appeals decided otherwise. Following the precedent of State Williams,185 S.W3d 311, 314 (Tenn. 2006), the Court ruled that the defendant was incorrectly seized and the case had to be dismissed.
Maybe, this case will be appealed to the Supreme Court, so they can revisit Williams and fix this nonsense. If the driver in the parked truck had suffered a stroke or heart attack and the officer passed him by due to the Williams case, what would people think about the officer? This is the type of decision that demoralizes officers, victims and citizens and makes them think the judicial system is in need of some common sense.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Game score effects drunk driving

The Journal of Consumer Research has published a study that indicates that there is an increase in impaired driving and aggressive driving when a sporting event ends with a close score. The greatest dangers are in the county of the sporting event and the county of the winning team.
The authors indicate that the dangerous effects from close games is associated with testerone and alcohol. They suggest a cooling down period for fans to lessen aggressive driving.
Read more at:

Sober Tennessee

According to a recent study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), Tennessee is ranked 4th in the nation as Most Sober States.

Alcohol purchased per person in Tennessee in 2007 amounted to:
28 gallons, broken down as 200.9 cans of beer, 7.9 bottles of wine and 1.4 gallons of spirits.

We were behind Utah, Kentucky and Arkansas.

The Drunkest States were: New Hampshire, Nevada, the District of Columbia, Montana and Wisconsin.
New Hampshire has long cold winters and mud season. Nevada has Vegas. D.C. has politicians and lobbyists, Montana is too dang cold and Wisconsin has Milwaukee. No suprises there!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Ignition Interlock law in Oklahoma

In an attempt to keep drunken drivers off the road, first-time driving-under-the-influence offenders will be required to have an interlocking ignition device installed on their vehicle under a law that takes effect Tuesday.

Read more:

Fewer traffic fatalities this October

The Daily traffic fatality report indicates 71 people died on our roads in October compared to 95 last year. That is the largest one month reduction this year compared to last year. So far, there have been about 115 fewer fatalities. If this keeps up in November and December, we should have our lowest fatality count since the 1960's. Drive safe.

* these are preliminary statistics as some injured persons may still pass away.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Keep Halloween Safe

Please be extremely careful this weekend and Monday as our trick or treaters are out in force. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security has a great message concerning safety this holiday. Read about it at:

Not every child is careful. They are excited and full of candy. They can run out into a roadway in an instant. This is not a weekend for taking risks in a car. If you party, find a sober driver to get you home.

Cocke County election commissioner ordered to weal alcohol monitoring devise

A Cocke County election commissioner facing a vehicular homicide charge for killing a 21 year old Vermont woman was ordered to install an ignition interlock in his vehicle. Twice the devise detected alcohol. At a hearing the son and wife claimed to have been the ones who caused the devise to detect alcohol. The Judge has now ordered that the commissioner, Dan Ford, 72, wear a transdermal alcohol monitoring devise and abstain from alcohol pending his trial.
Read about the situation in the Knoxville News Sentinel at:

Iowa Supreme Court upholds passenger accomplice liability

In Iowa Orlando Rodriguez pumped the gas and his brother Santos waited behind the wheel of his SUV. They planned to steal the gas. Santos sped off as Orlando hopped into the truck. Both had been smoking dope. The SUV ran over and killed Bruce Mundy.
Orlando Rodriguez was convicted of vehicular homicide by recklessness as an accomplice.
Ironically Santos had been found incompetent to stand trial due to brain damage.

Read about the decision at:

Glad to be in Tennessee?

A Washington State driver had a .31 BAC level and a prior DUI six years ago. He killed another driver when he slammed into her vehicle in a parking lot and pushed it 58 feet. Before he killed Meghan Stivers, 26, he crashed into other cars and he seriously injured another man.
The driver, Randy Sedy, 45, admitted drinking one beer and a fifth of vodka. He pled guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication, leaving the scene and 3rd degree assault and is facing a maximum penalty of 4 1/2 years. Sedy would have faced 15-25 here for the aggravated vehicular homicide alone.
Read about it at:

Stop the Texts. New NHTSA/Adcouncil effort to save lives.

According to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council, eighty-two percent of young adult drivers (16-24) have read a standard text message while driving. Young adults live in a connected world where multitasking is the norm. They feel pressure to remain in constant contact, even when behind the wheel. This manifests in the car where young adults recognize that texting and driving is dangerous, but do it anyway. This new PSA campaign conveys to young adult drivers that texting while driving isn’t multitasking, it’s essentially driving blind. By taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you are making the road less safe for you, your passengers and other drivers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interesting article about implied consent violations

In the "Tennessee Report" an article uses the apparent implied consent violation by State Representative Todd as a starting point to discuss implied consent and DUI. There are quotes in the article by the new president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Rich McKinney, Commissioner Gibbons and our own Guy Jones.
Read it at:

Monday, October 24, 2011

IRISH lower BAC limit to .05!

