Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eighth time

Local readers of the Chief's Corner have probably heard this, but this story is compelling enough that I felt it would be worth sharing with my out-of-town readers. Officer Chris Howard arrested a drunk driver over the weekend. She just had her 30th birthday a couple weeks ago. The remarkable part? It is her 8th drunk driving arrest. That quite a mark, especially for someone so young. DWI arrests are on the increase in Lincoln. Last year, we broke a 34 year old record. Based on the first six months of 2009, we are likely to break it again--arrests are up 10% so far. Here's the trend:


Anonymous said...

With a bigger county jail, maybe we'll see a little less probation for repeat offenders, and more straight jail time. The only way you're sure to keep someone like that from driving is to keep them in the clink for as long as is legally possible.

Anonymous said...

More drinking and driving or more arrests/awareness?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed the offender was able to bond out. Are your officers entering a pool to see who pops her for #9?

Anonymous said...

Chief -
Please explain the difference between a DWI & a DUI.

Tom Casady said...

6:59 -

That's the $64 question. The decline in alcohol-related crashes would suggest that it's increased enforcement effort, rather than increased drunk driving. In Lincoln's case, population growth has also been contributing a little to the increase.

8:22 -

No, we are hoping that another intervention may finally lead to successful treatment for the addiction.

8:41 -

No difference. Driving While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence are synonymous in our vernacular.

Anonymous said...

If I was the typical user of spirits the booze makers would be out of business. I do think that drunk driving is a big problem but I think an even bigger problem is the havoc wreaked on the lives of people who have had two or three beers and then not feeling any impairment drove and been arrested.

Have any valid scientific studies been done to test where impairment begins? Or is this just an emotional issue that the anti alcohol crowd whose goal is a teetotaling society has used to eliminate alcohol use?

Maybe an extensive study on impairment levels is called for? A alcohol check off program might be used to finance the study. Say a penny for every bottle of beer, wine, spirits or mixed drink sold goes toward financing the study by some independent outfit.

Gun Nut

Cash said...

Any idea why there is a large spike in 1990ish? Or rather was there a drop in the mid '80s & mid '90s

Steve said...

Math, or time measurement, must work differently in our legal system than in the rest of the world. According to the news, she was twice sentenced to nine months in jail, and both times she was caught drunk driving two months later. Was she driving around in her cell?

Then, following one of the nine-month sentences, her subsequent sentence was 10 days in jail. That makes a lot of sense.

Tom Casady said...

Cash -

I could probably interpret a few of those peaks and valleys--things like case law changes, the drop from .10% to .08, the Bruckner investigation...


I think those dates in the Journal Star article are the dates of arrest, not the dates of conviction or the date the sentence began.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

What does this woman drive? I always make sure to stay home when I have too much of my private stock.

Grundle King said...

Yet another case for impounding the vehicles of those who have hat their licenses suspended/revoked. I would imagine that a parking spot in impound lot is much cheaper than three hots and a cot in the local clink.

Trevor said...

Does the suspension of a driver's license really amount to much? With the near total dependence on automobiles for transportation in this country, are the alternatives really feasible? Of course they will keep of driving ... and drinking until the music stops.

Steve said...

Gun Nut:

I'm not sure if you're even serious with that comment. There is probably more data out there on the research into alcolhol impairment, especially as it relates to driving, than you could ever hope to read.

Anonymous said...

One truth in fact is the numbers can rise and fall with the number of active officers making dwi arrests. As you know Chief, you have many officers that would rather stay totally away from a dwi. I don't know why! There isn't a much easier arrest and who knows how many lives are saved with each arrest.

Anonymous said...

To 9:05
Are those two or three drinks 40 ouncers and are you pounding them down in a half an hour???
We don't arrest people if they are not impaired. If we stop you for your violation and smell alcohol then we look for impairment. If your not impaired then you are let go.
You wouldn't be legally drunk off two or three normal size drinks.
If I only had a quarter for everyone I stopped that said they only had one or two drinks. Then when they are asked if they feel impaired the answer is always "no"...even though they can't even stand.
I would be a millionaire.

Anonymous said...

12:16 The reason a number of officers stay away from DWI's is that there is a ton of paper work with legal battles if there is one mistake made. Then you have certain defense attorney's that try to ruin your credibility with lies and false impressions. The question is why do officers have such a thurst for DWI's? $$$
Officers make a lot of overtime when they arrest DWI's.
I am all for getting a very impaired driver off the streets but stopping someone every thirty seconds and just doing a sniff and release test for a DWI is unethical and there are those that do just that.

Anonymous said...

Chief -
Ch. 10/11 is doing a series about DUIs this week. You can watch/read the coverage here:

Outrage Against Drunk Driving
First Offense Consequences
Enforcing DUI Laws
Ignition Interlock Device
Breaking the Social Culture

Part 6 is tonight at 6/10pm.

Anonymous said...

No Steve I was serious in my 9:05 post. If you have links to actual scientific studies that have tested alcohol impairment I would like to see them.

A test with 100 people of varying physical types who perform different physical tasks and their reaction times and accuracy of their movements and judgment are measured. Starting with one drink and BAC results up to say a case of beer in a six hour time frame.

I have never seen or heard of a study like that with the exception of one. That was done in the early 1990's and several NASCAR drivers were the test subjects. They had to drive around an obstacle course with the lanes marked on both sides with pylons. Of course this was on a closed circuit track. The baseline times and scores before any drinks were consumed was recorded. All of the drivers showed improved scores and times even after consuming several drinks. One driver, Kyle Petty if I remember correctly, had improved scores even past the legal BAC limit. Some of the other drivers tested similarly.

I don't know if this was considered to be a scientific test but I remember how the MADD crowd went crazy when the results were released.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

When it comes to BAC for operating a motor vehicle, I allow myself every bit of the leeway I'd prefer for my child's eye surgeon before an operation on that child - none. Twelve hours bottle-to-throttle, or to quantify it, 0.02% BAC as an absolute max to allow for a tiny bit of brown-bottle flu. Some activities carry such potential for irreparable harm to others that one should be in tip-top shape to perform them.

Anonymous said...

the thing that is frustrating is that Ne is suppose to be one of the tougher states when it comes to DWI but I can't tell you how many people I know have plead down or are still out on the streets.

I also think the economy may have an impact on increased dwi arrest numbers. So many more people dont have jobs, they're out and about drinking and driving... they dont care. If they get picked up at least they have a place to sleep and have some food.

Anonymous said...


Was the total of DWIs in 2006? I seem to remember the Southeast Team catching over 600 on their own.

Tom Casady said...

8:01 -

2006 = 1,864