Archive for April, 2008

Raleigh, NC — A North Carolina State University student had apparently been celebrating his 21st birthday, investigators said, when he struck a bicyclist near campus late Wednesday morning.

According to a Raleigh police report, Brian Anthony Reid, 21, of Graham, admitted he had been drinking. He registered a .12 blood-alcohol concentration on an alcohol breath test.

Reid was charged with one count each of driving while impaired, felony assault by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed.

The crash happened shortly before 11:00 am, police said, when the Ford F-150 Reid was driving struck Nancy Antoine Leidy near N.C. State at Nazareth Street and Crusader Drive.

Leidy, 60, was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh with life-threatening injuries. She was listed in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, but died Wednesday night.

She was riding on the right-hand side of the road and was wearing a helmet, police said.

Reid, a junior engineering major at N.C. State, was in the Wake County Jail Wednesday afternoon under a $10,000 secured bond on the assault charge and a written promise to appear in court on the DWI.

His first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

At the Wake County magistrate’s office Wednesday afternoon, Reid’s father called the crash “an unfortunate accident” and said “our prayers are with the family.”

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Breathe Before Driving

Lawmakers want to require repeat DUI offenders to prove they can drive before turning on the car.Now, lawmakers want interlock devices instead of just as an option. The device costs about $60 a month and requires a driver to blow into a Breathalyzer.

“This is something that courts can do now, but aren’t, for one reason or another. I’m not sure why they aren’t ordering a lot of these,” said representative Neil St. Onge, Ballwin (R).

He said that for every 100 drivers out on the road, three of those drivers have had multiple DWI convictions. In Missouri, there are 118,000 people with multiple drunk driving convictions. More than 40,000 have three, and 7,300 have five or more.

“If you look at it another way, by having one of these on your car, it allows a person to get back to driving safely without drinking, and it allows them to continue to be a useful member in society,” said St. Onge.

Some believe this effort to keep the roads safer is simply not worth the cost.

“Well, I think that the trend around the country has been to push this expensive hardware,” said representative John Burnett, Kansas City (D). “I don’t think that hardware is an answer to alcohol treatment for people that have alcohol problems. I dont think that you can make them blow in machines and stop drinking.”

Representative St. Onge hopes to push this bill through both chambers before the end of the session on May 16.

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Law enforcement work daily to combat crimes that involve alcohol, drunken driving and underage drinking. Now there’s a new pill on the market that could throw off police officers and possibly hide an alcohol-related crime.

Anti-Poleez claims to be a mint that erases all traces of smells on your breath associated with alcohol and cigarettes.

Columbus police said that those who think they can drink and drive and fool police with the product are wrong. Police aren’t going to base a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on breath alone. They will pull drivers over for other actions like swerving and speeding.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit worries that the product could hide kids’ illegal practices from their parents.

NBC 4 contacted the maker of Anti-Poleez. They said the name of the mint is meant to be controversial in order to create sales in the breath mint market — but in no way is it meant to condone illegal activity.

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Kids routinely exhale into Breathalyzers on their way into high school dances. Or after their cars are stopped by the police. How about a breath test for alcohol after they home Friday night?

“That’s a tool that’s available,” said Police Commission Chairwoman Susan Craig. “Parents may not know you can buy a Breathalyzer for $75 and check your kids — especially if they’re driving.”

Ms. Craig has proposed that the town buy a small stock of home-use Breathalyzers for resale at cost to parents.

“I was thinking, if we had money and we bought 50 Breathalyzers and we said ‘You can buy them at town hall’ — that’s a pretty strong statement,” Ms. Craig said.

The suggestion drew some support at the Police Commission’s April 10 meeting.

There were also concerns. What if a Breathalyzer sold by the town didn’t function right? Could there be lawsuits?

Police Chief Richard Ligi and commission member Carl Lecher questioned whether the sale of gadgets available commercially was the proper role for the police.

Bissell’s, CVS and Rite Aide pharmacies said they don’t carry Breathalyzers, but the Internet has numerous sites selling them.

“I don’t know if I want to start selling things at the Police Department,” Chief Ligi said.

Ms. Craig said she’d seen it as way to draw attention to the idea of parental alcohol testing, and to make breathalyzers easier to get.