Who would have imagined that the Irish would take the lead in lowering the BAC level for DUI to .05, which is in line with the recommendation of the American Medical Association. Read about it at:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michigan drunk forces 9 year old daughter to drive

You have to watch this video to believe it. A drunken father forced his 9 year daughter to take him to the store at 3 a.m. on a weeknight. I wonder how she is doing in school today.
See the video (after an ad) on ABC NEWS at:

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Supreme Court decision concerning traffic stop

The Supreme Court has affirmed a conviciton and released a new and interesting decision in a carjacking, robbery and attempted first degree murder case. The defendants argued that officers lacked reasonable suspicion, citing Binnette and Williams, to stop the car and later search it and the house of the thugs. The thugs had committed their heinous crimes the night before and had left the stolen car at the Bledsoe Creek boat dock in Sumner County. Relations of the victim found it and alerted the police. There were several officers there when the thugs did a drive by and looked shocked.
"Detective Tarlecky could see the driver and passenger, who were African-American males, and he testified that “their eyes opened as big as saucers when they saw us and the vehicle just jerked back off on to . . . the roadway.” He stated that the turn back on the road “was a startled movement. They had looked down and saw us and they abruptly turned back . . . It caught our attention the way they did it.” The white Crown Victoria continued across the Bledsoe Creek bridge, then turned into a church parking lot, turned around, and slowly drove back by the boat dock area again. Detective Tarlecky got in his vehicle, activated its emergency lights, and initiated a stop of the Crown Victoria."
The Court ruled that: "In the present case, the officers had reasonable suspicion to make a brief investigatory stop based on these factors: the location (a boat dock area connected to criminal activity in that it contained a car stolen the night before), the fact that the stolen car had not been completely stripped of valuable parts, the abrupt and evasive behavior of the Crown Victoria’s driver, the startled and suspicious demeanor and appearance of the occupants that was directly observed by Detective Tarlecky, and the fact that the occupants matched the general description of the suspects as described by the BOLO dispatch."
Read the entire decision at:

Now race-goers can breath test themselves

In Sydney, Australia, the Caulfield Cup races bring 40,000 people to the racetrack. In order to educate people and stop people from driving away intoxicated two breath test instruments were installed. It cost $2 two dollars for the customer to self-test. More instruments may be installed depending on how it works out.
Read more about it in the Sydney Morning Herald at:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vehicular homicide affirmed

In October, 2008, Rebecca Gaylean crashed into a vehicle killing one person and injury two others. This week her conviction and an 11 year sentence was affirmed. Read the case at:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10th offender in the news

Fox 17 News in Nashville did a nice job of raising awareness about hardcore drinking drivers with a story about a recent arrest of a 10th offender. William Lamberth and I were interviewed. See it at:

State Representative arrested for DUI

Read about the arrest of a Tennessee State Representative Tuesday night at:

This defendant and all others are presumed innocent, unless proven guilty. It is disturbing that a Representative would be in the news in this way. It is also disturbing that he refused a breath test. It will be interesting to see any fall-out on the Hill.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How fast would you drive for a toothbrush?

In Kingsport a 23 year old male ran from a Wal Mart after shoplifting a toothbrush and some tools. He is accused of speeding away passing cars on the shoulder while going close to 100 mph.
Must be an amazing toothbrush.
Read the full article in the Kingsport Times News at:

Friday, October 7, 2011

New passed out drunk decision

The Defendant was in a turn lane with his car in park. A citizen had called in that a driver was sleeping in the turn lane. The officer arrived. It took several attempts to wake the drunk, who could not answer why he was sleeping in the turn lane. The officer reached into the car to turn off the ignition and placed the keys on the hood of the car.
The defendant argued he was seized without reasonable suspicion and that he should have been Mirandized once the officer took the keys. He lost.
First, the officer seized the defendant while performing his community care-taking function. Second the keys/Miranda issue was not dispositive and was not proper for appeal.
Read the case at:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

376,000 E.R. visits due to marijuana in 2009

The nations drug czar sent a letter to Memphis Rep. Cohen correcting him concerning his view that marijuana be legalized. The czar, R. Gil Kerlikowske noted the marijuana use by young people leads to lower academic performance, fatal drugged-driving accidents and visits to hospital emergency rooms. He said the Department of Human Services reported 376,000 ER visits related to marijuana use in 2009.
Read the complete article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal at:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rest in Peace Captain Braden

Wartburg police captain Ralph Braden has passed away due to a toxic reaction to painkillers after he had suffered a blunt force injury to his left shoulder after a struggle with a suspect.
Captain Braden and the Wartburg department were recently honored at Lifesavers for their outstanding traffic safety program. The Captain will be deeply missed.

1000 pills found after traffic stop in Hawkins County

In East Tennessee a driver was pulled over for swerving all over Highway 70. The driver seemed impaired. A consent search of oh vehicle produced over 1,000 hydrocodone pills. Read more on the WATE TV website at:

Trooper Stanford released from hospital. Vest saved life.

Outstanding THP trooper Dwayne Stanford has been released from the hospital after being shot during a traffic stop. Dwayne had arrested the driver for outstanding Kentucky warrants. As he returned to the car the passenger shot him. He was hit in the chest, returned fire and killed his attacker. Dwayne survived, because he was wearing his bullet proof vest.
Read more in the Jackson Sun at:

Memphis officer struck by DUI driver

In Memphis an officer was struck by a driver, who has been charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and other charges. The driver was also charged with the misdemeanor of "failure to exercise due care". It is good to see that statute being used. It appears the officer will fully recover.

