floridaduh

The Bizarre World of Florida

A question only one state can answer: If you drink more after a crash, can you avoid a DUI? September 1, 2014

Two years ago, a man in a 1973 Rolls-Royce blew through a red light and killed an 81-year-old man driving with his wife to Walmart.

b0s_dui083114c_13766468_8colA Pinellas Park officer suspected Tracy Garon, the driver of the Rolls-Royce, was drunk. The officer led the 59-year-old to a curb and resumed investigating at the crash scene. Left to himself, Garon walked into a Circle K and bought a 24-ounce Miller Lite.

The officer saw Garon leave the convenience store with the beer to his lips and told him to stop drinking. Garon kept swigging. The officer grabbed the beer and placed it on the sidewalk.

“At this point, I had suspicion to believe this act was an attempt to defeat a DUI investigation,” an officer wrote of the Dec. 9, 2012, crash.

Stories of how to beat a DUI test abound. And expert opinions vary on how much people could torpedo a DUI case by drinking after a crash and before a breath or blood test is administered.

“It could certainly muddy the waters,” said Reta Newman, director of the Pinellas County Forensic Lab.

In Garon’s case, both he and the officer knew that the can of Miller Lite could be a key piece of evidence in a DUI manslaughter prosecution.

The officer tried to secure the can as evidence. Before he could, Garon kicked it over, spilling it onto the sidewalk.

The strategy is this: If you drink after a crash and before a test, it will be harder for police to determine your blood alcohol level at the time you committed the supposed crime.

“We have people who when pulled over for driving drunk … throw the key out of the car and pop open a beer,” said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Adam Geissenberger.

This could create a problem for police, because if a blood test shows the person is drunk, how can investigators prove that the alcohol consumed after the crash didn’t put them over the limit?

Clearwater defense lawyer Nicholas Dorsten represented Garon. He also represented another client who tried the same tactic.

In that instance, an officer pulled over a St. Petersburg woman on her way home from a Christmas party. The officer called for a member of the DUI unit so they could determine whether the woman had been drinking. Before the other officer arrived, the woman walked inside her home and drank alcohol, Dorsten said. She returned outside in her pajamas and refused a breath test. Police arrested her, but she later was offered a plea deal that reduced her DUI to reckless driving.

Dorsten said prosecutors would have had a hard time proving how much alcohol she had at the time she was pulled over.

In Garon’s case, because someone died in the accident, officers had a legal right to test his blood.

An officer stood watch over Garon after he bought the beer. An hour later they drew a blood sample. The test indicated Garon had a .25 blood alcohol level. An hour later officers drew another sample, which read .23. And an hour after that he tested at .21. All are about three times the legal limit.

Garon told officers he had just come from a car show and only had a small glass of red wine. Officers could tell Garon’s body had begun metabolizing the alcohol because each blood alcohol reading was lower than the last. This helped save the case.

Garon’s blood alcohol level wasn’t affected by the beer he drank. If it had, it would have spiked the sample on at least one test.

“What juror wouldn’t look at that person and say … ‘what the hell is that?’ ” said Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser, who prosecuted Garon. “You just killed someone and you’re going to start drinking?”

In court, Garon pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was sentenced in June to 17 years in prison.

But if Garon had drunk more immediately after the crash, it could have spiked his blood alcohol level. Would that have made a difference?

“The biggest thing is (drinking after a crash) would have a hard time making a major impact unless there is a significant amount of time and a significant amount of alcohol,” said Newman.

Newman said if a person could drink enough, and then wait for the alcohol to kick in, a blood alcohol test would not be able to show their level of intoxication at the time of the crash. That’s what might have helped the St. Petersburg woman who drank an unknown amount of alcohol in her home.

Rosenwasser said he doesn’t think the tactic works.

“Depending on the blood alcohol level it wouldn’t change the way I prosecute,” he said. “And in fact, I would use it as consciousness of guilt. They’re trying to play a game by drinking it right after.”

One thing is clear from Garon’s case, and that’s that officers should not allow DUI suspects to slip into a convenience store to chug a beer after a fatal crash.

Geissenberger, the police sergeant, said in this case the severity of the crash and the size of the scene made it hard for the officer to give all his immediate attention to Garon. The officer was not disciplined, Geissenberger said, but they did discuss what went wrong.

