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.