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DO I HAVE A CASE?

Currently Viewing Posts Tagged DUI

Irsay Money

Even if you are only a casual NFL football fan, you probably have heard that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested (Sports Illustrated) on March 16, after an Indianapolis police officer noticed his erratic and slow driving. According to the Indianapolis Star, after Irsay was stopped by the officer, he had trouble standing, his speech was slurred and he admitted to taking several medications.

I have attached the story for more details. However, one specific detail of the arrest has raised specific questions. According to the police report,  police found $29,029 in his vehicle which included,  $14,516 in a briefcase, $2,513 in Irsay’s wallet and $12,000 in one of two “laundry” bags on the passenger’s side floorboard.

Colts

As a lifelong Colts’ fan, I was saddened by the news. I met Jim Irsay a few years ago and was left with a profound feeling that he is a very nice man. Also as a fan, I have always appreciated his actions as an owner.

Currently, Mr. Irsay is in a care facility undergoing inpatient treatment. So, no one knows why he was carrying that much cash. Fans have speculated. From Stampede Blue, one writer guessed the following with tongue in cheek:

1) The Highlander wasn’t enough trade in equity for the downpayment on a Mercedes S600 AMG.

2) His clothing launderer messed his order up and gave him a bag from the money laundry.

3) He was answering a Craiglist ad for a full collection of Affliction shirts. Cash only.

4) He was on his way home after losing the silent bid auction for the flute from the Marshall Tucker Band.

5) He was still picking up the $100 dollar bill breadcrumb trail he left behind to help him find his way home.

6) You never know when the tamale guy will magically appear at Kroger.

     Because I am known to be a rabid fan, I have been asked why he was carrying this much cash. Maybe because he is a billionaire, it didn’t seem like that much cash to him as it does to the rest of us. That’s my hope. For now, we can only look on the bright side; hope and pray that he recovers, and look forward to the day that he returns to his chair as active owner. The words of a true fan!

DID YOU KNOW that there are 158 verses in the Greek National Anthem? Seems like a long time to stand during a song!

And for pic o’ daY:

new rug

Bad Idea in a Patrol Car

On the way home from South Carolina, we saw two speeding police cars go past us. We were creeping along the road in Charlotte. We knew that we would probably be creeping a little longer because the problem was obviously more than just morning traffic.

When the police cars raced by, someone mentioned that it sure looked odd to see them driving so close. In fact, it almost looked like one officer was chasing the other.   That leads me to what happens when a Deputy crashes his own patrol car.

KATC.com reports that a Louisiana Deputy did just that. 911 had been called to report that a police car had hit a tree.

When we start our representation of a client, we usually mail a letter under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get a copy of all the 911 calls. I wonder if the Louisiana call sounded something like, “This is Deputy Hyer. I’d like to report a single-car accident involving a drunk driver”.  (911 operator): “Deputy, would you go to the scene?” (Deputy): “I am the scene”.

According to the story, the Deputy has resigned. I guess if that tree had not jumped out in front of the Deputy, there would be no story. This story ends with its own wisdom. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drink and drive in a police car. Yes, watch out for moving trees. And then there’s that.

For pic o’ day, how about some computer advice!

Skittles and Rum Cake Failed

A Friday/weekend blog gives me some leeway to take it anywhere. I started to go anywhere until I saw an unusual  story from Fort Wayne, Indiana. (The Journal Gazette) Plus, I really didn’t want to write about Healthcare and the Supreme Court. I’ll bet at least one blogger on the Internet decided to write about that. (I know, I shouldn’t be sarcastic)

A local news anchor, Mary Collins Frank, was charged on Wednesday with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Normally, I would have glossed right over that while in search of Indianapolis Colts news. However, this story comes with an unusual set of facts and a back-story.

Frank was arrested in a Walgreen’s drive-thru lane, after she had just gone into the store to purchase a bottle of wine. The store clerk did sell it to her, but became concerned because she smelled of alcohol and was acting erratic. So, the clerk called the police.