Read about this situation in the Memphis Commercial Appeal at:

12 years for vehicular homicide with .05 BAC

A 22 year old Madisonville, Tn driver has pled guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication and received a 12 year sentence. When the crash occurred killing 22 year old Samantha Webster, a pedestrian, he left the scene. When captured, he admitted to drinking a 40 ounce beer.
Read more from the Knoxville News Sentinel at:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DUI NEWS ISSUE 36 available

The 36th issue of our newsletter is available on our website.
It includes article concerning Standing Orders and the Hippa Myth as well as features including case law updates and vehicular homicide cases.
Find it at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New DUI Decision

In State v Ownby, released this week by the Court of Criminal Appeals, there was plenty of proof that Ownby was driving intoxicated in Sevier County. Deputy Devin Smith did a fine job of defining his training and experience and tied what he saw from Ownby, to his training. Ownby refused a breath test and then complained that the State did not have objective, scientific evidence of intoxication. Hmmm. Maybe he should have taken the test!
The Court stated,

"Although field sobriety tests lack the scientific precision of a breathalyzer test, the field sobriety tests, in combination with the other evidence in this case, support the Defendant’s conviction. The Defendant’s performance on the field sobriety tests was graded by a four year professionally experienced deputy, who was specially trained to administer field sobriety tests and detect drivers who are under the influence of an intoxicant. Also, the Defendant refused to take a breathalyzer test. Moreover, the Defendant failed to give a reasonable explanation for speeding and running a red light other than intoxication.

Furthermore, the Defendant acknowledged he had consumed one beer and smoked marijuana that evening. "

Read the case at:

12 years for Bradley County vehicular homicide

Marcus Johnson has been sentenced to 12 years after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication for a Memorial Day 2009 wreck in which he killed Denise Guthrie. He crossed a double yellow line, sideswiped one vehicle and crashed head on into the vehicle driven by Ms. Guthrie. Johnson was intoxicated by alcohol and methaphetamine at the time.
Read about it in the Cleveland Daily Banner at:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

22 years for McDonald Vehicular Homicide

When Dusty McDonald crashed he ran away. He left his 9 year old daughter in his vehicle trapped to die.
McDonald has pled guilty and received a 22 year sentence in Sumner County. ADA William Lamberth was interviewed on Fox 17 Nashville about the case and the law. See the story at:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Father and 4 children injured by alleged red light runner

At about 8 a.m. this Monday morning a dad, Phillip Boring, 36, and his four children ages 8,7,5 and 4 were injured when a 23 year old male allegedly ran a red light and slammed into their car. The children were all in critical condition. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and never run a red light. No criminal penalty will make the injuries go away.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press at:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beyond BAC: How the Breathalyzer Is Poised to Revolutionize Medical Diagnostics

Breath test skeptics i.e. defense attorneys and their hired gun experts regularly attack breath tests as being unreliable. The legitimate medical field does not. In this fascinating article from researchers discuss new developments in breath testing. They are developing breath prints and scans to diagnose lung cancer and other diseases.
Read about it at:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another hit and run is on the loose

An East Tennessee bicyclist was killed around 10 p.m. Tuesday in Gray, Tennessee. The driver who struck and killed the bike rider took off and left the scene. I will never understand how a human being can leave another on the side of the road to die. This crash may not have even been the car driver's fault, but skipping out and leaving someone to suffer and die is the driver's fault. I hope the person has enough of a conscience that he/she will do the right thing.
Read about it in the Johnson City Press at:

Bath Salt Raids

Congratulations to the TBI, Attorney General, District Attorney Whitesell and all the police agencies involved in the raid of 36 locations that were selling "bath salts" in their Murfreesboro area businesses. Hopefully, people won't be buying this poison at these locations again!

Friday, September 2, 2011

85 August traffic fatalities in Tennessee

There were 85 traffic fatalities in August. That is 12 fewer than in 2010. Through the first 8 months of the year there have been 86 fewer fatalities than last year. 617 people have died in traffic crashes this year.
Now the dangerous Labor Day count begins. Let's shoot for zero this weekend.

Knoxville and Chattanooga rank among safest for drivers

Congratulations to the cities of Knoxville and Chattanooga for now being ranked the 6th and 10th safest cities in America in which to drive. AllState insurance posted the rankings based on number of accidents and years between accidents for drivers. Nashville was ranked number 30 and Memphis number 58.
The worst city was Washington DC (193) and the best Fort Collins, Colorado.
Massachusetts was not included in the study for some unknown reason.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trooper Joe Snipes has died

Trooper Joe Snipes was the guy who investigated crashes in Bradley and Polk counties. Many stories about crashes started with the words, "the crash is under investigation according to Trooper Joe Snipes".
It is very sad to report that Trooper Snipes has been killed and his wife injured in a crash, while off duty.
Read more at the link below and tomorrow at 9:57 am please observe a moment of silence for the man who wore badge number 957.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Citizens disgusted with drugs march in Union County

A tip of the hat to the 4,000 people in the small East Tennessee town of Maynardville, for spending a Sunday afternoon expressing how harmful meth and abused drugs have damaged their community. Maybe the word will get out that drug pushers are not welcome in Maynardville. I hope Mathew Cantrell has a full recovery from the drug impaired driver who crushed his leg. Read about it on the WBIR television website at:

Tennessee authorities expect surge in heroin use

Read this disturbing story in the Tennessean. Apparently heroin is now cheaper that abusing prescription drugs and it is being heavily and deceiptfully marketed.