“It was just about how we as an organization can do better,” he said.

 

Man accused of exposing himself, shaking genitals at apartments

sfl-flduh-exposing-shaking-genitals-20140828-001 (1)A 60-year-old Fort Walton Beach man is accused of exposing himself in front of a woman and her 2-year-old son at an apartment complex.

Richard Wild pulled his pants down below his knees, placed his hands on his hips, and then began “shaking” his genitals while “yelling incoherently,” according to the arrest report. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies spoke to the woman, who said she turned herself and her son away to avoid seeing anything further.

Wild said his pants had fallen down because they were loose, according to the report.

He is charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition – intentionally exposing his genitals in the presence of a victim under 16 years old, which is a second degree felony.

 

Kids have imaginary friends — and meth-heads must have imaginary enemies

On 8-24-14 at approximately 0345 hrs. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a newspaper delivery person on Little Dothan Rd. in the northeast portion of Jackson County.

The caller reported three persons yelling for help from the second floor of a residence. The individuals stated that they had been shot at and held hostage for several hours. When the officers arrived the subjects initially refused to come outside because they feared the attackers might still be in the bottom floor of the house.

sfl-flduh-toilet-sink-imaginary-20140828-001

Once contact was made, the two men and one woman reported that they had been attacked by several persons but could not provide any descriptions. The female reported that she had been stabbed and the knife broken off in her abdomen. Further investigation revealed that she only had a superficial scratch to her abdomen. Furthermore, all of the injuries received by the individuals were self-inflicted while attempting to fight off the attackers.

The investigation revealed that there was never anyone at the home beside the three individuals and no one was attempting to cause them harm.

The remnants of a “Shake and Bake” meth lab was found in the residence along with several ingredients and items used to manufacture methamphetamines. Also discovered was a small amount of finished methamphetamine product along with straws and pipes used to ingest, inhale, or smoke illegal narcotics.

It appears in their altered mental state, the subjects were hallucinating and believed that they were being attacked. The three armed themselves with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle. Approximately 40 rounds of 12-gauge and an unknown number of .22 rounds were fired from inside the residence.

Numerous windows were shot out and holes were shot in the walls. They completely removed a large rear window from the house on the second floor and threw the bathroom sink at the imaginary attackers. Chunks of sheetrock, wood, firearm parts, and anything they could tear out of the residence was thrown outside including the toilet, which was ripped from the floor. In total, more than $10,000 damage was done to the residence.

All three of the subjects were lodged in the Jackson County Correctional Facility to await first appearance.

Matthew Tyler McDaniel, 30; Damian Joseph Hines, 21; and Madison Star Douglas, 18 were all charged with Possession of Methamphetamines, Attempt to Manufacture Methamphetamines, Felony Criminal Mischief and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

Jury Rejects Man’s Claim He Was Sleeping When He Molested Girl August 28, 2014

Caleb-RuhCaleb Ruh, a 29-year-old Flagler County man accused two years ago of molesting a 7-year-old girl in his care, was found guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation in a jury trial that ended late this afternoon.

Ruh faces life in prison and will be designated a sexual predator. He will be sentenced on Sept. 29 by Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh.

Ruh was represented by public defender Regina Nunnally, who argued at trial that Ruh suffered from “sexsomnia” and committed the acts while asleep.

Susan Davis writing for WebMD summarizes the disorder this way: “Also called ‘sleep sex,’ sexsomnia is a type of parasomnia, where the brain is caught in transition between sleeping and waking states. As with other parasomnias — including sleepwalking, sleep talking, and, yes, sleep driving — someone who is sleep sexing can seem fully awake and aware, even as he or she is masturbating, or fondling, initiating intercourse with, or even sexually assaulting a bed partner. But he or she truly is asleep. In fact, a diagnosis of sexsomnia has been used as a defense in several rape and molestation cases in recent years.”

In Ruh’s case, a jury of five men and one women didn’t buy it. The jury issued the verdict before Walsh after deliberating 90 minutes.

Ruh, who lives in a part of southern Flagler County that has Ormond Beach addresses, was arrested on Aug. 31, 2012, following a Department of Children and Families investigation earlier into an incident that took place July 1.

