Drunk driving expected when woman drives up flight of stairs

WHITEHALL, Ohio – On Friday night, Whitehall Police suspected a woman to be driving under the influence when she drove up a flight of stairs and into a building.

At about 7:00 p.m., her van smashed into the rental office of the Shaker Square Apartments off of South Hamilton Road. The van drove up more than 10 steps before it struck the entrance of the building and it also took out the railing on the steps.

When the crash occurred, there was no one present inside the office according to the police.

News Source: www.10TV.com

Ohio police sued for leaving drunken driver at Taco Bell shortly before he was killed

CINCINNATI – The family of a drunken man has filed a lawsuit against the Ohio police officers who picked 22-year-old Uriel Juarez-Popoca and dropped him off at a Taco Bell prior to him being hit by a car and dying as a result.

On 8th of January, the lawsuit was filed against the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, several of the agency’s deputies and an officer with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The family accused the authorities of racial discrimination.

A lawyer for the patrolman said the discrimination allegations are foolish and that the officers gave Juarez-Popoca a great chance by letting him go.

Al Gerhardstein, the Cincinnati lawyer representing Juarez-Popoca’s family said that proceeds from any settlement in the case or a jury trial will go to the wife, 2 children and parents of Juarez-Popoca who had become financially dependent on remittance checks they obtained from Juarez-Popoca.

The incident which happened on the night of 28th of July 2012 is unchallenged that Juarez-Popoca was driving under the influence of alcohol on Interstate 71 in Sunbury when he was stopped in a grassy median. Deputies responded to the call of the witness and found Juarez-Popoca sitting in his truck and he was showing clear signs of intoxication. According to the lawsuit, the deputies should have checked Juarez-Popoca’s BAC level and they should have arrested him or released him to a family member or a sober friend pending charges. Instead, they dropped him off at a Taco Bell restaurant about 5 miles away.

While walking along a nearby four-lane highway, he was killed by a car which hit him.

Gerhardstein told The Associated Press, “This stands out as a truly outrageous failure by local law enforcement to do their basic duty of holding people safely. It’s just a really sick joke, a tragic joke”.

According to the lawsuit, the deputies placed Juarez-Popoca in danger by leaving him at the fast-food restaurant along a highway and they didn’t take proper action after receiving a lot of calls about him from the store manager and drivers along the highway within the time period of 50 minutes.

Sam Shamansky, lawyer representing the Ohio state patrolman, said that the authorities were not discriminating against him and his death was a tragedy. He said, “There’s no discrimination here. If you ask me, it could just as easily be said that deputies were giving him a major break by not taking him to jail, maybe in order to not have discriminatory actions taken against him, vis-a-vis deportation. As an observer trying to be independent, I would suggest that’s way more plausible than that they were discriminating against him because he’s Hispanic”.

Christopher Hughes and Derek Beggs were fired due to this case. Patrolman Sean Carpenter was also fired but he won an appeal for that decision and was reinstated.

Beggs was found guilty of dereliction of duty by the jury and he was fined $500. Carpenter was also found guilty of dereliction of duty but court found that “no rational trier of fact could have found that (he) acted negligently”. Hughes pleaded no contest to a charge of failure to help a law enforcement officer and was ordered to pay $20 by the jury.

Delaware County Sheriff Russ Martin wrote in the firing letter of 2 deputies that they had showed “a lack of maturity and professionalism. A fundamental duty as a law enforcement officer should be the preservation of life and inherent in that is the obligation to put a citizen in a better place than where he or she was found — even if that place is in custody for their own safety or the safety of others”.

News Source: www.cleveland.com

Ohio enhanced online registry may still have holes

The online registry of DUI offenders with 5 or more DUI convictions which was enhanced by the State of Ohio might not be totally trustworthy.

Last week, it was announced by the state Department of Public Safety that it has expanded the registry of drivers who consumed alcohol or any other intoxicant and got behind the wheel five or more times in the past 20 years.

