It was another busy month in Georgia with many DUI arrests. It is important to remember that a DUI can happen to anyone.
On September 25th, 2017 a 20-year-old man crashed into a utility pole near the Clarkston Campus of Georgia State University Perimeter College. He was a student of the university, and he flipped his vehicle, which caused power lines to go down. A DeKalb County high school and the college were without power because of the accident. Luckily, he walked away with minor scratches, but he was arrested for a DUI.
Another incident occurred on September 29, 2017, when a drunk driver slammed into the back of a police car. Alpharetta Police Officer Jomo Bent was patrolling a construction site on Georgia 400 at Mansell Road when a young lady, Ceijia Broughton, slammed into the back of his SUV. Officers said she was very drunk at the scene and they had observed her swerving in and out of lanes. A witness honked at her several times to try and get her attention but to no avail. Even though Officer Bent was rushed to the hospital, he was released an hour later and is expected to return to work soon.
A deadly crash occurred in June 2015, but the driver has just been convicted of two counts felony vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, and speeding charges. Janeal Priester, 18, her brother, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Wright, were headed to visit her mother at the hospital on June 17, 2017. They were struck by Sarah Elizabeth Dowdy at an intersection in Dallas, Georgia when Dowdy was driving 75-mph in a 55-mph zone. Originally, Priester was found to be not at fault and was cleared of any other wrongdoing in the crash. However, a witness came forward stating that Dowdy had been driving erratically before the accident and authorities re-investigated the case and charged Dowdy more than a year after the crash.
The Rockdale County Public School Superintendent resigned from his position after he was arrested for a DUI. Witnesses stated that Richard Autry was speeding in his truck as he was driving along Hwy. 155 on Sunday, September 24. He hit another car as he approached an intersection and spun into oncoming traffic before knocking down mailboxes at a Sunoco gas station. When officers arrived at the scene, he was unable to hold himself up and instead had to lean heavily on the gas pumps. Autry's BAC was .195, which is more than double the legal limit of .08.
In other news, an investigation has been launched in Richmond County, Georgia as to whether there are hundreds of wrong DUI search warrants. When drivers refuse a field sobriety test, officers go to the courthouse to try and obtain a warrant to draw the offender's blood involuntarily. The issue is whether or not a judge signed off on the warrant. It appears that employees at the clerk's office would sign the warrants instead of the judge. The State Solicitor Omeeka Loggins says employees with the clerk's office have possibly signed off on hundreds of DUI blood warrants. It will be interesting to see what the Superior Court of Richmond County decides.
A Marietta firefighter was vacationing with four other firemen in Marina del Rey, California when a drunk driver t-boned them at an intersection killing one of the firemen. The other firefighters suffered various injuries, including broken ribs, a concussion, and broken nose. The driver of the vehicle was a 24-year-old man who pleaded no contest on Friday, September 29th, 2017 to first-degree vehicular homicide and DUI.
On September 15, 2017, a woman was charged with DUI when she hit Officer Justin Floyd as he was conducting a traffic stop in Glynn County, Georgia. Officer Floyd was in his patrol vehicle when he was struck by a white Ford Escape that fled the scene. Georgia State Patrol was able to arrest Susan Sheffield and charged her with DUI and failure to exercise due care.
Lastly, in Georgia DUI News for September, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU) is suing Cobb County police on accusations that one of their officers arrested three people on a hunch that they were high on marijuana while driving. The lawsuit argues that none of the people tested positive for marijuana and even though the charges were dropped, the arrest is still on their records. The legal director of ACLU of Georgia, Sean J. Young, stated, “The people of Cobb County should be outraged that their police department wasted scarce resources harassing and jailing innocent people.” This is the second time Cobb County Police Department has been in the news recently. A couple of weeks ago, Lt. Greg Abbott was dismissed based on his comment to a woman pulled over for a DUI that “We only kill black people, right.”
It has been a busy month of DUI related incidents, and we hope that you learn from the past. DUI's can happen to anyone, and it is best to never get behind the wheel of a car if you have been drinking. The penalties for a DUI in Georgia are hefty so be safe and don't drink and drive.