Time for ZOOM ZOOM to man up

An alleged drag race in Clarksville ended with three people in the hospital and one of the run from the law. The driver of one car fled the scene leaving three injured people behind, including a two year old.
Perhaps a driver with the guts to drag race on a city road should have the guts to face the consequences.
The vehicle that fled was a flat red color and may have been a Mazda, possibly a '90s model, with a decal on the rear which said “Zoom, Zoom." It is not known whether the driver was male or female.
The idiot who was racing with a 2 year old in the car was lifeflighted with the 2 year old to Vanderbilt Hospital. He will be facing the consequences in the near future.
Read more about this example of irresponsible idiocy in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle at:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It is National Stop on Red Week

The Traffic Safety coalition has produced a video of red light intersection crashes to emphasize the need for drivers to stop for red lights. Some of the images are disturbing. If you want to see it, the link is below.
I think most of us recognize that running a red light is a crime and most of us were not raised to commit crimes. Red light runners are dangerous and they kill over 900 people per year in the United States. So, my message is consistent with the Coalition. Don't run red lights. It is the law for a reason.
The video is at:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Driver smashes into restaurant

It happens fairly often. A drinking driver flees and loses control and ends up in a building. What makes this one bizarre is the driver. He is out on a bond of $3,500 despite the fact he was driving while on bond for another DUI. He was allegedly driving with a suspended license. He was previously employed as a magistrate, who set bonds for DUI cases and many others. He is, of course, presumed innocent unless he is proven guilty.
Read about it in the Tennessean at:

Bond Company Discounts

The Chattanooga Times Free Press had an excellent story Sunday about the shambles that is our bond system. It mentions a vehicular homicide case in which the defendant had a $108,000 bond after he reoffended with a DUI while on bond for the homicide. He paid a bondsman $3,750 to make his 10% bond and then picked up yet another DUI.
Something about the math and the danger does not add up.

Read the story at:

Friday, August 19, 2011

2 DUI's in 3 hours

A 23 year old mother was arrested for DUI in Baltimore, Md. She was released to a sober friend, who apparently took her back to her car. She was arrested again 3 hours later with a 4 year old child in the car.
No nomination for mother of the year for this woman.
Read about it in the Baltimore Sun at:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

12 years for Vehicular Homicide in Nashville

The driver, Percy Thompson, lost control of his car, spun out and hit a car in which a three year old child was killed. Thompson pled guilty Monday and was sentenced to 11 years for vehicular homicide by intoxication and one consecutive year for leaving the scene. Thompason had a Blood Alcohol Content of .23.
Read the story on WKRN's website at:

Friday, August 12, 2011

New decision: Consecutive sentence affirmed

In State v Boldus the 19 year old driver with a blood alcohol content of .11 pled guilty to vehicular homicide by recklessness and leaving the scene. His four + one consecutive sentence was affirmed. His request for alternative sentencing was denied.
The defendant and victim were underage and drinking the night of the crash. To the defendant's credit, he wore a SCRAM bracelet on bond from December 2009 until his sentencing which confirmed he had consumed no alcohol during that time. Let's hope that the behavior that led to this tragedy is never repeated and that the victim family, defendant and defendant family heal.
One teen will never come home again. Boldus was the lucky one in this case.
The case is at:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Triple drunk" wrong way driver gets 10 years for homicide

In Cleveland Tiffany Isaza has learned her fate. She had previously pled guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication and has recieved a 10 year sentence.
She had a BAC level of .24 when she slammed into 24 year old Dustin Ledford last year. A Wal Mart security camera captured the last 10 minutes of his life.
Dustin's mom has been a proponent of a change to the aggravated vehicular homicide law in the Tennessee General Assembly. She plans to continue her effort to strengthen the law.

Read about the case at:

Preventing child deaths in hot cars

It seems that every summer we read and hear about tragic cases in which a driver decided he/she could leave the child in the car while he/she runs into the store to get a few groceries. Sometimes you can replace store with bar and groceries with drinks. Other times you can replace store with drug dealer etc. No matter the reason leaving the child in a hot car can be and too often is fatal.
Our friends at NHTSA are trying to put a new and greater emphasis on this situation to save some children from a horrible fate.
Read about the NHTSA efforts and remember that a hot car effects a child more seriously and more quickly than an adult.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hit and Run drivers drive me crazy!

No one should ever benefit from committing a crime. Way too often people who injure and kill leave the scene of the carnage they caused. Many turn themselves in after the alcohol has left their system. Others don't even do that and are only found after painstaking investigations. When they are prosecuted they face a class E felony if they have killed or Class A misdemeanor if they have injured. If intoxicated when they killed or injured, the penalty would have been much greater. They benefit by committing the crime of leaving the scene. They also show the world what matters to them and it is not the poor injured of deceased person they left on the roadside. Their fellow human beings are nothing to them. They exhibit by their actions what they value.
In the Sevierville newspaper a story is told about two young men who allegedly ran into a woman on a horse with their cars. The woman suffered injuries. The horse died. The young men kept going. The young men are presumed innocent. Eventually the Courts will sort out any culpability issues. In the meantime we should remember our great responsibility to care for one another in times of need. Never accept that leaving a crash scene is anything less than immoral and horrible!
Read about the case at:

Friday, August 5, 2011

George Washington gets 25 years for aggravated vehicular homicide

The Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed a 25 year sentence in State v Washington. The crash occurred in May 2004. Washington went to turn left and turned directly in front of a motorcycle killing the driver. Washington had 6 prior DUI's and nothing previously ordered stopped him from driving with a BAC over .30.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Naked and tased

A Florida deputy was sent to look for a reckless driver and found him, naked and drunk in a Dodge Intrepid on the shoulder of the highway.. The naked man, Kelly Bachmeier, 43, refused to get out. The man refused to raise his hands and what followed from the taser had to sting. Bachmeier had a blood alcohol content over .30.
Bachmeier had an expired North Dakota license. The story makes no mention of any sunburn.

