Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving No Refusal Results

The No Refusal Weekend in 16 jurisdictions in the State was a great success. Deadly crashes were 33% lower than the same period last year between November 21 and 25, 2012 during the No Refusal operation! There were six fatalities this year. Three were alcohol related. One was in a No Refusal County, Maury County.

There were 108 DUI arrests.
There were 10 Refusals.
There were 9 Search Warrants resulting in evidence in those cases. 3 of those were in Memphis.

Counties participating included:

Chester and

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Refusal Thanksgiving Enforcement

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Colonel Tracy Trott are reminding citizens to expect a “No Refusal” and high-visibility, safe driving enforcement campaign during the 2012 Thanksgiving Holiday period. The “No Refusal” enforcement will begin at 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 21 and end at midnight, Sunday, November 25.

Read more at:

THP Prepares Motorists for Heavy Presence this Thanksgiving Holiday | Newsroom

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vehicular Assault Sentence upheld

Kristopher Colbert, 30, received the bad news that his 8 year sentence for 2 counts of vehicular assault and leaving the scene has been upheld. Colbert injured two and paralyzed Brittany Rutherford, his 20 year old victim. An article in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle gives more detail and can be seen by hitting this link.
Court of Criminal Appeals upholds DUI wreck sentencing | The Leaf Chronicle -- Clarksville, Tenn., and Fort Campbell |

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where did you go William Wynn?

In Crossville William Winn was scheduled to appear for his vehicular homicide by intoxication plea or trial Wednesday. He did not. Two years ago he left the VFW, drove across the center line and killed a 78 year old man. Now, he has a nervous bondsman and a disappointed family of his victim.
Read about Mr. Wynn at:
Search on for missing defendant » Area News » Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Physicians Who Use Marijuana are 'Unsafe to Practice'..

