Santa Barbara – The quiet streets of Santa Barbara are frequently a productive hunting ground for law enforcement units tasked with identifying those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. And while the Santa Barbara Police Department motor patrols are not officially engaged in attempts to break any records in terms of DUI arrests made, they do take pride in the success of organized DUI checkpoints and rapid response to citizen 911 Emergency calls reporting erratic drives on the roads.
On April 17th, Sgt. Riley Harwood, SBPD Public Information Officer, expressed official appreciation to “the responsible citizens who take the time to call and report suspected drunk drivers” as he announced that SBPD officers made 49 arrests for “driving under the influence violations” from March 1 through March 31. Many of those arrested were engaged in what can only be described as episodes of vehicular mayhem as a direct result of their intoxication taking place after sunset hours, with a rate of 1.5 such events per day, every day on the city’s “quiet” streets.
Among those notable incidents, Fredrick Forrest Hendrix, 59, got the month off to a rolling start on March 1st by slamming his car into another vehicle in the downtown area Ralph’s Supermarket parking lot just as night fell. He exchanged information with the other driver, but then drove off without providing proof of insurance, and when he was contacted by a responding SBPD officer, he denied having consumed any alcohol in spite of his obvious intoxication. When Hendrix’s blood sample later registered a BAC of .20, he was arrested on charges of DUI.
Just the following evening, Alta Elizabeth Jerue, 39, managed to drive her car through a residential property, through a fence, and ultimately down a 30-foot backyard embankment before coming to an abrupt stop. SBPD Officer Rosenberg arrived on the scene along with firefighters and paramedics, and Jerue and her passenger were extracted from the vehicle with only minor injuries. For her part, however, Jerue failed a series of field sobriety tests, blew a .30 breathalizer BAC, was discovered holding a small amount of marijuana, and was summarily arrested on charges of DUI.
That same night, Peter Christoffer King, 41, drove his car into a roadside planter, then drove off to a retirement home parking lot where he drove across another planter, finally grinding to a halt. His protestations to responding officers that he’d “only had a few beers” were belied by his .30 BAC, and he was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of DUI.
Just days later Francisco Franco Calixto, 34, responded to a passing SBPD officer’s offer of help to push his car out of traffic lanes by suddenly fleeing the scene on foot. He was no match for the sprinting ability of a trained law enforcement officer, and when apprehended, admitted to having been “forced by a friend to drink” three shots of tequila. Investigation revealed that he’d been involved in a prior collision, and he was arrested on charges of DUI, hit-and-run, resisting an officer, and driving without a license.
Among the youngest DUI suspects noted by Harwood, Jessica Martinez, 20, may win the prize as Most Inebriated Driver for the month. When she was contacted in the late afternoon of March 16th—following two hit-and-run collisions—she admitted to having consumed three vodka beverages. All questions of her level of sobriety were somewhat moot, and she was unable to submit to a field sobriety test merely because she could not sit upright behind the wheel of her car. She was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony DUI causing injury, felony hit-and-run, and possession of marijuana.
Given this sampling of motoring chaos on public thoroughfares in a single 30-day period, the admonition to practice “defensive driving” may well be kept in mind.
Photo: Courtesy www.stuartcriinaldefense.com
EdHat: DUI round-up stats