“A pilot program, to let people know there’s a way, if you want to check,” she said.

“It raises awareness,” Commissioner Tom Reynolds agreed. “These things are available.”

Commissioners talked about handing the idea off to some other public agency.

“How about the PTA?” suggested George Kain.

Discussion settled on the idea of the Police Commission raising public awareness of home use Breathalyzers, with sales handled by another town agency — perhaps the town clerk’s office, which routinely sells hunting and fishing licenses.

“You don’t even have to go on the Internet,” said Commissioner George Kain. “You can buy one at town hall.”

Chief Ligi thought he’d bring the idea up with the Ridgefield Coalition Against Substance Abuse,  made up of town leaders and co-chaired by First Selectman Rudy Marconi and School Superintendent Deborah Low.

“I think the coalition is where this should go,” he said.

“Somebody’s got to get the ball rolling,” Ms. Craig said. “I’d be interested in what the superintendent’s thoughts are.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” Commissioner Reynolds said.

“All I care is people know there’s a tool out there,” Ms. Craig said. “People should know.”

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First look – BACTRACK personal breathalyzer

The BACTRACK is a very sharp-looking personal breathalyzer, one of the newest models available. Full operational review will come soon, but for now take a look at these features:

-No mouthpiece required
-Inverse LCD Display — White digits on a black background make test results easy to view in daylight and at night
-Accuracy to +/- 0.01 %BAC from 0.00 – 0.40 %BAC

Pictures speak for themselves:
<BACTRACK breathalyzer<BACTRACK breathalizer

DENVER (AP) — Police say the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony was arrested early Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Detective Sharon Hahn says Anthony was arrested at about 4 a.m. on Interstate 25. Hahn says an officer pulled him over for weaving and failing to dim his lights.

Hahn says Anthony failed a series of sobriety tests. He was ticketed and released at the scene, but Hahn says she does not know how he got home.

He is due back in court on May 14.

The Nuggets issued a statement saying they are aware of “the situation involving Carmelo Anthony” but declined further comment.

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Breathalyzer beats 2-beer defense, court rules

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday ordered a new trial for a Nova Scotia man charged with impaired driving while operating his all-terrain vehicle after drinking beer about five years ago.

In doing so, the court struck down the arguments of Robert Gibson and an Alberta man who were both charged with impaired driving in their home provinces. Both said they didn’t drink enough to be drunk, despite failing breathalyzer tests

At his trial in Kentville provincial court in 2004, Mr. Gibson was found not guilty of driving while his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Judge Alan Tufts acquitted him, saying he had a reasonable doubt about whether the Kings County man was legally drunk at the time of his arrest.

Mr. Gibson had testified at trial he had 10 beers over seven hours when he was stopped by the RCMP in July 2003. He said he had five of them shortly before being pulled over at about 9 p.m.

In a split decision, the judicial panel ruled 7-2 to uphold breathalyzer results in Mr. Gibson’s case and that of Martin MacDonald of Alberta. Their arguments were hooked to the so-called two-beer defence, an avenue for defence terminated earlier this year by the Harper government.

The men argued that based on factors such as body weight, the amount and pattern of alcohol consumption and age, they had metabolized the alcohol and their levels straddled the legal limit of 80 milligrams, CBC News reported.

Mr. Gibson of Canning, who was 36 years old when he was stopped by police near Harbourville, had his case set aside by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, which ordered a new trial.

The Supreme Court confirmed the order for a new trial.

Mr. MacDonald of Calgary failed a breathalyzer test at a police checkpoint in 2003. He has said he drank six cans of beer over more than four hours. Mr. MacDonald was convicted.

At trial in Kentville, “the arresting officer testified that he saw Mr. Gibson driving his all-terrain vehicle on the highway, that he stopped him . . . on July 13, 2003, that Mr. Gibson’s breath smelled of alcohol and that his speech was slurred,” the Supreme Court’s judgment says.

“The officer administered two breathalyzer tests, which showed that Mr. Gibson’s blood alcohol content was 120 milligrams at 10:12 p.m. and 100 milligrams at 10:21 p.m.”