Read about this judgment impaired individual at:

Vehicular Homicide gets 15 years

In Lawrenceburg Tennessee Terry Michael Gibson, 24, has pled guilty in the tragic case in which he killed his passengers. He was driving intoxicated and crashed. Two of his passengers, Misty McWorter, 17, and Devin Prince, 15, died due to crash injuries. Two more Blake Clem, 15, and Sarah Burkes, 21, were injured.
Please keep the victims and their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Read more at:

Slow wheels of justice revisited

In speaking of the slow wheels of justice, which included a reference to 10 month old DUI's in Sessions Court in Nashville, I did not mean to criticize the Nashville DA's office in any way. That office like the office in Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga diligently handles thousands of DUI cases per year. So far this year the Nashville office has closed 2, 262 DUI cases.
We don't win them all. Things happen. For instance one former Nashville DUI officer is facing felony charges and he will not be called as a witness in cases in which he made the arrest.
My point was and is that one aspect of our efforts as prosecutors must be to do what we can to prevent unneccessary delay. In Hamilton County more than one lawyer took pride in trying to make cases last two or three years. One lawyer would tell his client they would have to plead guilty, but he would tell them when. Then if an officer was killed, retired or got fired, he would strut into court to collect his dismissal. Delay benefits the defense. We simply have to monitor it and try to prevent it.
I believe prosecutors know that. I don't know how many other people realize it. Some things posted here are for the benefit of people who have never been prosecutors. There are way too many DUI crimes committed and prosecutors have the burden of trying to convict the guilty to protect the public. It is a hard job and we should always honor all who perform this mission on a daily basis.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Slowly the wheels of justice turn

On October 1, 2010 fifteen people were arrested in Nashville for DUI crimes. Since then, nine of the cases were finished in the Sessions Court. Six were found guilty. Three were dismissed with two of the three pleading to a reckless driving charge.
Meanwhile four cases were bound over and sent to the grand jury.
Two have been delayed more than 10 months and have court dates set later this year.

The wheels turn slowly. Delay is the defendant's best friend. We'll keep watching and see how the cases delayed by a year turn out. In the meantime I hope our prosecutors will try to eliminate unneccessary delay, so that the guilty are convicted and those not guilty are not.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Drunk and Pregnant

News 3 in Memphis included this story from an Oklahoma incident in which an allegedly drunk and pregnant woman drove throught the McDonald's drive through into a fence. How may ways can a person find to be dangerous?

Deputy injured in crash

Davidson County deputy, Michael True, was injured when Luis Ortiz-Brito allegedly crossed the center line and crashed head on into his police car.

Ortiz-Brito has been charged with DUI and driving without a license and is currently being held in the Davidson County Detention Center on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, since Davidson County participates in the 287g program to identify illegal immigrants who committ crimes.
We hope and pray Deputy True recovers completely.

Public Urination as Reasonable Suspicion

In State v Pack, an officer saw the driver relieving himself on a city street in Tullahoma. The public urination caused the officer to approach the defendant, who had driven his car until he stopped to urinate. The urinator was intoxicated and was charged DUI 3rd offense and Driving on a Revoked license. He pled guilty and reserved the reasonable suspicion issue for appeal. He argued that the de novo review of the video should have trumped the testimony of the officer. The Court was not convinced that the officer (not the video) was unable to see the criminal activity before he activated his blue lights.
Once again the Court acknowledges, by it's ruling, that stationary videos pointed directly forward don't see all that the human eye can see. A person can turn his head, look to the side, look down and look up. A video mounted on a dashboard cannot. The Pack sentence of 180 days to serve was affirmed.
Read the case at:

Synthetic Cannabinoids DUI Conviction

Congratulations to Brentwood officer Stan Boyd and ADA Kelly Lawrence for their recent conviction of a synthetic cannabinoid DUI offender. The driver had smoked "incense" and was impaired. The TBI tox screen came back negative. The blood sample was then sent to NMS labs in Pennsylvania, a private toxicology lab that has the capability to test for synthetic cannabinoids. The result came back as positive for JWH-250, which confirmed the officer's observations.

JWH-250 is found in “Spikey XXX Gold,” “Pandora Aromatic Potpourri,” “Ed Hardy Legal Earth” and dozens more. The products are made by spraying the active chemicals on perfumed and crushed plant leaves, stems and petals, then smoking the “incense” in a cigarette or water pipe.

Read about the NMS lab press release about testing for these chemicals at:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pat down search articulation causes reversal

In Gatlinburg an officer responded to a disturbance. He decided for his own safety to pat down the agitated gentleman who was arguing with a female, who had called the police. The Court decision reversed the conviction. It appears that the problem may have been more of a lack or articulation than an improper decision to pat someone down. What officer in this setting would not feel the need to pat someone down in this situation. Read the case at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Monday night in Nashville

7 DUI arrests with 6 implied consent charges. Arrested were:

David Carachure, Don Bond, James Pivacek, Joshua Baber, Carolene Welsh, Jason A. Jones (not the Titan), Torrey R Buckley.

Two were in crashes without injuries. Two were driving at night without lights. One was speeding. One had 3 child passengers. One attempted to bribe the officer and then tried to knee him in the groin. One was stopped for speeding.