According to the spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol, Staff Lt. Anne Ralston, the names of 5,331 DUI offenders are listed in the registry, compared with fewer than 400 before the rollout of the updated database.

The system was improved by collecting information from computerized court records rather than relying on the submission of paper forms by DUI offenders who habitually drive their vehicles after consuming too much alcohol or taking drugs that affect the thinking ability of a person, said officials.

This year, the Advocate of Newark reported that the DUI-offender registry contained information from courts from only 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties, was cluttered with duplicate listings and the names of some offenders were not included.

The registry now contains the names of 597 repeat offenders with 5 or more convictions in Franklin and surrounding counties. Franklin County shows 389 repeat DUI offenders, up from 15 almost 2 months ago. 7 drivers are listed with 8 DUI convictions. The online listing of drivers who regularly consume alcohol and get arrested for driving under the influence was authorized by lawmakers to allow Ohioans to check whether their neighbors or other individuals they know can be harmed by them in any sense.

The question is raised in a review by The Dispatch of Columbus-area offenders on the enhanced state website that whether the 2 offenders with the most DUI convictions qualify as central Ohio residents. They also found some offenders not included in the list.

Since 1997, 51-year-old Matthew J. Krendl with 10 DUI convictions will appear to be arrested as the worst offender in central Ohio. His name is listed among Delaware County offenders with an address in Powell. No Delaware County conviction among Krendl’s offenses is shown by the court records. According to the other records, he lives in Allen County and lists convictions from Allen, Cuyahoga and Putnam counties.

32-year-old Tom L. Shafer is also listed in Fairfield County’s list of offenders with 10 DUI convictions. His home address turns out to be the address of the state prison near Lancaster. He is serving for almost 5 years for convictions in Clinton and Greene counties — in the Madison Correctional Institution near London.

The addresses listed in the registry come from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and court records, said Ralston.

51-year-old Mike E. Sayers appears to be the area’s worst offender in Fairfield County. He has been convicted for DUI between 1995 and 2012 nine times. He is now serving a prison sentence of four years for driving drunk in Licking County.

A Newark lawyer and member of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ DUI committee, Rob Calesaric said the registry serves only to publicly brand repeat offenders with a “scarlet letter”. He said, “It’s a PR stunt. It needs to be accurate. It’s basically a waste of taxpayer money,” because it is unofficial and cannot be used by police or prosecutors to pursue charges. He also said the registry shows that the 14 worst offenders in Licking County each have 6 DUI convictions. “I have represented people with more than 10 (convictions), and it seems you have not found them. It’s obviously incomplete”.

Drivers convicted of 3 or more DUIs within the time period of 6 years, or five or more over twenty years, face up to 5 years in prison, a maximum $10,500 fine, mandatory forfeiture of their vehicle and a lifetime driver’s license suspension.

News Source: www.Dispatch.com

Ohio man in critical condition after being run over by alleged drunk driver

Chillicothe , Ohio – On Friday night in Ross County, a man from Ohio was struck by a driver who was driving under the influence according to the police and now the man is in serious condition.

Officers said that Stephen Stroller was driving under the influence of alcohol when he hit 52-year-old Robert Pouncey on Riverside Drive in Chillicothe. Stroller was accused of leaving the scene of the accident but later returned and the police interviewed him.

Pouncey was taken to the Adena Regional Medical Center for treatment after the accident, but was later transferred to the Wexner Medical Center.

Police charged Stroller with driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries.

News Source: www.WCHSTV.com

Columbus school-bus driver facing drunken-driving charges quits job

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Yesterday, the Columbus school-bus driver facing driving under the influence charges resigned from her job before the hearing to determine whether she’d be fired.

On 25th of November, 51-year-old Tia Denton was pulled over by the Columbus police after an erratic afternoon bus route that children explained as frightening. She told the police officers that she completed her morning bus route, purchased a bottle of whiskey at Kroger and then went home and consumed two beers and a “tall cup” of whiskey.

