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: http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/austindavidopn.pdf
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.