Ruh, according to his arrest report at the time, had been left in charge of the 7 year old girl while her mother and a 1-year-old child went to the store. The girl told her mother that Ruh had fallen asleep on the couch, then at one point had called out the girl’s name, grabbed the girl, and tried to kiss and touch her. The girl tried to awaken Ruh, who would later say that he’d taken Xanax before falling asleep. Xanax is an anti-anxiety prescription.

The girl later confronted Ruh about it. He refused to talk about it and claimed that the incident couldn’t have happened. The girl would later tell her mother that on another occasion, Ruh had blindfolded her and put things in her mouth, with the object of the “game” being that she had to guess what it was. The child’s mother took both her children to Broward County, where, the report states, a Child Protective Team concluded that there had been “two acts of sexual violence.”

Ruh continued to insist that he did not remember what had taken place on July 1, as he did at trial.

He was initially booked on $200,000 bail. He did not have a good record while in jail, and faced additional charges, such as obstructing police and violating jail rules two or more times, a case still pending in county court, and a battery charge, what would have been a third-degree felony, though the charge was dismissed.

 

Mom, if you want your kids to experience a scary ride, take them to Disney — don’t do this

UntitledJennifer Mannino of Punta Gorda was stopped Tuesday night for suspected DUI.

When a Charlotte County deputy managed to pull her over near Tamiami Trail and Bayshore Road the deputy said she had already taken the pickup truck over the median and almost hit traffic as she made a right hand turn.

Mannino failed a field sobriety test and her blood alcohol registered three times the legal limit at .025.

Compounding her situation, her 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were in the car at the time.  The daughter, according to the arrest record, was so concerned she called her father.

There was an open container of vodka inside the truck’s cab that the arresting deputy said contributed to the evidence she had been driving while she was driving the pickup.

This was Mannino’s second DUI charge in less than two years according to jail records.  In addition to the DUI, Mannino was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm.

The children were turned over to their guardian who showed up at the scene and took them away.

She remains in Charlotte County jail without bond.

 

Man swiped hit-and-run souvenir, cops say August 27, 2014

An 18-year-old man was arrested Saturday after police say he crashed into another car and nearly ran over two people.

sfl-flduh-hit-run-souvenir-20140825-001Briar-Jo Coty Mellen sped through the parking lot of Cabana Beach Apartments, at 1601 SW 51st Terrace, where he lives, according to a police report.

Mellen crashed into an unoccupied vehicle at about 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, then spun the tires of his car and drove toward two people. The two bystanders were forced to move out of the way to avoid being struck, the report said.

Then Mellen drove onto a curb, where he left his vehicle parked, police said.

One witness told police that when Mellen left his vehicle, he removed the license plate from the vehicle that he hit and took it with him, the report said.

Mellen returned to the apartment with the tag and told his roommate that he had just hit a car and was planning to keep the license plate as a souvenir, police said.

Mellen was apprehended by police near the apartment complex. He was slurring his words, swaying when walking and emitting a strong odor of alcohol, the report said.

Police saw a large green marking on the damaged portion of the white vehicle, where paint had likely been transferred during a collision.

Mellen was booked in the Alachua County jail with charges of theft, failure to leave information to an unattended vehicle with property damage and reckless driving.

 

Man charged with DUI — while riding lawn mower

Filed under: Alcohol,Bizzarre,Controversy,Drunk,DUI,Dumb,Funny,OK Then .....,Unusual,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:41 pm

A man is under arrest for allegedly driving a lawn tractor while intoxicated on a busy street.

sfl-flduh-dui-lawn-mower-20140826-00158-year-old Kenneth La Rue Smith was observed by a police officer traveling into oncoming traffic on US 41 southbound near Richmond St.

According to officials, after nearly avoiding a vehicle Smith proceeded to drink out of an aluminum can and place it into the lawnmower’s cupholder.

After being pulled over, officers discovered a package of beers between Smith’s legs.

Smith also had two knives, a cylinder for a .22 revolver, and several rounds of ammunition in his pockets.

The .22 revolver was found under the seat of the lawnmower.

Officials say Smith has been previously convicted of felonies and has received multiple DUI’s.

He is now charged with posession of a firearm as well as a DUI and received a citation of open container.

 

 
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