Friday, January 3, 2014

DUI DIshonor Roll

Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for DUI in 2010

The last two (alleged) drunk drivers of 2013, Jocelyn N Gozdowski age 22 and Gergory T Fitzpatrick, age 37, are fairly typical as DUI arrests go, but surprising not-so-typical since they close out the calender year bringing the total number of arrests to 127, down from 148 in 2012, or a drop of 15%. 

Could be the word has gotten out and people think twice about drunk driving through Amherst; or overworked APD didn't have the people power to target drunk drivers.   So maybe we just got lucky, unlike Daniel Haley

For instance our "typical" DUI, Mr. Fitzpatrick, was bagged Saturday night just after the sold out Mullins Center UMass basketball game ended.  He was pulled over on Triangle/Kellogg Streets only a mile or so from the facility.  How many drivers were on Amherst roads at that moment? 



How many innocent citizens going about their daily business without a care in the world?  Until suddenly you see those headlights bearing down, head on ...


32 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Mr. Fitzpatrick was not at the UMass game. If he was, he must have been bleepfaced when he got there. He would have had 2 1/2 hours to burn off whatever was in his system during the game.

Larry Kelley said...

Doesn't matter. He was on the road at a time when LOTS of people were on the road.

Although it would be interesting to find out for all 127 DUI arrests where they had their "last drink."

Dr. Ed said...

"Although it would be interesting to find out for all 127 DUI arrests where they had their "last drink.""

My experience is that the defense attorney inevitably says "private residence" and neither the judge nor ADA questions it -- often "private residence" is appended to all the mumbled stuff that constitutes a guilty plea with the question never actually asked.

Now as to what effort, if any, the various arresting officers of the various (not just Amherst & UM) made into this -- I have no idea. Likewise as to what effort, if any, the prosecutor made toward similar ends, nor really anything else beyond (A) seeing defense attorneys saying "private residence" and (B) presuming that this is relative to the statutory provision about location of "last drink."

Let me reiterate, I am neither criticizing the local constabulary (for this) nor saying that it isn't possible for all of the members of my relatively small population sample to actually have consumed their "last drink" at a private residence.

Instead, I'm just saying that (a) it's statistically unlikely that absolutely all of these perps had their last drink in a "private residence", (B) drunk drivers whose "last drink" was at a licensed venue is a perfectly legitimate thing for licensing authorities (and the ABCC) to consider relative to that license, and hence, if legally permissible, (C) it might be worthwhile for the police to make some effort to determine if the "last drink" was at a licensed establishment.

Including the BAC in such cases would be particularly relevant.

Now I hold the individual responsible for what he/she/it does, 0.08% is a difficult borderline call for anyone to make (without FSTs,etc), and everyone makes mistakes -- but if someone consumed the "last drink" at a licensed establishment, that means that an employee thereof served it.

If you have, say, a half dozen OUI arrests (which the police have verified led to some sort of conviction), each of which with a BAC in the 1.5%-2.0% range (with the police preserving whatever printouts or whatnot that verify this), that's something they can give to the Selectboard.

If the cops have the BACs and can defend them, if they've verified that their arrests led to convictions, if they can document how they know the "last drink" was there -- there is nothing that the bar's lawyer can do to question this. This is how you make a problematic bar clean up its act or how you shut them down without getting sued.

One does need to remember that even a reputable place (e.g. ABC) is going to have problems (e.g. drunken woman who stole the cash jar) and hence there is a need to avoid the knee-jerk crucification approach of Enku Gelaye. If the town gives the proprietors the benefit of the doubt, the problematic establishments will quickly accumulate enough to preclude any doubt....

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you do need to remember that OUI is not the cause of all fatal crashes.

The worst one I ever saw was caused by the left front tire of a vehicle blowing just as it crossed a narrow bridge, causing a head-on collision with the oncoming car. Three died in one vehicle, four in the other -- absolutely everyone was sober, drivers & passengers both, there was absolutely no alcohol involved in this accident.

