Thursday, November 14, 2013

DUI Dishonor Roll

One out of every five college students has admitted to drunk driving

Melissa Morrissey, age 22, must have thought she was trying out for a role in Fast & Furious.  Yeah, vodka will do that.  

And it was precisely her dangerous driving that garnered the attention of high ranking UMPD officer Lt. Jessica Moore.  Ms. Morrissey ignored those hard to ignore flashing blue lights and continued to recklessly retreat from the law, even ignoring a spotlight.

When finally blocked in and forced to stop by another marked cruiser Morrissey put up a fight, as did the other occupant of her scud missile, Anthony Haight, age 23.  

In Eastern Hampshire District Court on Tuesday both Perps pled "not guilty" and had their cases continued.  


Also in District Court on Tuesday for a DUI offense, Arthur Copstein pled innocent and told the Judge he would hire an attorney (considering the car he was driving, no wonder), for a January 16 pre trial hearing.


Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I have a problem with the "failure to stop" charge and as the father of daughters, you ought to as well.

I don't have a problem with the other charges, assuming Moore's facts are true, but I have a real problem with this one because I don't believe that she was driving a marked cruiser -- something you will notice is NOT stated in her report.

There are people out there pretending to be police officers and flashing blue lights aren't exactly hard to obtain. The same companies that sell yellow lights to plow drivers and red ones to volunteer firefighters also sell blue ones - you just specify what color you want when you buy it.

And if you don't want anything fancy, you can get 12-volt blue lights at most truck stops -- they use them in the sleeper compartment so as not to distract the driver.

And Blue LEDs can be obtained at Radio Shack -- and it isn't hard to use the same number, arranged in the same pattern as the ones used on real unmarked police cars.

It's one thing to paint the word "police" on all four sides of a vehicle and to bolt a quite conspicuous light bar onto the roof -- the real police will kinda notice something like this. They'll definitely notice the bright blue front license plate with the word "police" up the side and quite likely have a question or two about it.

But officers aren't going to know what some perp has behind his grill, and unless they have a fairly good reason, they aren't going to get their uniforms dirty crawling underneath vehicles to go look. And was Lt. Moore even wearing a uniform? (The UMPD's Lieutenants often don't.)

Yes, she had to do something when she saw what she allegedly did, but if police departments are going to take great efforts to make vehicles look like they aren't police cars, they can't then turn around and hold people criminally liable for -- essentially -- believing what the department had taken great efforts to have people believe.

That's why the protocol in most departments is to call a marked cruiser for assistance -- which Moore well may have done.

And back before she was a police officer, back in the '90s when she was a student herself, I'm not so sure that Jessica Moore herself would have stopped for an unmarked cruiser, nor would people had held it against her if she hadn't. As you may recall, the MSP was warning women about a perp (whom I believe they eventually did catch) who was pretending to be a police officer and stopping vehicles driven by young female drivers.

One of the things I was taught in my lifeguard training is that if you make a mistake in a rescue and the victim gets you in a chokehold or something, you should go for the bottom as quickly as you can -- the victim will let go rather than be pulled underwater with you.

In a similar sense, faux cops tend not to like to go where there are lots of real ones. Places like police stations....

Larry, you've got two daughters, there are a lot of bad guys out there and you won't be with them -- notwithstanding all the other allegations, think twice about the "failure to stop" one.

Larry Kelley said...

Ms. Morrissey had a male compatriot with her at the time, so I don't think she was all that concerned with her own safety.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr Ed..(enter horse reference here..... although a donkey is more appropriate...)

Lets play your game and say she was scared if it was real or not.. . #1.. at 1am, can you really tell if a car is "marked" or not if its behind you? local PDs do not have "POLICE" written on the hood or front bumper, so looking in the mirror she can't tell. #2- If she's scared, continue to drive.. call 911 or campus PD... and ask them, via radio they can ascertain if its legit or not, drive towards a populated area, towards the police dept etc..why would she drive into a parking lot? Although some of your points are valid (ouch that hurts) about being able to buy blue lights, the basis of your thoughts is ridiculous. Im not sure why Larry lets your comments continue to post.

Anonymous said...

Presumably she displayed her badge and/or ID when she approached, that would be protocol. Yes, one can buy a badge I realize... but you can only do so much as an officer. What's the alternative? Drive around drunk, or destroying evidence until the perp is "comfortable"? Richard Marsh

Dr. Ed said...

The alternative, Mr. Marsh, is to request assistance from a marked cruiser and charge her for "failure to stop" when she doesn't stop for that -- or just charge her for the far more serious offense of OUI and call it done.

Did they stop her -- yes. Was it within a reasonable distance -- remembering that it is alleged she was drunk -- I'd say so. So what's the issue? It wasn't like they had to put out spike strips or something....

And to the other A-hole -- when a woman you care about gets raped, don't call me because I won't care. And if you can't tell the difference between blue lights on the ROOF of a car and ones behind the grill, you ought not be driving with vision that bad.

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world you would always call for a cruiser. But on a busy night, with limited man power, it's not always practical, and quite frankly not necessary. Nice, yes. But necessary, no. And what's with the "other A-hole Ed"? Are you referring to me as the first? Richard Marsh

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed- Your point is absolutely ridiculous. I work at Umass, and I live in a nearby town. The cops in both places (and I'm sure in your town or city too) drive both marked and unmarked cruisers. So do the state police. The law states that if an emergency vehicle is behind you with red or blue flashing lights, you must pull to the right and stop. Period. If the cruiser had been marked, could the driver have read the word 'police' written on the side of it, in the middle of the night, with the headlights on in her rear view mirrors, and subsequently the flashing lights in her mirrors? No. Marked or unmarked, the driver can't see the SIDES of a cruiser that is driving behind it. The driver can just see the blue lights in their mirrors, so they just need to pull over. It's simple. To take the stand that someone impersonating a police officer is going to try to pull a car over, at umass, at midnight, when there's probably a dozen cops driving around and a thousand students walking around.. Please. If you were that person impersonating an officer, you'd be caught in 10 seconds. This isn't rural back roads in a small town where someone might try to get away with something like that. Also- your statement that 'if a police department goes to great lengths to make a car not look like a cruiser, then they shouldn't be allowed to charge someone for failure to stop..' is the most idiotic thing I've read in a while. Next time a gray unmarked state trooper car gets behind you on the highway-you go ahead and follow your own advice: don't pull over when he turns on his blue lights, and please let us all know how that works out for you. The rest of us will be here in the real world while you sit in a cell trying to convince the trooper that since the car didn't have state police written on the side of it, you can't be charged with 'failure to stop.'

Anonymous said...

Well, you guys got sucked in again by Dr. Ediot's favorite pastime. Haven't you learned by now that the guy just likes to make up crap and argue about it to see how much dust he can stir up?
Only a nut-job would continually find things to "have a problem with" on almost every post about a town and college he is no longer in!

That other poster is right, just ignore his posts so we can get on with meaningful discussions.

Dr. Ed said...

Police officers need to understand that they are making the mistakes that teachers made a half century ago. They have authority and are exercising it in some cases unwisely -- I would argue that making an issue of failure to stop for an unmarked vehicle is one -- and the end result, eventually, will be a ban on unmarked cars.

Look at what has happened to high-speed pursuits -- need I really say more?

Larry Kelley said...

I think the officer had more of an issue with erratic driving in general, failing to stop for a stop sign, and speeding.

And yeah, the open bottle of vodka.