The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

January 2011 Archives

Donnie Sayers Rejects Plea Agreement And Chooses Trial Instead

Donnie Sayers, a 29-year-old Bryn Mawr resident, was charged with third-degree murder for a fatal high-speed vehicle collision in September that killed Villanova engineering student Daniel M. Giletta. Authorities also charged Sayers with DUI, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, homicide by vehicle, receiving stolen property, and other related offenses.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sayers was speeding in a stolen Range Rover and drove up to 100 mph in an attempt to get away from police when he crashed into a Volkswagon Jetta. Giletta, 21, was immediately killed after the collision while his roommate, 21-year-old Frank "Patrick" DiChiara, suffered severe injuries.

Pot Soda: New Prescribed Drink Could Still Get you a DUI

Will Philadelphia just shake its head and say "only in California" over this news story? It may have effects that could apply in the Keystone State, so reserve judgment. The Associated Press reports that a man in Soquel, California (south of San Francisco) is planning on offering pot soda as part of the products available at his medical marijuana dispensary.

Clay Butler will offer various flavors of pot soda at the dispensary, all containing the active ingredient in pot, THC. While the AP reports that other marijuana drinks have already arrived on the market, Butler says his "branding savvy" will make his products a hit.

Will Drunk Drivers Have Their Mug Shots Posted On Facebook?

Philadelphians may be surprised to hear that California councilman Devin Dwyer in Huntington Beach wants police to start posting mug shots of drunk drivers on Facebook in an attempt to have people think twice before getting behind the wheel intoxicated. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Dwyer aims to shame those online who have been arrested more than once for DUI.

Dwyer said “if it takes shaming people to save lives, I am willing to do it.” He was hoping that the other seven members of the Huntington council would support his proposal for a wall of shame on the internet during a vote this week. However, The Orange County Register News reported the proposal was defeated by the council.

Stacey Lewis Pleads Guilty To DUI Charges

New Jersey resident Stacey Lewis, 38, was arrested for driving drunk and in the wrong direction in Lower Merion after being involved in a car crash on Route 76. According to The Reporter, Lewis pleaded guilty to charges of DUI and aggravated assault by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in Montgomery County Court.

Philadelphia police had responded to two reports about a vehicle heading eastbound on the westbound lanes of Route 76 and a head-on collision in the area. They reportedly found Lewis in the driver's seat of her Honda Accord with the smell of alcohol on breath.

William Haviland Turns Himself In And Gets Charged With DUI

Philadelphia police officer William Haviland, 42, was fired last month after he was accused of drinking and driving while on duty. This week, Haviland turned himself in to authorities and was charged with DUI, reckless endangerment, and misapplication of entrusted property of financial or government institutions.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, law enforcement officials said Haviland had gone to a Northeast Philadelphia bar on Torresdale Avenue while working the night shift on November 7. He was seen in full uniform, having drinks at the bar and driving a police cruiser afterward. A supervisor suspected Haviland was inebriated once the former cop came back to the police station later that evening.

Kenney Bellegarde Charged With Vehicular Homicide

Philadelphia resident Kenney Bellegarde, 21, was arraigned on a charge for vehicular-homicide and assault by auto after being involved in a fatal auto accident that killed 22-year-old Vanessa L. Tomlin in October. Bellegarde was initially missing for two months after the incident, but was finally caught and arrested in December, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Law enforcement officials reported Bellegarde was driving a Saturn and heading east on Route 30 when he suddenly veered into the westbound traffic and slammed into a Dodge vehicle on Route 73. Tomlin, a Waterford Township local, was a passenger in the Dodge and died after she was taken to Cooper University Hospital.

Will Driving on Cold Medicine Get you a DUI in Philly?

The holidays are over. So what is left for Philadelphians to think about in the midst of a cold January? Cold and flu season, of course. And what, you might ask, does that have to do with a DUI story? Everyone knows that you can be charged with DUI in Philly for driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, but many people do not know that you can also be charged with DUI in Pennsylvania if your driving is impaired by prescription or even over the counter medication.

That is correct, even NyQuil could potentially get you in trouble.

Police Updates on DUI Arrests in Moreland

Law enforcement officials in Lower and Upper Moreland arrested several individuals before the new year who were suspected of DUI, according to the Montgomery News’ police reports.

In Lower Moreland, 40-year-old Matt Levy was taken into police custody after he failed to stop at a stop sign. Officials said Levy’s vehicle had also been swerving and did not move once a light flashed green. Police even said Levy reeked of alcohol and failed a couple of field sobriety tests, but he refused to take a preliminary breathalyzer test. He was then taken to a hospital for blood testing, and his lab results are still pending.

Paul Jones Charged With DUI And Vehicular Homicide

Fifty-three-year-old Paul Jones, a Havertown local, was arrested last week for allegedly driving under the influence and killing a Lansdowne bicyclist. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Randall Bratu, 62, was biking home on Baltimore Avenue when Jones struck him from behind. Police officials said Bratu flew at least 30 yards into the air after the impact and was declared dead at the scene.

Police said Paul Jones did not even stop after allegedly running into Randall Brat. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood reported that Jones apparently also crashed his automobile head-on into a minivan on Marshall Road in Lansdowne after the incident with Bratu. The two women and child inside the minivan were not injured, but Paul Jones allegedly left the scene of that accident as well.