As I understand it, the same was true for the fatality that brought the issue of what the environmentally-friendly ice-melt was doing to brake lines in Maine. A woman on vacation borrowed someone's pickup truck, the corroded brake line let go and she went into Moosehead Lake where she drowned.

Even in cases where alcohol is "involved" in the accident, it doesn't mean the accident wouldn't have occurred had the driver been sober!!!!!

As I understand it, there was a fatal MVA up on 202 in Shutesbury a few years back when a tall White Pine snapped in the wind and a few tons of tree landed on a passing car. While both survived, I personally know someone whose car was crushed by a tree which blew over onto I-91. Had the driver in either accident been intoxicated, these would be considered accidents in which alcohol was "involved" -- yet nothing would have changed.

Take the aforementioned blown tire incident -- if two sober drivers couldn't avoid that accident, it stands to reason that two intoxicated ones couldn't either -- yet that would be considered an OUI one.

Then you get into the grey areas -- take that fatal motorcycle accident on 116 -- clearly she was drunk and ought not have been driving. But are you certain that she wouldn't have gone to the left of the split had she been sober?

Throw in the fact that those who drive drunk are inherently irresponsible & reckless people in the first place, and can you be certain she wouldn't have?

Haven't you ever mistakenly gone to the left of a poorly-marked traffic island when entering a poorly-lit parking lot at night? Enough people, enough sober people, have done this for there to be engineering standards of how such things should be laid out.

My point is that while OUI is bad and those who perpetrate it worse, I fear that we are paying attention to it at the expense of other stuff that actually is costing more lives.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you also need to ask how many OUI fatalities are actually suicides.

Guns, cars and high places from which one could fall are inherently dangerous -- anyone of common intelligence knows that a gun could kill you, a car crash could kill you, and falling from a precipice could kill you.

Hence when the authorities find someone dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or haven fallen from the roof of a tall building (e.g. Southwest Tower), the presumption is a successful suicide attempt. This isn't unreasonable -- drunk, sober or otherwise, one concerned about one's wellbeing wouldn't have exposed one's self to this risk.

Yet you can't just walk into the local sporting goods store and nonchalantly buy a gun the way you could in the 1960's -- no permit, no ID, no need for anything but enough cash to pay for it.

Nor can you just walk out onto the roof of a Southwest Tower the way you once could -- there's quite a bit involved in getting up there for legitimate purposes -- memory is that there is one key that only the UMPD has, another that only Plant has (and the cops don't) so you need someone from both departments there, along with a few more things.

To their credit, UMass has stopped the kids from jumping from the roofs of their tall buildings -- something that was happening in the 1970's. And where is the nearest store that even *sells* handguns -- I honestly don't even know.

So what's left if you want to kill yourself? OUI comes to mind. Running your vehicle into a fixed object at a high rate of speed comes to mind -- say at 107 MPH into a solid ledge as our former Lt. Governor did early one morning some years back.

If you realize how wide that road is, with both the 28 foot breakdown lane (wider than two travel lanes) and the grassy area beyond even that (it was built as an alternate runway for B-52s in case Westover were nuked), you realize that there is no realistic way he wouldn't have woken up before he hit the ledge -- gas pedal to the floor.

And if you look at the pictures of how badly the vehicle was damaged, you realize that if (A) that hadn't been an unmarked police car (with full roll cage and other protections not in civilian models), and (B) the vehicle hadn't spun upon initial impact (causing a less abrupt deceleration), he almost certainly would have died there.

And it isn't exactly like he has a plausible explanation of what he was doing, either.

Now he's a high ranking politician so questions aren't asked. Likewise with single-victim OUI fatalities, driver was drunk, now is dead, and questions aren't asked byond that. And in some cases, it truly is an accident caused by the operator's intoxication.

But I do wonder how many are intentional suicides.

