The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

September 2010 Archives

Truck Driver Glen McDaniel Charged with DUI

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, tow-truck operator Glen McDaniel was coming from a party and driving while intoxicated when he ran into rival tow-truck driver Ray Santiago. Police officials said McDaniel repeatedly ran over the 30-year-old victim and killed him. Glen McDaniel, 25, was charged with homicide by vehicle, murder, DUI and related offenses for the death of Ray Santiago.

McDaniel worked for Straight Up towing while Santiago worked for Siani's. They were at a gas station on Frankford Avenue near Lehigh filling up their trucks when a battle broke out between the men about towing territories. Police believe the fight has been an ongoing one "over who has what territory," since no automobile was to be towed at the time.

Shamsuddin Hasan Charged With DUI For Fatal Crash

Philadelphia local Shamsuddin K. Hasan was allegedly under the influence of ecstasy and charged with vehicular homicide after slamming into another automobile on the Schuylkill Expressway last month. He was also charged with reckless driving and other traffic offenses. The Times Herald reported Hasan turned himself in and is held on $500,000 cash bail at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

Shamsuddin Hasan, 28, was on ecstasy when his Jeep Grand Cherokee sport-utility car crashed into Daniel Y. Chong's Scion tC. The collision pushed the Scion into the center concrete barrier on I-76, and Chong was brought to the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia with head injuries. He was declared brain dead and taken off life support fifteen hours later. Hasan suffered only minor injuries.

Teen Driving: Driving While Texting Is Like A DUI

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Lawmakers are pushing for a distracted driving bill to be passed that will impose stricter rules for teen drivers in Pennsylvania. House and Senate representatives are discussing the logistics of House Bill 67, which restricts the number of passengers and bans cell phone usage for teen drivers. According to The Reporter, Car and Driver Magazine conducted a study that revealed a person talking or texting while driving makes a driver take longer to stop their vehicle than a driver who is considered legally drunk with 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content.

The results are staggering and a little surprising, even for a PA DUI lawyer.

Number of PA Vehicles with Ignition-Interlock Increases

Many Pennsylvania DUI lawyers have noticed judges requiring ignition interlock devices in cars operated by certain drunk driving offenders; even more so when the person has had a repeated DUI offense. According to the Reading Eagle, more PA drivers' licenses will bear a red border that indicates the driver should have a device set up in his or her vehicle preventing the person's car from starting if he or she has had even a small sip of alcohol.

The ignition interlock mechanism involves individuals with restricted licenses to blow into a tube that detects any traces of alcohol on their breath. The car won't start if it detects alcohol, and the driver has to wait five minutes before trying again. A second failed attempt leads to a 30-minute lockout, and a third results in a recall of the device, which cost an average of $75.

Northern Tier Police Face Potential DUI Cuts This Year

Law enforcement officials worry that people driving under the influence will become a greater problem as the holiday season approaches. This reasonable concern has prompted Philly authorities to conduct DUI checkpoints, but WETM 18 reported one Northern Tier County may lose funding for its DUI patrol program.

Police officers in Tioga County have directed DUI checkpoints for the past fifteen years, but that might all come to an end this year. All of Tioga County's DUI checkpoints are currently financed by Nelson Township, and this year Nelson supervisors voted two against one in declining to provide $10,000 to finance DUI patrolling. Nelson Township Police Chief Walt Beach was surprised by the decision, since checkpoints did not cost taxpayers any money whatsoever.

Allstate Ranks Philadelphia In Bottom 10 Of Safe-Driver Cities

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Allstate Insurance Co. released its most recent annual list of cities with the safest drivers, recognizing Fort Collins, Colorado, as the safest. Interestingly enough, Allstate placed Philadelphia in the bottom ten of the more dangerous metros for drivers among the 193 cities in its list.

Could Philadelphia really be that unsafe?

Philly Cop Matthew Sharkley Alleged To Be Driving Under The Influence

An off-duty Philadelphia police officer was allegedly intoxicated while speeding and crashing into a state police car north on I-95 near Girard in February. According to KYW Newsradio, a Pennsylvania state trooper testified that Philadephia police officer Matthew Sharkey was driving under the influence. After the crash, Sharkey's blood alcohol tested to be clearly over the legal limit.

Unfortunately, the crash resulted in a serious injury for trooper Matthew Sheeran, 28.

John Lawless Pleads Guilty to 2009 DUI Charge

After receiving seven DUIs within the past thirteen years, Philadelphia local John Lawless adds one more DUI to his escalating string of alcohol-related charges. Press of Atlantic City reported Lawless pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol in a September 12, 2009 car crash. The collision resulted in the death of Lower Township resident Frederick H. Shelton. 

John Lawless, now 38, was heading south while Shelton, 50, traveled north on Route 9 near Bennett's Crossing in Lower Township. Lawless crossed the center line and crashed into Shelton's car. The accident lead to an immediate death for Shelton while his wife Sheri and daughter Brittany, both passengers in the car, suffered injuries. Both were hospitalized and later released.

Maurice Jason McKinney was charged with driving under the influence, drug possession with intent to distribute and endangering the welfare of a child after he crashed his Kia Sorento in Yeadon, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.  

In addition to a Philadelphia DUI lawyer, the defendant also will need the counsel of a criminal attorney and perhaps even a family law attorney to help him defend his numerous charges.

Neither the 24-year-old dad, his infant daughter nor the operator of the other vehicle were injured in the crash last Sunday at the intersection of MacDade Blvd. and Church Lane. The child was properly secured in a child-restraint seat.

Man Injures Cops in a Crash, Pleads Guilty To DUI

KYW Newsradio reported a car accident from June of 2009 that resulted in a 21-year-old man charged with driving under the influence and aggravated assault. John Cusick, the defendant, almost killed two Philadelphia police officers in a vehicle crash that happened on Aramingo Avenue in Port Richmond.

The prosecution's Philadelphia DUI attorney, Noel Ann DeSantis, said witnesses saw Cusick running a red light while driving approximately eighty miles per hour. Cusick's vehicle then crashed into the Geo Prizm police officers Richard Hayes and George Higgonson had pulled over. The crash threw Higgonson into the trunk of the Geo Prizm, face-first, leaving him with wounds on his face. Hayes flew inside the car, landing onto the dashboard of the Prizm.

A Philadelphia woman was charged with driving under the influence and aggravated assault after her boyfriend was run over and dragged by a car he was trying to push up the Manayunk Wall, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Since police say she was intoxicated while sitting in the driver's seat of the stalled vehicle, technically that falls within the definition of a DUI. But it's unclear whether defendant Mary Opel's Philadelphia DUI lawyer will try to dismiss the assault charge on the basis that it was an accident.

It's an unusual case, nevertheless.

Philadelphia-area police departments plan to pay officers overtime and set up sobriety checkpoints during the three-day Labor Day weekend, according KYW Newsradio. The beefed-up DUI patrols will be paid for through grants from Penndot.

Along with Memorial Day weekend and July 4, the Labor Day holiday typically keeps cops and Philadelphia DUI lawyers plenty busy.