According to the police, she had a bottle of Canadian Mist on the bus when she was stopped. A 9-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy were travelling in the bus.

She has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, endangering children and having an open container of alcohol on the bus. All the charges are misdemeanors.

At the request of Eric Nordman who is her lawyer, the case has been continued. He didn’t return calls from The Dispatch.

In Denton’s resignation letter, she didn’t state the reason for resigning from the job of school bus driver.

If she is convicted in the driving under the influence charge, then she would not be eligible to drive a school bus in Ohio. Any person with a drunken-driving conviction in the past 6 years is disqualified.

Another traffic case against Denton which is also in Franklin County Municipal Court, has been reopened. She was charged with driving with an expired license in 2007 and the case was dismissed, pending court fees which Denton had to pay. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Denton. According to the Assistant City Attorney Robert Levering, the judge in that case has set aside the warrant, opened the case again and scheduled it for trial in January 2014.

News Source: www.Dispatch.com

News Source: www.10TV.com

Drunk Driver crashes into house in New Boston, Ohio

NEW BOSTON, Ohio – According to the police, no person suffered injuries due to the drunk driver who crashed his vehicle into a house in New Boston, Ohio on early Friday morning. The accident occurred in the 3800 block of Gallia Street at about 1:30 a.m.

41-year-old James Peano was taken into custody a short time later and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to control a motor vehicle, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, all misdemeanor charges, according to Captain Steve Goins with New Boston Police.

The owner of the home told the police officer that after her house was struck, she saw a truck leaving the scene going on the wrong way on Gallia Street. The property damage was extensive. After some time, police found the truck in the 3900 block of Rhodes Avenue and the driver of the truck was standing near the truck.

Goins said that Peano admitted to officers that he was driving the truck when he lost control and crashed into the house. Investigation showed that the truck actually was of a relative and Peano was driving it without permission.

News Source: www.WSAZ.com

Lorain County Auditor Ronald Mantini charged with DUI

LORAIN, OH – 66-year-old Ronald Mantini, a top Lorain city elected official is accused of driving while intoxicated. He was taken into custody and charged on Thursday, 21st of November 2013 for driving under the influence.

On Thursday evening, Mantini was believed to be impaired while driving his vehicle said police. He told police that he was on the way to his home from a fundraiser hosted by Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer.

The police report shows that Mantini was pulled over at Westwood and Oberlin Avenue because he was driving at high speed. The officer saw Mantini going above the 80mph limit on a Lorain city street. The report also shows that the officer smelled alcohol on him and issued Mantini several field sobriety tests which he didn’t pass. His BAC level was measured at 0.111%, which is above the legal driving limit in Ohio.

Jen Stewart of Lorain said, “I think that he is supposed to be representing the city and he shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel intoxicated”.

Jack Lewis of Lorain said, “They’re human, just like everybody else. And, we all make mistakes and sometimes we have to pay for them”.

Mantini declined to comment on camera and said that the incident should not affect his job as city auditor. He also said that he is feeling ashamed of what he has done.

Ronald Mantini was released from jail on a $1,050 bond on Thursday evening, said the jail administrators. He was also charged with another traffic violation.

He is summoned to court on Tuesday to face a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired as well as reckless operation.

According to Mantini, he has 2 years remaining on his term as auditor. At that time, he said he is likely to retire and not seek re-election.

News Source: www.Fox8.com

Father and son in central Ohio charged in teen’s DUI death

DUBLIN, Ohio – A father and son in central Ohio are facing misdemeanor charges of permitting an 18-year-old to consume alcohol at their house before he got involved in an accident and died.

Under the city’s “social-host ordinance”, Brian and Cameron Willms both were charged. The first-degree misdemeanor carries a jail term of up to one hundred and eighty days.

Willms’ told police that the father didn’t know the son’s underage friends were drinking in the basement that night.

