Month: February 2014

12-Year-Old Philadelphia Girl Fatally Struck By Dad’s SUV

dui-you-cant-afford-it-pennsylvaniaA Pennsylvania girl’s first date turned tragic last weekend when her father, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, failed to properly place the family’s SUV in park, which caused the vehicle to roll backward. 12-year-old Shamera Harris of Pittsburgh was killed after she stepped out of the SUV to pose for a picture following her first date. The girl was reportedly struck and dragged by her father’s vehicle for about 50 feet. The vehicle finally came to a stop when it hit a tree.

Authorities arrived on the scene to find the girl’s 53-year-old father, Richard Benton, smelling of alcohol and slurring his speech. Benton refused to undergo field sobriety testing at the scene of the accident, and was arraigned on DUI charges on Monday.

Police are continuing to investigate what has been described as a horrible accident. Benton allegedly believed that the vehicle was in park before he exited the vehicle to take his daughter’s picture.… Read More

What to do in a Pedestrian Accident

Wikimedia CommonsA pedestrian was hit and killed by Michael Rafaloski early Sunday morning in Brookline.  The victim was Sean Conroy, a CPA with a promising career ahead of him.  Police and investigators were able to piece the scene together to determine the vehicle involved. They found it within hours parked in a driveway.  Rafaloski admitted that he did not stop until he got home and was unaware of what he hit.  There were three others in the vehicle with him who all verified that he hit something, but did not stop to look.  Rafaloski was tested two hours after accident with a blood alcohol content of .129.  He faces charges of DUI, homicide by vehicle, and reckless driving all while driving with an expired license.

It can be confusing and frightening if you are involved in a pedestrian accident. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t leave the scene until the police arrive and tell you it’s ok to leave.… Read More

Bieber Offered Plea Deal, Refuses

Scales of JusticeJustin Bieber has decided not to accept the plea deal he was offered in his DUI and resisting arrest case by the Florida State Attorney.  Prosecutors offered to drop the charges, if Bieber pleaded to no contest to reckless driving and submit to random drug tests that would last from six to nine months.  In addition, he has to attend alcohol education classes, install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle, and complete at least 40 hours of community service.  Bieber would also have to submit his travel plans to the court and pay for drug tests.  Sources say that he will not accept plea deals that contain probation or random drug testing.

People often believe that celebrities receive preferential treatment from the police when they do something wrong. That isn’t always the case. If a star has a reputation for being difficult or unpleasant, it can actually cause them to fall under greater scrutiny than someone who has not reputation at all.… Read More

Prescription Drugs can lead to DUI

Wikimedia CommonsPrescription drug abuse is a top threat in our nation, and is more commonly seen than any other drug abuses. It can affect any age group or race, as seen in a recent arrest.

Nicole Scott from Beaver County was arrested for driving under the influence of prescription medications while driving her children to school.  A person at the school called the police because they observed that Scott was not able to drive because she was falling asleep mid-conversation.  After conducting three sobriety tests and failing all of them, Scott was arrested.  She was taken to a local hospital for a blood test that showed she had Oxycodone, Diazepam and Nordiazepam in her system.  The children are now with their grandmother and Scott faces charges of DUI and endangering the welfare of a child.

It can be hard to spot the symptoms of prescription drug abuse, since they can vary from medicine to medicine.… Read More

Citizens Help Officers Train for DUI Detection

WikicommonsSeveral lucky Moon Township citizens participated in DUI detection training with the local police department. They volunteered to get drunk, have their blood alcohol measured and then submitted to field sobriety tests administered by officers. The point of the exercise was to train the officers to detect those who were committing DUI.  The officers based their findings on physical observations, such as the ability to follow directions, walk in a straight line or any involuntary eye movements. Usually, the training involves watching videos of intoxicated people, but the lead instructor said that working with live people is much more effective. There is quite a difference between reviewing footage and actually dealing with a live subject. After the training is completed, the volunteers are taken home and must agree to not drive until they are no longer drunk.