All are presumed innnocent. None should be very happy with themselves today. Fortunately, no one injured or killed anyone this time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wrong Way Interstate Driver injures 6

At 3:46 A.M. an allegedly intoxicated driver going the wrong way on I 24 in Hamilton County caused a crash in which 6 people were injured. The driver, Jesus Bonilla, attempted to leave the scene, but got caught. He now faces numerous charges and is afforded the protection of the presumption of innocence, unless or until proven guilty.
It was a very bad night for a family travelling from Florida to their Kentucky home. They get no protection of their rights when an impaired driver is on the road. We hope they recover completely. Read about it at:

3rd offender conviciton affirmed

The Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed the judgment for DUI 3rd offense from Campbell County in State v Reid. This one was driving under the influence of drugs and had an oxycodone pill in her pocket. She got out of handcuffs and wiggled through the open partition of the patrol car to try and consume the pill that had been placed in an evidence bag on the front seat.
She had previously had a wreck when she was under the influence of valium and she opened the door to a cross examination that included her prior crash.
Read it at:

4th offender DUI conviction affirmed

The Court of Criminal Appeals has confirmed the conviction in State v York, a case from Fayette County. York recieved a sentence including 15 days in jail for a DUI First offense. He had 3 previous DUI convictions, which I assume were barred due to the 10 year rule.
York had the misfortune of having to stop, because another driver ran off the road and the road was blocked for a tow truck. When an officer went up to the stopped cars to inform people of the problem, he found the intoxicated defendeant behind the wheel.
Read the decision at:

DUI V.E. charged

In Germantown a woman was charged with DUI by Vanilla Extract. The Vanilla Extract had a 35% alcohol content. What comes around goes around. I tried a similiar case in Monroe County about 10 years ago, but it was lemon extract. Ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol no matter what it is mixed with!
Read about it at:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Judge Sword

Congratulations to Steve Sword for his appointment to the Bench. Steve has been an outstanding prosecutor in Knoxville and I expect he will be a great Judge. He has always taken his committment to the justice seriously. Read about Steve in the Knoxville News Sentinel at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tennessee exporting crime again

A 50 year old Tennessee trucker with a prior 2000 aggravated burglary conviction from Knoxville in Case no. 65348 has had his bond increased to 1 million dollars after allegedly killing 3 people last month on I-40 in North Carolina.
He apparently had several other priors in other States. Read about the trucker, who is presumed innocent here:

Clarksville newspaper notes recidivism success story

The Leaf Chronicle has a nice story wrtitten by Tavia Green about a multiple offender who has changed his ways in part to tough DUI punishments. He says things like victim panels could have helped him, but increased time in jail and rehab got his life back. There are quotes from ADA Chris Dotson in the story.
Read about it at:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Case alert consecutive sentences

In State v Evans released this week, defendant Evans had her consecutive sentences upheld. She pled to 2 DUIS, driving on revoked for DUI and implied consent. As a 3rd DUI offender she was ordered to serve 75% of an 11/29 sentence. She had to serve 5 consecutive days of an 11/29 for implied consent and was ordered to serve a consecutive 11/29 on community corrections after she gets out.
Read it all at:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tn woman in Georgia: DUI with 4 kids threatens officer

A 35 year old Jackson, Tn woman was stopped in the Atlanta area driving 90 mph. She was arrested for DUI and told the officer he would lose his brains in a future traffic stop. It's bad enough that people like this do this in our own State, now they are exporting stupidity!
Read about it in the Atlanta Constitution at:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

30 year meth sentence

Congratulations to Scarlett Ellis in the 8th Judicial District. Her prosecution of Steven Sanford for one count of initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony, has been affirmed with a 30 year sentence as a range 3 offender.

Read about it at:

Monday, July 11, 2011

DUI Bond law article misstates law

Two sessions ago the General Assembly passed a law that required a court to determine if a multiple offender was a danger to the community when setting bond. If a danger, certain restrictions on the bond were available. Another law stated if a person on bond committed another, the Court was to presume danger. Nothing stopped a court from setting a bond, but the court was required to make some determination before doing so.
This year the law was amended, so the court did not have to make a determination of danger. The court is required to determine if the offender needs to be restricted, while on bond.
An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press claims that the law has been fixed, citing a defense lawyer who claims the origional law was unconstitutional.
The only "fix" to the law is that the court no longer has to determine if the offender is dangerous. The court still determines if the driver needs to be restrained by conditions on his bond. Let's hope that courts don't decide to abrogate their duties and ignore the need for bond conditions for multiple offenders. This article makes it sound like the law went away! It did not. Multiple offenders are still dangerous. They make up less than 1% of the population and are involved in 44% of the traffic fatalities (NTSB). Bond conditions are still neccessary for many, if not all of them. Read the article that misses those points at:

7 fatalities during 4th of July holiday weekend

The Tennessee Dept of Saftey annonced that 7 people died on our roadways during the 78 hours of the 4th of July weekend running from 6 p.m., Friday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 4. Our thoughts and prayers go to the deceased and their families and friends.
The good news is that is the fewest to die during the holiday since 1998. To all the law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly during this period to save lives, thank you. Read the Dept of Safety news release at:

Friday, July 8, 2011

DUI 8th crashes into house

WKRN in Nashville featured the arrest of this gentleman, who is presumed innocent, but facing an uphill battle after crashing into a house.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trooper injured in crash

An article from the Johnson City Press shows why the Move Over law is so important. Thankfully, the injuries suffered by Sgt. Diane Mays don't appear to be too awful. The Sgt. was wearing her seatbelt when she was hit from behind. Let's hope all recover quickly from the scary incident. Read about it at:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DUI Arrests: UP Traffic Fatalities: Down

THP arrests for DUI in the first six months of 2011 are up 30.7%. Statewide traffic fatalities for the same time are down 15%. Hmmm.