When the police arrived, Frank was just sitting in her Lexus. The wine bottle was open and some wine had been consumed. Initially, Frank was argumentative and uncooperative. She did not want to provide her license and she tried to drive away. She refused a breath test and also would not perform standard sobriety tests. Instead, she insisted on speaking with Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York.

According to police reports, when taken to the police station, her blood alcohol content was .14, almost twice the legal limit. Still, the story is not blog-worthy. If this was the whole story, it would  be a DUI case of a news anchor. Only news in Fort Wayne.

That takes us to “the why” for the blog title. In 2009, Frank was stopped by police after driving erratically at 9:30 a.m. The breathalyzer on site showed a blood-alcohol level between .13 and .14.

At that time, Frank tried to explain that she had not been drinking. Instead, she had fasted for medical tests and then stopped to buy and eat Skittles and a rum cake. .. Yes, a rum cake. I had not heard that defense before. In 2009, she was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Skittles and rum cake does not work as a defense.

 

One For The Road?

The businessman finishes his last drink and signs his credit card, in a scrawl, at the bar. He barely notices the bill that shows he’s had 9 drinks. In his mind, it’s been a hard day. The bartender casually says, “You be careful out there”. The man gets up and looks toward the door. He thinks how fortunate he is to be so close to home.  Plus, he’s made it home like this on Thursdays for about 3 years. This time, though, is different. He crosses a center line and crashes into an oncoming car and kills a coach, headed home from practice.

The college student slurs through his side window, “officer, it’s not my fault, I was just over served”. Then, he giggles as he drops his license on the car mat. He looks out at his bumper and just shakes his head.  Fortunately, the student collided with a telephone poll and not another car.

These two instances are clearly the fault of both drivers. Should bars, restaurants and taverns also have any responsibility as to  how much they serve. In the state of Virginia, the answer right now is no.  A bar can lose its ABC license to serve alcohol, if it does not comply with only serving someone who is 21. A fake i.d. is no excuse as to wrongdoing.  In all 50 states, serving alcohol to minors is illegal. Over serving alcohol is not a separate offense in all 50 states, though including Virginia.

Now here is how states differ on responsibility.  Thirty-five states have some form of law that puts responsibility on bars for serving too much alcohol to their patrons. Virginia is not one of those states. Virginia prides itself on being a place for business and that apparently includes the business of serving alcohol.

Laws that hold bars accountable are called Dram Shop laws. Dram Shop is a legal term for establishments where alcohol is served. Dram is a measurement that was used by the apothecaries of old, when mixing liquids in their “concoctions”.  I have a blog about Henry VIII bouncing around in my head. He worked on concoctions for his own medical conditions and probably measured in drams, but I digress. I hope you’ll click when you see Henry VIII in the title.

The purpose of this blog is to point out Virginia’s position on alcohol. The hospitality lobby has been stronger than other lobbying voices in keeping bars from being responsible. The argument against making bars liable for over serving patrons is that the individual should be responsible for what they drink. I don’t understand the either/or. Why can’t both be responsible. I’m not saying that a bar should be responsible, everytime someone drunk is responsible for an accident. In my thinking, they should be responsible when they served a patron and knew or should have known that they were contributing to the drunkenness.

In my opening to this blog, I fictionalized a story that probably happens a lot. Hopefully, the “businessman-drinker” gets home despite his actions.  However, a bar should not be able to just profit by continually serving and then hiding behind the laws of no responsibility. When Virginia changed its drinking under the influence from .10 to .08 BAC, there was a big legislative fight, but organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) prevailed.

There are those that would try to make this a bad for business fight. Instead, anything that stops drunk driving, including making bars also responsible for their actions, should also be part of the fight.  I have yet to see a politician really stand up for “alcohol rights”. Dram shop laws have to be couched in those terms instead of protecting the servers who are helping to put drunk drivers behind the wheel.

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