Anonymous said...

thank you Ed for wasting my time, blab on much?

he would not necessarily have had 2.5 hrs to burn off his booze, quite easy to sneak booze into most establishments

Walter Graff said...

Sorry folks, with the snow today Ed was not able to refill his prescription.

Anonymous said...

What's your excuse, Walter?

Anonymous said...

Ed, when you suggested that Dan Haley should have turned his headlight off and gone into the other lane to avoid a drunk driver, you proved to me that you are just an idiot.

Stop

Kris

Dr. Ed said...

"Ed, when you suggested that Dan Haley should have turned his headlight off and gone into the other lane to avoid a drunk driver, you proved to me that you are just an idiot."

Perhaps, but one who is alive.

Kris, a slim percentage of survival is better than none at all and certain death. I'd have done it -- I've done similarly "out of the box" things in extremis before, and I'm still here.

And answer one other thing: do you honestly believe that it wouldn't have been possible for that Delta Charlie to have gotten on the wrong side of 116 even if she was sober? I don't...

And that's why we need to have roads that are well marked.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least he admits he's an idiot.

Dr. Ed said...

George Santana once said something to the effect of those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history get to relive the same.

Respectfully, I think we are making the same mistake with OUI that we made with speed 60 years ago -- and Larry, you're part of the problem.

Back in the 1950's, the message was "speed kills" and all highway fatalities were blamed on the fact that someone was driving too fast. (Just like we do today with someone being "drunk.") The carnage continued notwithstanding the increasingly lower speed limits and their more aggressive enforcement.

Then came Ralph Nader and his book Unsafe at any speed -- Nader's thesis was that MVAs and the resulting injuries were not being caused by the negligence of the driver but by the vehicles themselves.

He pointed out that the (circa 1958) tail fins and rigid hood ornaments were needlessly impaling pedestrians and bicyclists, that the stylishly-small brake/tail lights were too small to be seen at any distance, and that the "Big Three" automakers were essentially conspiring to have Americans driving unsafe vehicles.

Remember that seat belts weren't required until 1964 (initially only front-seat lap belts) and that the center rear brake light wasn't required until 1984. Tires, steering & brakes weren't what they are today -- brakes would get wet when one drove through a puddle and wouldn't work until they dried out.

We still prosecuted speeders, but we did a lot of things to make it less likely that they would kill someone in the process. We designed roads better, marked them better, and essentially attempted to "idiot-proof" them.

Yes, Dan Hanley died because a drunk driver was on the wrong side of a divided highway. That's criminal and, upon conviction, she hopefully will be punished as the criminal she (allegedly) is.

But that does not negate the design defects in that interchange - a "temporary" one as the other side of the divided highway was intended to be built up beyond UMass and to a proposed Route 9 Bypass.

Every other place I'm aware of where a road splits is marked by a flashing yellow light. Where Route 2 splits in Athol there is an alternating upper/lower flashing yellow light. In many places there are street lights for illumination, rumble strips, and red "wrong way" signage to alert the driver that the road is changing from undivided to divided.

It also doesn't help that the bright lights of UMass are to the left -- both the intoxicated and sleepy motorist is going to presume that the road curves that way.

My point is that we are making the same mistake that we did in the 1950's -- it wasn't just OUI that caused that accident. Had the interchange been better marked, I don't think it would have happened.

And it is a fact that the road is about 30 feet wide where the accident occurred -- assuming the perp's vehicle was six feet wide, that leaves a full 22 feet that was unobstructed.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed still proving you are insane and a possible threat to others. The more drivel you write, the more you prove the point. Be careful....

Dr. Ed said...

Dr. Ed still proving you are insane and a possible threat to others.

That is libelous, defamatory, and unmitigated bullshit.

The more drivel you write, the more you prove the point.

Really?!?!? I love the circular logic.

Be careful...

That's criminal threatening you schmuck -- and as it crossed a state line, you're looking at a potential Federal offense.

I don't appreciate being threatened.....

Anonymous said...