Read about the numbers at:

Knoxville hit and run caught and sprayed

A 51 year old gentleman saw a driver hit a woman and leave the scene. He followed the driver, confronted him and spayed with pepper spray. When law enforcement arrived, they took the driver away and charged him DUI. Leaving the scene, implied consent, driving without insurance and disorderly conduct. The Knoxville News Sentinel called the man who caught him a Good Samaritan. Read about it at:

Nashville DUI defense attorney charged with DUI

WKRN is reporting that a Nashville attorney has been charged with DUi and Aggravated Assault. According to the report, he came close to running over a female officer after she tried to stop him before he drove away from a store. This does not do much for the reputation of those who practice law.
Read the story at:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DUI NEWS Available

The 35th edition of the TNDAGC DUI NEWS is now available at:

There is nothing as controversial as naming a school district in the Wall of Shame this time!
Get up to date on new laws, new decisions from the judiciary and other important items relating to traffic safety.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

American Optometric Association endorses HGN

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has completed a study of the use of horizontal gaze nystagmus testing by law enforcement and has again endorsed the use of this scientifically valid and reliable tool to detect impaired driving. Read the AOA document at:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hit and run driver bound over in Jackson

A preliminary hearing in Madison County resulted in a driver being bound over to the grand jury for reckless vehicular homicide. In a story in the Jackson Sun details reported by the paper include that a 12 year old girl was riding her horse, while being led by a family friend. A swerving driver moving at a fast clip hit and killed the child, injured the friend and horrified the person following on a second horse. The driver left the scene and was arrested 24 hours later. He was gone so long that no blood alcohol test could be conducted.
Read about it at:

Synthetic Cannaboids

The new law banning the possesion or production of synthetic cannaboids goes into effect July 1, 2011. Read the law at:

New law concerning license revocation

Beginning July 1, a DUI 3rd offender will lose his/her privlege to drive for 6 years. A DUI 4th offender will lose his/her license to drive for 8 years. This will apply to all convictions after July 1, 2011. It does not matter when the crime was committed. If the driver is found guilty after July 1, this law will apply.
The new law can be read at:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TBI Crime Study released

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has compared crime rates over the last decade in a study recently released. DUI arrests during that period have declined 13%. Drug arrests, however have increased 45%. Crimes against persons increasesd 8%. Read some conclusions about the report at:

The full report is available at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DUI Decision Stop based on Move Over law

In State v Brooks, filed today in the Court of Criminal Appeals, a guilty plea had been entered. The defendant reserved the suppression question for appeal. The stop was based on a violation of the mover over law. The defendant drove a semi, did not move over and forced the officer to jump on the hood of his car to save himself. The truckdriver turned out to be a DUI driver.
Read the decision at:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Article about seminar

Last week 50 prosecutors from Kentucky and Tennessee met in the mountains to study crash reconstruction and vehicular homicide preparation. A reporter for the Montain Press came out to visit and wroth this story:

Why don't the priors count?

An allegedly impaired driver in Cookeville ran off the road and slammed into a SUV parked in a driveway. The owner was sleeping in the house. His SUV was totalled and his house shook from the impact. He wonders why the prior DUI convictions of the impaired driver don't count. They are more than 10 years old. Welcome to our world Larry. Most prosecutors wonder the same thing.

The victim in this case is one of the best auto mechanics I've ever known and an awfully good guy. I'm just glad no one was between the driver and the SUV. Read the story in the Herald Citizen at:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Impaired driver hits police car

In Cookeville an impaired driver slammed into a patrol car at 1:30 in the morning. Officer Jamey McCurry sitting in the parked car was not injured. The car did not do so well.
Read about it in the Cookeville Herald Citizen at:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Drunken sex leads to DUI

At a gas station in Murfreesboro a 28 year old was in his car engaging in a sexual activity. An officer arrived and concluded that he was impaired and in physical control (of his car). He was arrested for DUI. There is a lesson here!
Read about it in the Daily News Journal at:

Vehicular Homicide class 2011

Prosecutors and crash reconstruction law enforcement officers from Kentucky and Tennessee are participating in a three day crash reconstruction class this week in Sevier County.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crash Aftermath

As we began the Vehicular Homicide conference we had a car slam into a target car. This is the aftermath of a 29 mph crash, shown in the video in the previous post.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Retirement Steve Hawkins

On the way to Sevier County today, I stopped in Knoxville for an oil change and saw the face of ADA Steve Hawkins looking at me from the end table. The Knoxville News Sentinel published an excellent article talking about our friend and public servant as he prepares for retirement at the end of the month. We'll miss you Steve. Read about it at:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New decision upholds traffic stop

In Polk County a driver pulled out of the Runway Bar and within half a mile crossed the fog line twice and the yellow line into the oncoming lane of traffic. Deputy Glen Stiles pulled him over and the CCA agreed that Deputy Stiles had reasonable suspicion to do so.
Read the new case released on June 8th at:

Congratuations Assistant District Attorney Brooklynn Martin.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Deputy Keith Bellar has passed away

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Dickson County deputy Keith Bellar. He has passed away from the wounds inflicted by a man involved in a violent attack on his wife. The killer had forced her car off the road. Deputy Bellar thought he was responding to assist a citizen in need. As he drove toward the crash scene, the killer opened fire and the deputy was shot in the head.

Deputy Bellar leaves behind a loving wife and six month old son.
Follow the story at the Tennessean at:

Recent Vehicular Assault Decision

The Court of Crimnal Appeals has issued a decision in State v Myers, a Hamilton County case. Myers was convicted of Vehicular Assault, Reckless Aggravated Assault and DUI. The Court affirmed the convictions, but remanded for an order to merge all the convictions into the Vehicular Assault conviction. Read the decision at:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wisconsin Impaired Driver crashes with 11 children

A woman in Wisconsin crashed her SUV. She had 11 children as passenger. 7 of the children were her own. What was she thinking?
Read and watch the news about it at at this link:

DUI Conviction stops entry into Canada

DUI convictions are highly frowned upon by our neighbors to the north. A person with a DUI conviction may not enter Canada without a lot of effort and money.
Read an article about it at:

We have posted on our website the forms neccessary to visit Canada after a DUI conviction.