Physicians Who Use Marijuana are 'Unsafe to Practice'
Kate Johnson

 Oct 29, 2012 MONTREAL, Canada — Physicians who legally use medical marijuana to treat their own debilitating conditions such as chronic pain or nausea are considered unsafe to practice medicine in the state of Colorado until such time that they no longer need the treatment, according to a policy from the Colorado Physician Health Program.
"We took a conservative stance," Doris Gundersen, MD, Medical Director of the Colorado Physician Health Program, toldMedscape Medical News after her presentation here at the International Conference on Physician Health (ICPH). "We don't want to deny them treatment...but until they no longer need it, or we have better ways of correlating impairment, they can't practice."
She said Colorado is the first state to come up with such a policy, prompted by reports of physicians who were legally using the substance. "The medical board appealed to us about how to manage this, there were several physicians referred and we happened to see they were also using marijuana — they had legitimate [Medical Marijuana Registry identification] cards," she said.
"This is where we got a little nervous. All of the associate medical directors at the Colorado Physician Health Program are psychiatrists and addiction specialists, and we recognized very quickly that this may not be compatible with practicing medicine safely.... We don't want physicians excluded from treatment that they need, but at the same time we need to protect the public," Dr. Gundersen said.
"Viral Situation" 
In her presentation at the conference, Dr. Gundersen told delegates about the "viral situation" in Colorado, where the number of Medical Marijuana Registry identification cards has "grown exponentially" from around 17,000 in 2009 to almost 128,000 by June 2011. 
"According to the Denver Post, there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks and liquor stores combined," she said.
While debate continues about the general safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, physician use of this treatment deserves specific attention, she emphasized.
"The way we view it is that physicians, like pilots, are in safety-sensitive employment.... There's not a good way to measure concentrations and correlate that to impairment, but very low concentrations can impair," she said, citing one study suggesting that among airline pilots, impairment on flight simulators persisted up to 24 hours after smoking a marijuana cigarette, even though subjects were unaware of it (Am J Psych. 1985;142:1325-1329).
Another study showed decision-making errors 50% to 70% of the time in long-time marijuana users compared with 8% of the time in nonusers (Neurology. 2006;66:737-739).
It's unclear what the cut-off level is for marijuana impairment. "Even at levels as low as 3 ng/mL there are some mind-altering effects," she said, adding that a concentration of at least 10 ng/mL is required to relieve symptoms such as chronic pain or nausea.
Public Safety "Supersedes" Individual Rights
"To have a license to practice is a privilege, not a right, and public safety supersedes an individual physician," she said. "If we get more sophisticated in correlating levels with safety, our policy may change, but right now it's conservative and it's honestly to protect the public but also the physician from making errors."
Dr. Gundersen pointed out that physicians also should not practice while impaired by other medications or alcohol, although the use of these substances does not preclude them from practicing medicine altogether.
"Things that are approved by the FDA generally have pretty standardized dosing, and we can perform some neuropsychiatric testing to make sure physicians are not impaired," she explained. "Again, with alcohol we have better cut-offs in terms of what should be considered impairing."
Dr. Gundersen said the marijuana policy is a "first effort out there to make sense of something we don't have enough science about to make decisions on, and so far there's been no case law challenging it."
Asked to comment on the policy, Andrew Clarke, MD, Executive Director of the Physician Health Program of British Columbia, told Medscape Medical News it is "not an unreasonable position — whether or not it's the best position is an ongoing debate.
"There are many medications that impair one's judgment and people do take them, so it's a tough call to decide when would we draw a line and say anybody taking this medication shouldn't be practicing," he said in an interview. "Or maybe there are circumstances when someone who uses that medication from time to time might still be able to practice in-between the times they use it, like alcohol or other sedative medications, or sedating antihistamines."
A pivotal point in the debate is the issue of self-prescription, said Dr. Clarke.
"It's clear that nobody should be self-prescribing marijuana ever," he said. "There's lots of medications out there that impair one's judgment and physicians use those medications to get better, but it's very important that it be done under the supervision of someone else.
"When we're in a situation where there's an illness that impairs judgment or we're prescribing a medication that impairs judgment and there's no second opinion on that, then we have a very potentially difficult situation," Dr. Clarke said.
Dr. Gundersen and Dr. Clarke have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. 
2012 AMA-CMA-BMA International Conference on Physician Health (ICPH) Presented October 27, 2012.

Friday, November 2, 2012

DUI 5th Affirmed. Post-Conviction Relief Denied

In a case that could have turned into a nightmare in Hohenwald defendant Michael Fischer was convicted of DUI 5th offense and sentenced to 3 years. Fischer drove toward a lady and her children on the highway crossing the fog line. The pedestrians had to back away from the approaching truck. Then Fischer drove into the county fair grounds just after a mud run had been completed. Muddy children were being hosed off by the fire department when Fischer decided to do donuts in the mud. Fischer used the SODDI (some other dude did it) defense. His 19 year old passenger claimed at trial to be the driver. The passenger admitted to some heavy drinking himself.
In an interesting twist Fischer also claimed his attorney at trial was incompetent and he would not have been convicted except for having an incompetent lawyer. You have to love a guy who takes personal responsibility for his actions so seriously. Fischer's claims all failed. The conviction was affirmed. Read about it at:
Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions | Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Scariest of Halloween

Seven persons were arrested for DUI in Nashville on Halloween. They were the real scary villains. No ghost, ghoul or goblin is as scary as an impaired driver. All are presumed innocent, except for one guy, Darnell Williams, who already pled guilty.
The others arrested were:
Terry Cratzer,
Hilda Guerrero,
Jonathan Hancock;
Kylana Goodrich;
Terry Keggereis and
Stephen Hamblin.
Three were driving on either a suspended or revoked license. One was charged with vehicular assault for injuring a passenger during a crash. Three face implied consent violations, one of which was a criminal I.C. charge. The highest blood alcohol level of the night was .17.
Some people don't seem to believe Halloween is a night for children.