The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

April 2011 Archives

Pennsylvania Wine Kiosks Will Soon Sell Hard Liquor

The state Liquor Control Board has recently announced plans in the next few weeks to begin stocking hard liquor in some of the wine kiosks in supermarkets across Pennsylvania. This means Philadelphia locals can soon buy spirits in places other than general liquor stores run by the state for the first time since prohibition ended, in 1933.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the addition of hard liquor in local grocery stores aims to provide consumers with a better selection of alcohol and more convenience when shopping. In the process, liquor officials hope that the wine kiosks will also start becoming more profitable.

DUI Arrests In Pennsylvania Up For Ninth Year In A Row

Pennsylvania State Police announced that the number of DUI arrests carried out by state officials were up in 2010 for the ninth consecutive time, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. State officials made 17,695 DUI arrests last year, revealing a 5 percent jump from the number of arrests in 2009.

State police said they have boosted enforcement efforts with more roving patrols and checkpoints and have also received better training in identifying drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, which may have all contributed to the increase in arrests.

“Like anything else, the more you look, the more you find,” said state police spokesperson Jack J. Lewis.

Tarail Davis Charged With DUI After Police Car Chase on I-95

South Philadelphia resident Tarail A. Davis, 20, led police on a car chase down I-95 after he struck a Lower Makefield police vehicle with a stolen automobile. According to PhillyBurbs, Davis was initially wanted for allegedly stealing $42 of gasoline from a gas station in Newtown Township but is now subject to charges involving DUI, theft, aggravated assault, and other offenses.

Authorities said Lower Makefield Officer Timothy U’Selis spotted Davis driving along Route 332 and tried to get him to pull over. But Davis supposedly ran his vehicle into the officer’s patrol car and sped down I-95 as cops pursued him. Police arrested Davis after he sideswiped a couple of cars and collided into the grass median in Middletown.

Former Baseball Star Dwight Gordon Gets Probation in DUI Case

Many Philadelphia locals may have heard about the DUI case involving 46-six year-old Dwight Gordon, the once famed major league pitcher who was accused of driving under the influence of cocaine when his car crashed into another vehicle in March 2010.

The Associated Press reported Gooden ultimately pleaded guilty in New Jersey to child endangerment charges after Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinello said Gooden's 5-year-old son was sitting in the backseat of the auto without a seatbelt at the time of the crash, though no one was hurt in the accident.

Deborah Cirulli Charged With DUI While Out On Bail

Audubon local Deborah Cirulli, 42, was recently charged with driving under the influence in Woodbury this month while she was out on bail for a hit and run crash that occurred in Gloucester City in March, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Woodbury Captain Timothy Sheehan said Cirulli is now subject to additional motor vehicle charges from the Woodbury arrest, which include refusing to take a Breathalyzer test and failing to carry her driver’s license, registration, and insurance card with her. The Woodbury officer who pulled her over said the smell of alcohol was apparent in Cirulli’s car.

More Drug Recognition Experts Certified To Stop Impaired Driving

The Pennsylvania State Police recently issued a news release stating that the International Association of Chiefs of Police has certified five municipal police officers and 11 state troopers as drug recognition experts, or DREs.

PA State Police acting Commissioner Frank Noonan said the certification also reflects the state’s most recent efforts to promote highway safety and fight impaired driving with the development of the Drug Evaluation Classification Program. From the time the program began in 2004, Pennsylvania has certified 22 municipal police officials and 70 state troopers as DREs.

Lamp Post Inn In Middletown Pleads Guilty To DUI-Related Charges

Some Philadelphia residents may have heard that the owner of a tavern in Dauphin County recently pleaded guilty to DUI-related charges after one of its patrons, who left the bar intoxicated, got involved in a fatal drunken driving accident in November, 2007. Court documents stated Roseanna Thompson, 22, was served alcohol at the Lamp Post Inn in Middletown even though she was visibly inebriated.

Pennsylvania's Fox News reported that the bar had kicked out Thompson for being rowdy and uncontrollable on the day of the car crash, and a bouncer escorted the patron to her car. Thompson later crashed into another vehicle head-on about 5 miles away from the bar, killing 21-year-old Crystal Rudy and her passenger, 21-year-old Morgan Long.

PA House Approves Hit and Run Law, House Bill 208

The Pennsylvania state House of Representatives has recently voted for House Bill 208, which would raise the minimum sentence for a fatal hit and run car crash from a penalty of one year in prison to a proposed three, according to ABC27.

Rep. Dave Reed, the bill's sponsor, believes that current PA law encourages drunk drivers in Philadelphia and across the state to flee from a fatal car accident and arrive at the scene later and more sober, leading them to receive lesser penalties than those who actually stay at the scene. As mentioned earlier in this blog, Rep. Phyllis Mundy addressed the same legal loophole when she reintroduced House Bill 227, which sought to classify hit and run accidents as a second-degree felony.

Do Mobile Apps Like PhantomAlert Encourage Drunk Driving?

Many Philadelphia residents may have heard of the popular mobile application known as PhantomAlert, which has over 1 million subscribers in both the United States and Canada. The app tracks and warns drivers about the locations of DUI checkpoints, red light and speed cameras, potholes, and other traffic problems.

Many drivers consider the app as an incredibly useful tool, but PhantomAlert developer Joe Scott said four U.S. senators have condemned apps like his, saying they only encourage "people to drink and drive and evade detection." According to Investor's Business Daily, Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Mark Udall have asked Research in Motion (RIM), Apple, and Google to remove PhantomAlert from its stores.

More DUI Crashes In PA Involve Drunk Motorcyclists

As some Philadelphia locals may know, DUI-related accidents and fatalities can often involve and affect more than just those who drive a car. A 2009 report from PennDOT revealed that 11 percent of motorcyclists involved in a vehicle accident have consumed alcohol at the time of an accident, whereas only 6.8 percent of drivers of all other types of vehicles have been involved in an alcohol-related crash.

According to the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, the data shows that 2009 was at least the 14th consecutive year where the percentage of drunken motorcyclists is greater than that of other motorists. PennDOT's spokesperson Danielle Klinger pointed out that DUI is an even bigger factor "among older riders on cruiser bikes."

Philly Man May Face DUI Charges For Fatal Car Crash In Port Richmond

Police officials reported a 19-year-old man from Philadelphia, whose name was not yet released, will likely face criminal charges for a fatal car crash that killed 49-year-old Camden resident Venustiano Vidals, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Authorities said the man was driving a GMC van when he slammed into Vidal's Ford Windstar minivan in Port Richmond.

Authorities suspected that the 19-year-old may have been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time the accident occurred. He underwent several tests after the car crash to determine whether or not he was impaired by a particular intoxicant. NBC Philadelphia reported that DUI charges are pending as police further investigate the scene.