It's frostbite weather today, Ed. Be careful...

Hmm. If one day you actually work up the gumption to follow through with anything, who will go to prison -- me or Old Man Winter?

Dr. Ed said...

For what it's worth, the worst I ever did was to expect the university to obey the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.

To not do things which were explicitly prohibited by the Criminal Code of the Commonwealth, to not endanger the lives of students by violating everything from the State Building Code to OSHA Regulations.

For example, steam pipes (intended to operate at 300 degrees and rated for 600 degrees) are required to be at least 6'08" when they cross a sidewalk -- everything is so that people don't hit their heads on it.

UMass (actually it's contractor) had installed one at 5'11" and yes, Ed complained about that. This was a common sense safety regulation, as is not forcing pedestrians to walk underneath backhoes as they are loading dump trucks, which Ed also complained about.

That's where this is all coming from, and it says more about the people seeking to defame me than it does about me.

Dr. Ed said...

It's frostbite weather today, Ed. Be careful...

It is neither defamatory nor a civil rights violation to state the consequences of exposure to the elements.

I think anyone with an IQ above 12 can understand the difference between this statement and the one which I consider to be a threat.

Anonymous said...

Oh, okay. Got it.

So when can we expect to hear about the lawsuits and criminal complaints you'll be filing in regard to the previous scurrilous comment?

I'm asking only because I want to give the Animal Control Officer a head's up about the monkeys that will fly out of my ass.

Dr. Ed said...

So when can we expect to hear about the lawsuits and criminal complaints you'll be filing in regard to the previous scurrilous comment

So I need to make an example out of you in order to get everyone else to leave me alone?

If that's what it takes...

Anonymous said...

Dr Ed or should I say Dr Insaneo, make sure you go after the right person. Did it ever cross your delusional mind that you may be dealing with more than one person. Only a sane person would realize that. Another point proving you could be a potential threat to others. Now you have to come after all of us. Helllllllo funnyfarm.

Anonymous said...

When Ed starts to quote the law to us, let's remember:

It's Doctor Ed, not Juris Doctor Ed.

Anonymous said...

So I need to make an example out of you in order to get everyone else to leave me alone?

If that's what it takes...


I notice a glaring absence of anything definitive in your response, e.g., "I will be filing a lawsuit two weeks from today."

I guess I won't need to stock up on Purina Flying Monkey Chow any time soon.

Dr. Ed said...

Dr Ed or should I say Dr Insaneo, make sure you go after the right person

Or I go after Google and let them sort it out. Honestly think they wouldn't want to do so?

Or I do a few similar things but quite different -- and likewise make it quite desirable for another entity to identify each and every one of you schmucks.

And yes, I have a real doctorate and not a JD. But based on what I saw of the Hampshire County Bar, I'd say that I could do a better job intoxicated than they do sober, but for the fact that I'm not sure that all of them *were* sober. In fact, there's one whom I am fairly certain wasn't sober in court, any of the times I saw him...

Anonymous said...

Dr. Insaneo I mean Dr. Ed, you should be nicer to those members of the Bar. You never know when you'll need one to help prove your sanity or insanity whatever your defense may require. Here are a couple of videos I thought you could relate too. Good luck with your miserable existence.

http://youtu.be/7YvAYIJSSZY

http://youtu.be/hnzHtm1jhL4

Anonymous said...

Or I go after Google and let them sort it out. Honestly think they wouldn't want to do so?

Do I honestly think they want to take time out from their research on driverless cars and Google Glass to hunt down the meanies who've been bruising the poor widdle feelings of an internet crackpot? Is that what you're asking?

Or I do a few similar things but quite different -- and likewise make it quite desirable for another entity to identify each and every one of you schmucks.

You're going to do vaguely menacing "things" with the aid of "another entity"? Are you threatening to call down the wrath of your alien friends? C'mon, Ed -- it's winter! Do you know how awkward it is to wear my warm woolen cap and my tinfoil hat at the same time?

