October 2010 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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October 2010 Archives

Police say a 16-year-old Crystal Lake girl drove her Lexus into the attached garage of a house while texting, as reported by the Northwest Herald. There were no injuries and the house was declared habitable following the crash.

The teen was driving a 1998 Lexus ES300 on Country Club Rd. in Crystal Lake when the car went off a curve, across the front lawn and into the house. Both the car and the house sustained extensive damage, which you can see for yourself by viewing the photo accompanying the Herald article.

Lake Forest motorist John McDermott was arrested after crashing his Audi and fleeing the scene of the crash last week, according to police cited in a Chicago Sun-Times article. He reportedly replied "alcohol" when a doctor examining him asked if takes any medications on a daily basis; he also reportedly said "No s---" when asked if he was drunk.

His blood-alcohol concentration was determined to be 0.323 percent when he was tested at the hospital, which is more than four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Chicago police officer and DUI specialist John Haleas will once again face official misconduct charges, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was accused of falsifying DUI arrest records and fabricating evidence in order to boost his numbers but a Cook County judge dismissed the indictment; an appellate ruling trumps the dismissal and sends his case back to court.

John Haleas also faces charges of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from a 2005 incident in which the officer allegedly failed to administer a field sobriety test but later claimed to have done so. He was indicted in 2008 but Circuit Judge James Obbish dismissed it on the grounds that the state improperly used a statement by John Haleas in its internal police probe.

The number of DUI cases involving the illegal use of intoxicating prescription drugs is on the rise, according to law enforcement authorities cited by USA Today. However, prosecuting and offenders and securing convictions for driving under the influence of prescription drugs is proving very difficult.

It's important to remember that even legally prescribed drugs can cause impairment and theoretically may result in charges. But legal or not, the difficulty lies in determining that the driver is in fact impaired and then pinpointing the amount of the drug in the alleged offender's system.

Matt Keough, who pitched for the Oakland A's and attempted a brief but unsuccessful comeback with the Los Angeles (then California) Angels in 1992, will serve less than a year in jail for a DUI on August 15, 2009, according to the Contra Costa Times. 

According to police, Matt Keough recorded a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.30 percent upon taking a breathalyzer test, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent (in California as well as Illinois). The incident did not end with a crash but his sentence was relatively severe since it was his second DUI conviction.

Off-duty River Forest police officer Troy Fields didn't stop or arrest DUI suspect Pawel Karpiel when he allegedly saw him driving erratically. But suburban paper Forest Leaves reported his heroics in notifying on-duty cops and following the suspect.

Troy Fields said he was traveling southbound on First Ave. in the evening of Oct. 9 when he noticed the car in front of his "driving all over the road and into oncoming traffic." He then flashed his lights to warn other drivers, called 911 and stayed behind the car until police were able to catch up.

On-duty police officers stopped 24-year-old Pawel Karpiel, of Chicago, who failed more than one field sobriety test and was arrested. Police said he had a breath-alcohol concentration of 0.174 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

During a visit to his downstate hometown of Alton, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White discussed his accomplishments with Alton Telegraph reporters. The 76-year-old is running for a fourth term in the upcoming general election and has been touring the state.

In an effort to show off his accomplishments since taking office in 1998, Jesse White discussed among other things his establishment of the Teen Driver Safety Task Force and the Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) program.

Peoria District 150 school bus driver Gary Stewart claims he was not drunk when he crashed his vehicle last Monday, resulting in injuries to 13 of the 20 passengers, the Peoria Journal-Star reported. He was charged with a DUI after his blood-alcohol test registered 0.04 percent, which is right at the legal limit for school bus drivers.

The 46-year-old driver claims he wasn't boozing and that Nyquil cough medicine taken the morning before his shift put him over the limit. He admits he didn't use the accompanying measuring cup but "just took the bottle and drank it," adding that he didn't drink the whole bottle:

"They make it seem like I was drinking all night. That wasn't the case."

Crystal Lake resident Ruben Rodriguez was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence after officers pulled him over for speeding, according to the Southtown Star. But what makes this case truly outrageous, according to police, are charges that he also was sending a text message at the time and had four children in his SUV.

Deputy Police Chief Eugene Lowery said Ruben Rodriquez was driving his 2000 Kia Sportage "erratically" while speeding and typing on his cell phone. The officer recognized what he believed were signs of intoxication and then saw that four children about 11 or 12 years old were in the SUV.

For the second time in less than three years, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett has been arrested on a drunk driving charge, according to the Associated Press. The once-promising receiver was released on $2,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court this afternoon in Charlotte.

North Carolina and several other states refer to a drunk driving criminal charge as "driving while intoxicated" or DWI for short, instead of "driving under the influence" or DUI. 

The AP article indicated that it wasn't clear whether Dwayne Jarrett had yet hired a lawyer, although he certainly has the means for top-notch legal representation. But you don't have to be a professional athlete to have access to Chicago DUI lawyers.

An MSNBC series suggests that while a sleep-deprived motorist is in many cases just as hazardous as a drunk one, federal transportation safety guidelines addressing the dangers of drowsy driving have not been adequately adopted by other federal agencies. 

Conclusions were based on what many say is a disconnect between research into the dangers of sleep-deprived driving and the lackluster adoption of safety recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The NTSB issued 138 fatigue-related safety recommendations for motorists, pilots and other operators of various types of vehicles. But only 68 have been implemented by federal agencies, MSNBC reported.

Springfield-based insurance company Horace Mann Educators Corp. had to scramble in order to fill the vacancy left by CEO Louis Lower, who began serving a 60-day jail sentence for a DUI in Indian River County, Florida, the Associated Press reported. 

While the chief executive's arrest did not take place in Illinois, this story illustrates the ripple effects that often accompany a DUI conviction. Lucky for Louis Lower, the board of Horace Mann decided he could keep his job after he serves his sentence. Workers in lesser positions often become stigmatized by DUI cases and have difficulty either advancing or finding a new job.