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Posts tagged: DUI

Discrimination lawsuit filed after woman fired for DUI, when male supervisor kept job after his DUI

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A southeast Idaho woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Bonneville County. The Post Register reports (http://www.postregister.com/node/55767) that Kendalee Rydalch filed the lawsuit May 20 and is seeking $1 million. The lawsuit says Rydalch was fired from her job as a juvenile probation officer with the county in February 2013. The lawsuit says the firing came six days after she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The lawsuit contends that a male supervisor in 2007 was found guilty of driving under the influence while on duty but kept his job. Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen says the county hasn't yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Boise Police make 18 DUI arrests over the four-day holiday weekend

Boise Police made 18 DUI arrests over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, as part of a statewide campaign that funded additional patrols. Among those arrested in Boise between Thursday and Sunday: One driver who hit a parked van Friday evening, then took off, leaving a trail of fluid, and crashed into some bushes; witnesses to the collision with the van called police, who followed the trail of fluid to the extremely intoxicated driver. Another driver was arrested for felony DUI after getting on the freeway without his lights on early Saturday morning; he had two previous offenses, making this one a felony. The 18 arrests were up from 13 during the same holiday period last year and 15 the year before, but Boise Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said overall, DUI arrests have been trending downward in Boise in recent years. “Hopefully it’s an anomaly,” she said. “The officers are going to be out there.”

The arrests came as part of a statewide crackdown on impaired driving, funded by grant funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 62 local police and sheriff’s departments participated in the Thanksgiving holiday mobilization, which is one of five held each year, and received $75,000 in grants for additional officer overtime to allow more patrols on the roads. Kevin Bechen, impaired driving program manager for ITD’s Office of Highway Safety, said, “It was a busy weekend.” He doesn’t have statewide stats in yet, but said the holidays tend to bring out impaired drivers. The next statewide mobilization, for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period, starts Dec. 20.

Feds: States should lower DUI level to .05

Federal officials are now calling for states to lower their blood-alcohol thresholds for drunken driving to .05 percent, down from the current .08, saying the move would help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, the AP reports. That .05 standard would be reached by a 120-pound woman after just one drink; or by a 160-pound man after two drinks. “Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable,” said Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. “Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.” You can read the full AP story here.

Idaho lowered its threshold for DUI from .10 to .08 in 1997, the 14th state to make that change. Now, all 50 states have the lower .08 level. Idaho’s standard for drivers of commercial vehicles is .04. 

Crapo: ‘I’m swearing off alcohol’

“I'm swearing off alcohol and I am not going to continue to drink,” Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo told reporters today in a conference call after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge in Alexandria, Va. Crapo said he believes public officials should be held to higher standards, the AP reported, and he believes his constituents are disappointed by his conduct. But he said he doesn't think the arrest will derail his political career, and he hopes that by giving a full explanation of the circumstances, he can regain the public trust.

“I fully intend to continue to try to make a contribution in the United States Senate,” Crapo said, adding that he expects to run for the office again in 2016.

He said he'll walk to work, take a taxi or make other transportation arrangements while his license is suspended over the next year, the AP reported. As long as he remains on good behavior, Crapo won't have to serve a 180-day suspended jail sentence. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of failing to obey a traffic signal; click below for a full report from AP reporters Rebecca Boone in Boise and Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Va.

Crapo pleads guilty to DUI, apologizes

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated in Alexandria, Va. today, and apologized for his actions. Crapo was ordered to pay a $250 fine, complete and alcohol safety program and have his driver's license suspended for 12 months. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press. Outside the courtroom, Crapo said he had been drinking vodka and tonic at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22, became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive. He had been driving for about 30 minutes when he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home, he said. It was then that he ran a red light and was pulled over in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, in the early morning hours of Dec. 23.

“I am grateful, truly grateful, that no one was injured,” Crapo said. He said he has, in the past year or so, been drinking alcohol on occasion, in violation of his LDS religious beliefs; he apologized for that as well, and said he'll “carry through on appropriate measures for forgiveness and repentance in my church.”

Tougher DUI ignition interlock law touted for Idaho

Though Idaho's senior senator likely will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his car after his Virginia DUI arrest, that wouldn’t have been the case in his home state of Idaho. Idaho doesn't require the devices for first-time DUI offenders, but there’s a growing chorus of groups saying it should. Seventeen states, including Washington and Virginia, require the devices to prevent even first-time convicted drunken drivers from starting up their cars while under the influence. But Idaho requires the devices only for repeat offenders.

When Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was stopped for suspected drunken driving in Virginia on Dec. 23 after running a red light, he registered a 0.11 blood-alcohol level at the scene, and a higher, 0.14 level in a test taken later at the Alexandria, Va. jail. Crapo, a first-time offender who was known as a teetotaler due to his Mormon faith, has said he doesn’t plan to contest the charges; his court date is Friday. Virginia law likely will require him to get an interlock device to drive, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath reveals the presence of alcohol.

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board called for all states to require the devices for first-time drunken driving offenders, and sent letters to states including Idaho asking for their response within 90 days.  “It’s time for the other 33 states to step up for safety and require ignition interlocks for all offenders,” said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairwoman. An ITD spokesman said the NTSB letter is under review; meanwhile, groups including the AAA of Idaho and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have come out for a tougher, all-offenders interlock law. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Second blood-alcohol test on senator showed higher, 0.14 reading

The Associated Press reports that a second blood-alcohol test conducted on Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo about an hour after his Dec. 23 drunken driving arrest registered 0.14, well above the original roadside test result of 0.11, and the higher reading is the one that will be used in court. It is 1/100 of a percentage point below the level that would have mandated jail time under Virginia law. Meanwhile, Crapo's office said the senator doesn't plan to contest the charges; click below for the full AP report.