Or I continue to run my mouth in overdrive, stamp my feet in frustration, and otherwise do nothing.

Bingo!

Dr. Ed said...

You know, this statement really speaks volumes:

Or I continue to run my mouth in overdrive, stamp my feet in frustration, and otherwise do nothing.

Concurrently (and that's the issue) there is this hysteria that I'm going to commit some horrendous act of violence -- and do nothing. Don't you idiots realize that those two extremes are mutually exclusive? (Do you idiots even know what "mutually exclusive" means?)

Leaving out the possibility that I might do something moderate in between those two extremes, leaving out the possibility that I'm growling as a warning that I'm going to have to do something if this stuff doesn't stop, don't any of you see the irony here?

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this isn't just malicious harassment -- and that would mean that some other stuff was too -- do you not see how this is like saying someone is "half pregnant"?

Or are you folks existing in some alternate dimension of reality?

Visitor from the Twenty-third Dimension said...

When I was a little kid, my French Canadian grandmother was fond of an old Iroquois saying: "That guy Ed is nuttier than a brick of pemmican. Best keep him away from sharp objects."

Or maybe it was "thicker than a pemmican brick"? I can never remember. Either way, she was a real sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Insaneo err Ed, the only thing your "growling as a warning" about is the more insane drivel that you will be writing here. You are not as intelligent as you think you are. Your facts are 99% bullshit. You have more personal hangups and problems than the average nuthouse resident, and the greatest thing is no one in Amherst or possibly anywhere else ever gave or will give a shit about anything you ever think, say, or write. You Sir have burned all your bridges here with your own insanity.

Dr. Ed said...

What was that quote of Dr. King's that Larry had posted a while back?

Did anyone ever think about what Dr. King might have meant by it, or in what kind of a context he probably said it?

And I'm reminded of a quotation from his namesake, Martin Luther.

"I stand here because I can stand nowhere else." It's grammatically awkward because Luther said it half a Millennia ago, in German if not Latin, and it takes an understanding of both who Luther was and of the Reformation to understand what he really meant.

I stand for what I believe to be right, I do not care if I stand alone.

On the other hand, "insanity" is a medical diagnosis, not unlike "pregnant" or "HIV-positive" and it is both libelous and defamatory to promulgate a medical diagnosis which one can not verify.

It's also not true (i.e. I'm not insane) but even if it was, it'd be HIPPA-protected information, much like a woman's OB/GYN records, and hence there could never be anyone accurately posting about it.

And one other thing -- I've corrected a lot of student papers and caught more than a little bit of plagarism. Writing styles have "fingerprints" and I have a much better idea of who is writing this stuff than folks may realize....

Dr. Ed said...

"...than the average nuthouse resident..."

One of the scandals that led to the closure of the "nuthouses" (i.e. Northampton State Hospital and it's sister institutions) was that many of the inmates weren't insane.

Wealthy men, seeking to acquire the trophy wife, had to first get rid of their existing one, and paying a cooperative doctor to have her committed was not uncommon.

is the autobiography of a young woman who was committed under at least quite questionable circumstances. A lot of other quite-sane people wound up in the asylums as well.

If you are who I think you are, you should know that. But then, you also probably, at some point, were told not to use derogatory terms such as "nuthouse" as well...

And for what it is worth, I am not deliberately trying to irritate you, and perhaps you ought to ask yourself some questions as to why you are so easily irritated.

Anonymous said...

"And one other thing -- I've corrected a lot of student papers and caught more than a little bit of plagarism. Writing styles have "fingerprints" and I have a much better idea of who is writing this stuff than folks may realize...."

Dear Dr. Insaneo, please use your great and mighty skills and please tell us who this is...
Yea, right!!!!!!!!!!
Just more of your Bullshit, eh Doc.

Anonymous said...

Why do you need "fingerprints", Ed? I thought you could just go and tell Google to bring the hammer down.

And how come you're so sensitive on the topic of insanity?