Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DUI Deluge

APD arrested five (5) impaired drivers over the weekend

The sad/scary thing is if APD had the staffing I'm sure we would see five drunk driving arrests practically every weekend rather than just when state grant money provides the extra coverage.

Either way, last weekend too many great white sharks shared our ecosystem.   Although fortunately nobody was hurt. This time. 

With UMass dorms opening on Friday and no school on Monday because of Labor Day, this long weekend could be a potential record breaker for DUIs.

   Brian Kenney, age 29

Mark Emery age 21
Kyle Coffee, age 23


Four of the five were arraigned before Judge Payne and released on their personal recognizance with trial dates set for later this month or October.  Juveline Tavares age 39 required a Portuguese interpreter so he was arraigned later in the day (hence no photo).

Ruth Castonguay failed to appear in District Court on Monday and Judge Payne issued a bench warrant for her arrest.  He is holding it until Friday because a friend called to say she had checked herself into a medical detox center after her arrest.  


Paul Vlach said...

The unusual thing in this batch is that they were all over 21 years old.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, my fear is we will get a bevy of "college aged youth" DUIs this coming long weekend combined with the usual 2 or 3 non-student related DUIs for a dangerous grand total

Dr. Ed said...

The problem I have with these "High Visibility" campaigns is that they are intended more to intimidate & terrify the innocent than to apprehend the guilty.

This isn't about keeping drunk drivers fear being caught and hence staying off the road -- the "experts" know (and state in their literature) that the drunk driver (and particularly the alcoholic) is in denial about both how impaired he/she/it is *and* the extent to which the impairment (a) affects driving ability & (b) is clearly noticeable to a third party (i.e. police officer).

No, the intent is to intimidate the sober driver, to make him/her/it fear being falsely arrested for something that he/she/it isn't/hasn't been doing -- to make them fear having to prove their innocence and hence fear the police as well.

"Fear the Police" is the underlying message of the so-called "public service" advertising campaigns which accompanies these campaigns -- we will be seeing/hearing a lot of it over the next week -- and the bureaucratic literature on this is clear, it isn't aimed at those who actually drive drunk.

On a week in which three police officers have been murdered, one assassinated while putting gas into a government vehicle (something I have done myself more times than I can remember), one can ask if it is wise to encourage the citizenry to fear the police, or if that reflects the type of society in which we wish to live in.

But Larry, the intrusive tactics don't even work! Look at your own posting -- of the four you posted, three were reports made to the police and the fourth was a defective vehicle. A headlight out, that is also a violation and is something that itself can kill someone -- remember the guy who owned AJ Hastings?

Maybe the grant gave enough manpower to be able to roll on reports of erratic operation and observations of defective vehicles, but to make these arrests all the APD had to do was answer the phone and watch what goes by them. They didn't need to violate the spirit of the State & US Constitutions, they didn't need to intimidate if not terrify the public.

And Larry, Heroin kills far more people! -- it's now something like 4:1 over ALL auto accidents, not just those attributable to alcohol. And remember that one of these "drunk" drivers wasn't drunk -- it was a nice mixture of drugs...

Dr. Ed said...

I have four problems with the Brian Kenney arrest.

1: The APD officer is stating things that the officer did not observe, but which were reported by the off-duty UMPD officer. THAT needs to be stated and it isn't -- all the APD has is (a) an operator outside the vehicle and (b) a witness -- the operator didn't even have possession of the vehicle keys when the APD first arrived on scene. Now they have a credible witness, a police officer trained to observe and detect OUI and who knows what constitutes probable cause, but that's their probable cause -- nothing more -- and hence they ought to have both stated that and included his witness statement.

2: Based on the APD report and your video, I have to ask why Kenney (a) stopped where he did, and (b) got out of his truck, and (c) gave his keys to the off-duty UMPD officer? (Larry, you well might get subpoenaed into court on this one...)
In your video, we see three police vehicles, the perp's truck, and a car with 4-ways going directly behind the perp's truck -- is that the UMPD officer's POV?