Field sobriety tests is just one of the tests that law enforcement can use in determining if a driving is under the influence.… Read More

DUI Driver Hit Hard after Multiple Incidents

Wikimedia CommonsThe impact of an accident can last for years or even a lifetime, and often times the victims want to seek justice within the limits of the law.

On October 30, Cynthia Onofrio was on her bike when she was hit by DUI driver Vincent Marini.  The impact shattered her bike and helmet, and she suffered spinal fractures. Her spine is now being held with pins and bars.  Onofrio believes that Marini should be in jail and had been fighting for justice in her case, but was not notified of the court hearing after inquiring frequently for weeks beforehand.

The judge sentence Marini to seven month license suspension and to pay fines, and acknowledged that Marini’s driving record was reprehensible. He had 8 suspensions and 28 violations, with four for careless driving, and four for speeding. Onofrio believes that is she had been able to testify, he may have gotten jail time, as prescribed by law.… Read More

Police Officer Arrested for DUI

dui arrestA Pittsburgh police office has been assigned to desk duty after being arrested for a DUI.  The officer was arrested after he struck a car on South Main St. He was attempting to get on the on-ramp and collided with the other driver’s fender. He immediately stopped his car and gave assistance to the other driver, who was taken to the hospital with a concussion. When the other officers arrived on scene, they noted that he had bloodshot eyes and his breath smelled badly of alcohol. The office in question refused to take the field sobriety tests, but was taken to the police station in handcuffs to do a Breathalyzer. The Breathalyzer test showed that he had a blood alcohol level of over 0.19, which exceeds the Pennsylvania limit of 0.08.

The police officer was honored in 2013 for helping to find a woman who had stolen a baby from a hospital and is a first-time offender.… Read More

Man Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular Homicide CaseAn 11 month investigation has ended in Gloucester County, with the guilty plea of a man who killed his friend in a drunk driving accident. He plead guilty to driving while intoxicated and vehicular homicide, after flipping his SUV. His friend died of chest injuries. The driver had a blood alcohol level of .162 after the accident.  The DA is recommending that he serve a 5 year sentence, without parole until 85% of the sentence is served. As he is living here illegally, the driver may also be deported after serving his sentence. With the help of a translator, the driver said that he understood the charges.

People who don’t speak fluent English may find themselves having trouble understanding legal proceedings when they have been arrested. Fortunately, our courts have provided translators who can assist them with forms and procedures, as well as interfacing with their attorneys. In larger cities, forms and documents are also provided in a variety of languages to assist visitors from other countries.… Read More

Charges Filed in Old Car Crash

car accidentA car accident can be a traumatic event for anyone, but it is especially painful when a young person dies.

In O’Hara Township, police are searching for a suspect in an automobile accident. Jared Schillinger crashed into the back of an 18-year-old girl’s car on Route 28, causing her automobile to roll over. During the roll over, Rikki Fleming was thrown out of her car. She succumbed to her injuries. Schillinger is wanted for driving under the influence and homicide. Fleming’s parents held a vigil for her in Etna, where she was remembered by family and friends. Her mother is particularly distraught, saying that she had lost her friend and her daughter.

After an accident, especially a fatal one, all the parties involved would be wise to seek out the help they need, both physical and mental. In addition to broken bones and muscle injuries, post-traumatic stress syndrome can occur, as well as depression and anxiety attacks.… Read More

Trial Awaits for Former Philly Officer Accused of DUI Homicide

judge-gavelA recent Daily News article details the severe consequences that can occur as a result of drinking and driving. Former Philadelphia police sergeant Thomas Winkis recently faced a preliminary hearing on charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and recklessly endangering another person. These charges stem from a deadly drunk driving accident that occurred in September 2013. Winkis, a 21-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was fired from his job following the crash.

Just before midnight, Winkis left Maggie’s Waterfront Café in Torresdale, where he had been drinking with a friend. Winkis reportedly was driving his Dodge Challenger at over 101 mph, or more than three times the speed limit, when he struck a Ford Econoline van being driven by 55-year-old David Farries at State Road and Ashburner Street in Holmesburg. Farries, a Fishtown father of four, was ejected from the van and suffered blunt-force injuries.… Read More