The best idea for those who want to travel across the border is pretty simple: Don't Drink and Drive!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Irish efforts to improve traffic safety

News from the land of St. Patrick and Celts:
Ireland has passed a law mandating breath/blood tests at crash scenes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New laws

Interesting Public Chapters that have been signed by the Governor are available on our website at in the RESOURCES SECTION. Go to:

and open the Legislation Passed 2011 folder.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Blood Testing case

To all the naysayers who doubt the constitutionality of the new forced blood law, read this and weep! This sets out some of the case law concerning blood testing that was used to support arguments in favor of the legislation. A few points:

1) there is no right to refusal;
2) the failure to read the implied consent warning only effects the implied consent case, not the admission of the BAC in the DUI.
3) "If probable cause exists to believe that (a) the motorist has consumed an intoxicant; and (b) testing of the motorist’s blood will reveal evidence of his or her intoxication, law enforcement need not obtain the voluntary consent of the motorist before collecting his or her blood sample. Humphreys, 70 S.W.3d at 761 (citing Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 768-72)."
4) The purpose of the implied consent law was to avoid violent confrontations with motorist. It in no way was established to benefit or give a right to an impaired driver.
5)“[T]o carve out a rule of exclusion where the [refusal] provisions . . . have not been followed” is not the purpose of the Implied Consent statute. Hancock, 1999 WL 298219, *7."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Drag Racing hit and run

A Memphis High School student and star football player is fighting for his life after being run over by two drag racers driving with their headlights off at night. Drag Racing is for a racetrack, not our city streets.
I hope M.P.D. catches the idiots who did this and that they pay the price for their crime. As too many drag racers often do when they maim or kill, they left the scene and left this young man to suffer.

Read about it on the Channell 3 news at:,0,2914732.story

Rest in Peace Captain Braden

A captain with the Wartburg Police Department has died after suffering injuries while attempting to arrest a man for domestic assault. Captain Ralph Braden had served Wartburg for over 20 years. Please keep this officer, his family, friends and community in your thoughts and prayers.

Read the Knoxville News Sentinel report at:

Crashes by day of week

Watch out for Friday Drivers:

Friday crashes in 2009: 26,840
Next worse: Humpday, Wednesday 23,391
Thursday: 23, 017 beat out Tuesday by one: 23,016
Monday 21,054
Saturday was one of the least dangerous days with 20,930 crashes.
The safest day for a drive: SUNDAY: 16,412.

There are 39% fewer crashes on Sunday than Friday. Draw your own conclusions!

Crash rates: Young and not so young

The five counties with highest crash rates by percentage of drivers aged 15-24 in 2010:

1) Davidson
2) Madison
3) Putnam
4) Knox
5) Washington

The five with highest crash rates by percentage of drivers aged 65-114 in 2010:

1) Madison
2) Trousdale
3) Montgomery
4) Davidson
5) Hamblen

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Riding the Music City Star

Count me as one less driver on the crowded Nashville roads this summer. I discovered the pleasure of riding the Music City Star commuter train, which is located 12 miles from my home. It delivers me to a bus that drops me off two blocks from the office. Now that summer is here and my commute does not include delivery of my student to school, I'm riding the train. Hope you can join me. It is very cool.

Hands Across the Georgia Border

An event aimed at reducing roadway fatalities through education and enforcement is planned for tomorrow evening, May 26th in Chattanooga. The Hands Across the Border event will include Georgia and Tennessee enforcement checkpoints. Read about it at:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Judge Bean: Folks, Please Drive Carefully

I just read Judge Russell Bean's letter to the Chattanoogan newspaper and wanted you to see it too. Judge Bean is a concerned veteran City Judge in Chattanooga.

Unfortunately, two people were killed in two separate car accidents here in Chattanooga on Wednesday evening.
One was killed when one car struck another in the rear. In the other accident, witnesses said that the car was speeding and that the driver was not paying attention as the car went off the road and killed the driver.
These accidents typify the causes of accidents we see in court daily. People are speeding, they are following too close, and they are not paying attention.
Folks, please slow down, stay way back from the car in front of you, and keep your eyes on the road. Please do not talk on cell phones or dial on them while you are driving. Do not text while you are driving. Do not look at a GPS system while you are driving, but keep your eyes straight ahead on the roadway.

Russell Bean
City Judge

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another officer killed in motorcycle wreck

Officer Dustin Martin, 43, of the Germantown Police Department was killed in last night. He was driving his motorcycle, while off-duty. He struck a car that was attempting a left hand turn. The crash investigation is ongoing.
Officer Martin was a 20 year Marine and a member of the Germantown P.D. swat team.

He is survived by a wife and daughter. Please keep Officer Martin and his family in your thoughts and prayers and allow extra time for motorcycles to pass, merge and turn.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

mug shot of the day

This gentleman was arrested in Cookeville. He allegedly had revoked driver licenses from Tennessee and Michigan. He was one of several citizens who found themselves pictured in the Cookeville Herald Citizen. Read about this guy and others at:
Herald Citizen - Flat tires lead to DUI arrest He was arrested for a 3rd DUI and refused the chemical test.