Did he stop the vehicle? Did he display a blue light? Was he in uniform?
WHY was he given the keys -- people on drugs do stupid things, but would you give your keys to a total stranger?

3: Methadone is an Opiate, like Heroin, and Methadone can kill people, I know of people whom it has. Atavan is a controlled substance, at least Schedule III and I believe subject to the Prescription Monitoring Program. Illegally possessing those two "Narcotics" (Atavain technically isn't) is as serious a crime as "Operating under the Influence" of them -- at least on paper.

Is he being prosecuted for this too? And if not, why not?

4: Heroin reportedly kills four TIMES as many people as ALL of the MVAs.
If our goal in all of this OUI stuff is to save lives, why don't we take a similar approach to/with Heroin?

If the woman who entered treatment is still going to be prosecuted for OUI, then why not prosecute the druggies who enter treatment too? Why the discrepancy?
Conversely, while it is decent of the judge to defer the bench warrant upon hearing she may be in rehab, why not an obligation upon the arresting officer to present this information to the court?

Anonymous said...

Larry, you mention that the APD budget does not allow them to catch all the drunk drivers.

This does not make much sense to me.

The town takes in millions and millions of dollars every year. It is reported here that they spend close to $21k per under age school student per year. There are all kinds of food related events, banners posted, decorative planters in town and street signs that get replaced at over $200 a pop.

The money is there, the town has just determined that there are more important things to spend it on like the stuff above. I personally disagree and think it would be more appropriate to say lower the student budget back down to something reasonable and catch the drunk drivers, but the town has countless meetings and endless community input and over and over again the choice is made to spend the money on other stuff that is by definition considered more important.

Perhaps this should change and stopping drunk drivers should be important than planters or parking? The problem is how to convince those in charge of the money that this is an appropriate priority. Perhaps pointing out that it would not be tough for the town to invest $200k in a kid's education only to have him run over by a drunk recent graduate? Perhaps allowing citizens to allocate say 5% of their tax payments towards programs they favor, stopping drunks should be an easy sell to citizens if not the town administrators.

I would also ask, as many of us work 60-80 hours a week to even be able to pay our taxes, could we start a volunteer program in town. Perhaps we could convince police with some spare time and desire to put in an extra 5 hours a week gratis to catch these drunk drivers. This would be quite a community service and may put pressure on other towns and start a trend of both lower costs for municipalities and safer communities. Cops that did this would stand above their peers and even likely advance their career.

Walter Graff said...

Should be a very interesting fall. September will be well above average temperatures and the winter will be very mild this year. When it's warm...

Anonymous said...

"There are all kinds of food related events, banners posted, decorative planters in town and street signs that get replaced at over $200 a pop."

Most of the things you mentioned are not being paid for by the town. They are being paid for by the Amherst Business Improvement District.

Anonymous said...

plus find some more money for counseling for our officers who may be suffering...

studies are showing that as many as 25 percent of police officers are battling drug addictions, more than twice the national average.

suicides occur 1.5 times more frequently in law enforcement compared to the general population.

Anonymous said...

Are police officers regularly drug tested?

Larry Kelley said...

I believe so.

Anonymous said...

I doubt it, only people that hold a CDL would be subject to random drug and alcohol per DOT regs.

Larry Kelley said...

Well next time you see an Amherst cop, feel free to ask him or her.

Anonymous said...

All i was saying is that it maybe in their contact to be subject to drug testing. But, I have never seen AFD or APD sitting on the bench down at AEIU on U drive waiting for a drug screen.

Anonymous said...

Well, read this one between the lines...

In a "medical facility" for 6-10 days? Rehab...

Anonymous said...

Farmer's Almanac? Or the Graff Crystal? Tell me moe about the coming mild winter! Best news I've heard in a while.