A Lesson from Leos

WATERLOO —A Waterloo officer has been arrested on a drunk driving charge over the weekend. According to court records, deputies with the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a vehicle in a ditch in the area of Moline and East Cedar Wapsi roads at Sunday night. When they arrived, deputies found Randall Dean Hammitt and noticed an odor of alcohol, court records state.

Hammitt admitted to drinking earlier in the evening, but he refused field sobriety tests and breath tests, records state.

Deputies took him to the jail at about 9:15 p.m., and he was released after posting bond. Hammitt, 47, was arrested for first-offense operating while intoxicated.

SMITHFIELD-A former Smithfield police officer charged with driving under the influence of alcohol pleaded guilty to a lesser charge this morning. Sgt. Jim Tragesser, who resigned from the Smithfield Police Department in May, pleaded guilty in Isle of Wight General District Court Thursday to one count of misdemeanor reckless driving. During his five years with the police department, Tregesser received awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his success in arresting intoxicated drivers.

Tregessar was initially charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence after the accident on Brewer’s Neck Boulevard in April.

Tregessar was off duty and driving his personal vehicle when the accident occurred.

ALBANY – An Albany police detective McNally, 54, was taken into custody at his home around 11 p.m. on Jan. 11, roughly two hours after the incident began. By then, he was with two police union officials who had been alerted to what happened and gone to his aid. They were allowed to accompany McNally to Albany’s internal affairs office, where he refused to submit to an alcohol test and was charged with DWI.

A Clinton police officer was arrested early Sunday for driving under the influence, a state Department of Safety spokesman said this morning.

Matthew Howell, 35, of Clinton, was charged with DUI implied consent because he refused to have a blood alcohol test done, safety spokesman Mike Browning said. He failed a field sobriety test, he said.

Why is it that every time a Leo is arrested for DUI , he refuses the breath test and the field sobriety tests? Is that what we are supposed to do every time an officer asks us to perform the DUI sobriety tests? I suppose the Leos that get arrested for DUI are trying to tell us something.

The Waterloo officer was arrested for first time DUI, so he’ll probably just have to put an anti-alcohol ignition interlock device on his squad car.

(This is sarcasm, I didn’t think they’d actually do it:  Detective George McNally had admitted to driving drunk, hitting two cars and nearly hitting several more back in January; all witnessed by a Schenectady police officer.
Wednesday, a judge ordered McNally to pay $4,500 in restitution for those damaged cars.
He’s also been ordered to place an ignition switch on any vehicle he drives over the next year.)

I Spoke too soon

Most of the Leos caught for DUI refuse the sobriety tests, but it seems these six didn’t. When they take the tests, their BAC is usually 2 to 3 times the legal limit. All of these arrests involved crashes and some fatalities.

Former Police officer Christopher E. Berlanga, 29, admitted he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent — twice the legal limit — on Jan. 16, 2006, when his car and one driven by Kristina Hiltunen collided near Indianapolis Boulevard and Martha Street in Highland. Berlanga was a Chicago police officer at the time.

Former Detroit police officer JosephWojtas, who reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of .19% at the time of the crash, pleaded not-guilty to both charges during his June 29 arraignment and is out on personal bond. He’s expected to be arraigned Aug. 24 in Macomb County Circuit Court.

The former Alexandria police chief who resigned and retired after being arrested for drunken driving is headed to jail. Police say David Baker collided with another car July 25 as he attempted to merge onto Interstate 66. A breath test later registered a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.

Officer Dornay agreed to breath tests, which registered 0.149 and 0.172 percent blood alcohol, according to the citation filed in Grays Harbor County District Court. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Police say a suburban St. Louis police officer Christine Miller was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes when her car collided nearly head-on with another car. Four of the five people in the other car died. Police say that three hours after the crash, Miller’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Miller is suspended without pay from her job.

Leo Sanders pleaded guilty 10 days after a motion to suppress an Alcotest reading of 0.23 percent — almost three times the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent — was denied by Armstrong.Authorities have said Sanders was intoxicated when he hit a pickup truck and car while traveling eastbound on Route 22 near Wilson Avenue in North Plainfield. Sanders attempted to pass a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Florida resident Joseph J. McKernan, who was traveling eastbound in the highway’s left lane, police said.


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