floridaduh

The Bizarre World of Florida

Troopers: I-75 wrong-way DUI suspect wanted ride home September 2, 2014

sfl-flduh-wrongway-driver-20140831-001While troopers were on patrol of I-75 early Saturday morning, they spotted a driver in a Chevrolet Impala heading eastbound near Naples at a high rate of speed.  The driver was pulled over after radar estimated the vehicle’s speed at 106 mph in a 70 mph zone.

As they were writing up the driver for excess speed, a driver in a Cadillac was heading westbound in the eastbound lanes.  The troopers managed to flag the driver down and get him to pull over.  It took them several tries for to get the driver to put the car in park and get out of the vehicle.

The troopers believed the driver to be intoxicated based on what they saw, according to the arrest report.

They attempted to conduct a sobriety test which the driver identified as 54-year-old David Johnsen refused to cooperate.  During their interview, the troopers say the driver claimed to be a retired cop from Duluth, MN and wanted a ride home.

Johnsen got a ride to the Collier County Jail on a DUI charge where he posted a $1000 bond.

 

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.

 

Mom, if you want your kids to experience a scary ride, take them to Disney — don’t do this August 28, 2014

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.

 

Here’s a new one, this DUI guy was caught dragging a tree down the road! August 21, 2014

A Gainesville police officer was sitting in a parked cruiser late Monday night when an approaching truck caught his attention.

sfl-flduh-dui-dragged-tree-20140820-001It could have been that the truck was speeding, perhaps it was the loud noise and the sparks that were flying from the rear as a chain bounced off the asphalt.

Or maybe it was the tree that the driver was dragging as he drove east along the 3500 block of Northwest 53rd Avenue.

The officer stopped the driver, later identified as Daniel Totulis, 21, of Gainesville, at around 11 p.m. at the entrance to the Apple Tree subdivision. Totulis had glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol, according to a police report.

Totulis told officers that he wanted to take a test to see if he was drunk, the report said. The officers conducted a field sobriety test and Totulis swayed while trying to stand, missed his nose with his finger two out of four times, and refused to walk a straight line.

During the test, Totulis told the officers to take him to jail because he knew he should not have been drinking and driving, the report said. He offered no explanation for why he was dragging a tree down the street late at night.

He was arrested on a charge of DUI after his breath tests registered .190 and .185, twice the legal threshold in Florida for DUI.

 

Meet Florida Man, whose powers include career prostitution, wearing women’s underwear while driving drunk, and crashing into retirement homes August 14, 2014

Filed under: Drunk,Bizzarre,DUI,Bad Luck,Dangerous Nut,WTF?,Controversy,Scary,Dumb,Alcohol — floridaduh @ 1:34 pm

It was a big day for Florida Man.

Today’s Florida Man is Rico Antwan Jones, a 28-year-old career prostitute from Tampa who allegedly crashed into a retirement home overnight while drunk. When police responded to the wreck, they found a gaping hole in the 13-story building. They also found Jones, down the street, wearing women’s underwear, a bra and high heels.

01WEB_tpCrash081314_750x525_13664883_8col

 

His vehicle crashed right next to the senior center’s air vent, sending smoke billowing into the rooms above, according to the Tampa Bay Times. None of the 300 seniors living inside were evacuated or injured.

Jones — also known as Diamond on the street — has a long history of prostitution arrests, Bay News 9 reports. He fled the scene but was eventually apprehended and taken to Tampa General Hospital to be treated for injuries before he went to jail.

Police later accused him of being intoxicated during the crash. Officers had reportedly tried to pull him over moments before he obliterated the senior center wall.

 

 
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