According to The Canadian Press, an expert testified that “based on average alcohol elimination rates for someone of Mr. Gibson’s weight, his blood alcohol concentration would have fallen in a range that may or may not have been over the legal limit.” In other words, the expert said, he straddled the line.

Defence lawyer Chris Manning said in 2004 that Judge Tufts’ decision shows there are times when a driver can be legally sober while driving but found guilty when his intoxication level increases in police custody.

But Susan MacAskill, MADD Canada’s Atlantic region manager, said the Supreme Court recognized breathalyzer results are essentially infallible.

She said the attitudes of people who continue to drink and drive, despite all the information available on impairment and about risk to drivers and others, must be changed.

Ms. MacAskill of Windsor lost her 68-year-old father to a drunk driver in a crash in 1993.

She said Canadian courts “need to recognize the fact the person has said they’ve consumed an excessive level of alcohol (and) technology has said that they’re legally impaired.”

“The courts should support the fact that that behaviour needs to be appropriately addressed.”

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LOUISE, Texas — In a little town called Louise, good people brag about great memories.

“It’s nice because everybody knows each other,” Flora De Leon said.

But along with the good memories, they also have the bad.

De Leon’s son, Dusty Ochoa, died riding in a car with a drunk driver nearly two years ago.

“It’s going on two years already, but it’s still hard,” De Leon said. “It’s hard on everyone that was close to him.”

That includes his classmates, who on Friday were decorating their school gym for prom night.

“He was a friend. A great guy to hang around with,” junior Matthew Blumrick said.

Louise school administrators are taking an extraordinary step to make sure Ochoa’s classmates who go to prom make it home safely.

“I’ll have a deputy here, the breathalyzer people will be here. I’ll have the drug dogs up front,” Louise ISD Superintendent Andy Peters said as he toured the location of the dance.

This year, anyone who goes to the prom will be required to pass a breathalyzer test.

It’s an idea that’s drawn mixed reactions from students.

“I think it’s a great idea,” junior Rachel Aguirre said.

“Everybody is kind of ready for it. They know what to expect,” student Brittney Taylor said.

“We feel they don’t trust us. That we have to prove ourselves,” student John Duke said.

Parents who plan to attend the prom will have to pass the test too.

“If we are going to test our kids, I think we need to be the first ones in the door,” parent Debbie Koudela said.

In fact, Dusty Ochoa’s mom is going to the prom and plans to take the test herself.

In another effort to crack down on drunken driving, HPD and 15 other police agencies have launched a campaign to deal with the number of local car crashes.

They are posting the faces of DWI violators on the Internet in the hopes they can save a life – a life like that of Flora De Leon’s son, Dusty.

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Akers Biosciences Inc. said full year loss from operations narrowed on a surge in revenues and said it expects to build its core product line sales both domestically and abroad and bring forward new and mass market potential diagnostic products.The diagnostic testing products developer said loss from operations for the full year to December 31, 2007, was $1.74 million compared to $8.83 million a year earlier.

Revenues for the period surged to $5.5 million from $1.4 million in the previous year due to the market penetration of its four core product lines.

Akers added the acquisitions completed in 2006 and early 2007 have established it as a leading player in the portable alcohol breathalyzer business in the United States.

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An off-duty Fort Worth police officer was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after a Burleson officer found him asleep behind the wheel of his marked patrol unit at a Burleson intersection Sunday.

Clinton Wyatt, who began with the department in January 2003, was released from the Burleson Jail on Sunday after posting $1,000 bail, said Sally Ellertson, a spokeswoman with the city of Burleson.

Wyatt, a patrol officer assigned to the crime response team, has been placed on restricted duty and is not allowed to carry a badge or gun, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, said Lt. Paul Henderson, Fort Worth police spokesman.

Wyatt, 32, had been working at the Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday and had gotten off work about 6 p.m., Henderson said.

Burleson police say an officer saw Wyatt asleep in his take-home patrol car in the 100 block of Northwest Burleson Boulevard at Renfro Street about 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

Ellertson said the marked unit was facing southbound about two to three car lengths from a stop light. The case will be forwarded to the Johnson County district attorney’s office for prosecution.

Henderson said an internal affairs investigation is also under way. He said the department is investigating Wyatt’s whereabouts between when he got off work Saturday and his arrest Sunday.

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