On 3rd of August, 18-year-old Stephen Romanelli drove away from the Willms’ home in the Columbus suburb of Dublin and died when his car struck a tree, the Columbus Dispatch reported. He was driving his vehicle at high speed and his BAC level content was more than twice the legal limit of driving.

News Source: www.Chronicle.NorthCoastNow.com

Mentor’s Stadium Grill bar under fire for displaying Drunken Driving license plates

A northeast Ohio bar is under fire due to their wall décor because they used OVI license plates for decoration. The bar is being pinned for glorifying driving under the influence after customers started complaining about the bar’s collection of OVI license plates that are displayed on a wall in the Mentor’s Stadium Grill bar.

A report by Fox 8 News showed the negative reactions of community members toward the plates, especially from individuals who had lost someone dear to them because of drunk driving accidents.

Executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Julie Leggett, told Fox 8 that the display has essentially become a wall of honor- an “honor” perhaps, that others would strive for.

The owner of the Stadium Grill, Shari Rymer, who was also convicted of OVI 2 times said that her decoration is not meant to encourage an environment of irresponsibility and driving under the influence. She also said that she takes drunken driving seriously and even hosts AA meetings at her bar. According to her, the plates are actually meant to encourage customers not to drink and get behind the wheel. Other than that she said that it’s her bar and she can decorate it the way she likes.

News Source: www.CleveScene.com

What are the Penalties for a DWI Charge?

New York’s regulations on Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired are fairly harsh, and defending against a DWI charge is all but impossible without a New York DWI Lawyer. Many drivers are usually pressured into pleading guilty, but even then it’s important to reduce the penalties as much as possible.

A DWI record is usually a red flag for insurance companies, giving them all the excuse they need to raise policy payments or cancel the plan entirely, leaving you high and dry. It’s a misdemeanor for first offense, which shows up as a criminal record that may bias your employer or job search. A  DWI lawyer in Syracuse explains more.

In terms of court-ordered penalties however, you’d be looking at license suspension, community service or jail time, and fines; and more fines, for years even after the incident.

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (or Prescription Drugs) is the lightest of offenses, considered a traffic infraction, and demanding:

1) A fine of $300 to $500; increasing to minimum of $750 to $1500 for repeated offenses
2) Up to 15 days in jail, to 30-180 days for repeated offense;
3) Suspension of your license for 3-6 months;
4) A Misdemeanor criminal record for two or more DWI offenses.

Penalties for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction, for a first or second offense, usually involves:
1) Community Service or Jail time for up to 1 year;
2) Revocation of your Driver’s License from 6 months to 1 year;
3) Fines between $500-$1000;
4) Surcharge of $395;
5) Driver Responsibility Assessment of $250 for 3 years;
6) Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle;
7) A criminal record that won’t clear for at least 10 years;

Repeated offenses are become a Felony charge. Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated involves an additional unlawful act committed while intoxicated, or blood alcohol levels of more than .18. All previous penalties apply and some are increased to:

1) A minimum of $1000 fine and up to $5000;
2) Surcharge of $520;
3) Minimum of 1 year license revocation;
4) Jail time of up to 4 years;
5) Probation of 5 years;
6) And a Felony in the criminal record.

In addition, there are also penalties for refusing a chemical test, whether the breathalyzer, blood or urine test. This incurs a revocation of at least 1 year and a penalty of $500 for when applying for a new license. Refusing a test within 5 years after a previous DWI-related charge will have their license revoked for a minimum of 1 and 1/2 years and pay a $750 civil penalty.

Though minors are treated less harshly for a DWI conviction or chemical test refusal, licenses are usually revoked for at least 1 year, or you reach age 21; whichever is longer. Then you incur the full weight of adult penalties if you do it again.

Remember, you don’t even need to feel drunk to be considered a drunk driver. Avoid driving after drinking, but if you happen to be accused of doing so, contact a New York State DWI lawyer immediately.