Documents: Sen. Crapo said he had ‘consumed several shots of vodka’

The Washington Post’s “Crime Scene” blog reports that when Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was stopped early Sunday morning for running a red light and arrested for DUI, he told the police officer who pulled him over that he had “consumed several shots of vodka,” according to court documents detailing the arrest. Reporter Allison Klein writes that the documents show Crapo said he drank the vodka hours earlier and hadn’t had anything to drink since. You can read her full report here.  Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Crapo returned to Washington, D.C. yesterday to participate in negotiations over averting the looming fiscal cliff, and had no comment on the arrest, in which he had a 0.11 blood-alcohol level. The AP reported that the senator’s spokesman said he’ll provide more information about the arrest within the next several days; he has a Jan. 4 court date.

Sen. Crapo arrested for DUI in Alexandria

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said. Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light; his booking photo is at right. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m. “There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”

Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08. The 61-year-old Crapo has a Jan. 4 court date. “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in a statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.” Click below for the full AP report.

State judge facing DUI says she’ll retire

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) ― A state judge who is facing a drunken driving charge says she will retire effective Jan. 4. The Idaho Press-Tribune reports 3rd District Judge Renae Hoff has announced her retirement. Seven candidates have submitted applications for the vacant position. Applications are being taken until Nov. 9 by the Idaho Judicial Council. Hoff was arrested and charged with misdemeanor DUI on Aug. 25. She was removed from presiding over criminal cases until her DUI charge is resolved. She pleaded not guilty and her trial is set for Dec. 4. The judicial council is scheduled to meet at the Canyon County Courthouse Dec. 6 to interview the candidates.

Judge orders mental evaluation for 14th-time DUI offender

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― An Ada County judge has ordered a mental health evaluation for a 55-year-old Boise man who was recently convicted of his 14th DUI. Terry Ash was to be sentenced Wednesday after a June conviction for driving under the influence last September and for being a persistent offender. Prosecutor Shelly Armstrong recommended that Ash be sentenced to 20 years to life, but Ash's attorney asked for a mental evaluation for his client, citing a history of psychological programs, poverty and other extenuating circumstances. The evaluation is set for Oct. 17 at the Ada County jail. Armstrong says Ash's DUI convictions date back to 1971.

Drunk driver must pay for pants, not police car

A recalcitrant drunken driver must pay $68 to replace pants that a Boise police officer ripped during a foot chase, the AP reports, but the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled the man doesn't have to fork over another $1,089 for damage to a patrol car that hit and killed his dog during the 2010 incident, for which he pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for up to 15 years. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller; you can read the Court of Appeals decision here.

Judge fighting DUI charge resigns

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― Fifth District Magistrate Judge Nicole Cannon has resigned two months after being charged with excessive driving under the influence in Boise. Cannon's resignation was announced Friday in a statement released by 5th District Trial Court administrator Linda Wright. The resignation was effective immediately. She had served on the bench for 15 months. Cannon's resignation announcement made no mention of the DUI charge filed in April. Court records say her blood-alcohol level tested at 0.239 percent and 0.221 percent. A judge denied requests by Cannon's defense attorney to have the traffic stop deemed unreasonable and to throw out the breath tests. Cannon has pleaded not guilty and her trial is set to start on Aug. 28. Wright says recruitment for Cannon's replacement would start Monday.

Trial set for judge facing DUI charge

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― A trial has been scheduled for a south-central Idaho judge charged with excessive drunken driving in Ada County. The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/LzR3GJ) Twin Falls County 5th District Magistrate Judge Nicole Cannon has pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge. Her trial is scheduled to being in Idaho's 4th District Court on Aug. 28 in Boise, where she was cited during an April traffic stop. Police say Cannon had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit. Fifth Judicial District Court administrator Linda Wright has said Cannon will not hear DUI cases while her own case is pending. In Ada County, several 4th District judges have disqualified themselves from hearing Cannon's case. A judge can choose to seek disqualification if he or she knows the defendant.

Former Otter chief of staff arrested for election-night DUI

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s former chief of staff was arrested early Wednesday morning on driving under the influence charges after attending an event celebrating the GOP’s big wins in the previous day’s election. Jeff Lyn Malmen, who is 43, was arrested by Boise Police Department officers and booked into Ada County Jail at about 4 a.m. before being released. He’d been drinking at Republican Party election night headquarters at the Doubletree Riverside hotel in Boise prior to his arrest. Malmen was Otter’s chief of staff while Otter was a three-term U.S. House member and during Otter’s first year as governor. Malmen left Otter’s government in November 2007 to take a lobbying job with utility Idaho Power Co.

Appeals Court: 3 DUIs and you’re a felon, regardless of which came first

Idaho’s Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from an Ada County man, William Howard Locke, who challenged his felony prosecution for a third DUI because his third offense actually occurred after the one for which he was hit with the enhanced penalty. But it was his third conviction - he was first convicted of his first DUI, then convicted of the third offense, then convicted of the second. “Idaho Code … makes a third DUI conviction within ten years a felony, regardless of the sequence of arrests,” Judge David Gratton wrote for a unanimous court.

They picked up more than drunks

When Idaho law enforcement agencies put on a big push to target impaired drivers over the Thanksgiving holiday period, they actually came up with more other offenders. ITD reports that the Nov. 21-30 mobilization, funded by a federal grant, resulted in 314 DUI arrests over nine days. But it also led to 2,135 speeding tickets, 717 uninsured motorist citations and 360 seat belt violations. Click below to read the full list.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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