Finance director Douglas E. Life, 54, 2315 Belmont Road, Parkersburg, was charged with aggravated DUI following a single-vehicle accident about 5:42 p.m. Sunday near West Virginia 95 and Interstate 77, said Sgt. Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department.
An accident investigation determined that Life was driving east on W.Va. 95 when he lost control of his 2006 Chevy truck, ran off the roadway and struck multiple street signs and a concrete structure which supports I-77. The truck sustained considerable damage in the accident, Collins said.
Life was given three field sobriety tests at the scene, allegedly failing all of them, Collins said. He was taken into custody and transported to the Wood County Holding Center where he allegedly tested 0.165 on the Intoximeter, more than twice the legal limit.
Life was transported by an officer to Camden Clark Medical Center for precautionary medical evaluation, which is often required following traffic accidents, prior to incarceration, Collins said.
The West Virginia Department of Highways inspected the concrete structure and advised there was no damage.
When contacted Sunday evening, Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said he will be making a decision in the next couple of days regarding Life’s status as finance director.
During the overall enforcement effort, the Alaska State Troopers issued the following citations and charges:
- 70 DUI arrests, including seven felony DUIs
- 52 drivers charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license
- 16 additional drivers contacted who were reported as REDDI reports and ultimately determined not to be DUI
- Of the 416 crashes investigated by troopers, 50 people were injured and an additional three succumbed to their injuries
- Of the 671 citations issued, 98 were issued for speeding and 21 were issued for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations
These focused enforcements are designed to boost public awareness regarding the dangers and potential consequences of impaired driving. The Alaska State Troopers, as well as local law enforcement agencies, believe that high visibility enforcement will deter motorists from getting behind the wheel while impaired. It is the mission of the Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol to bring the number of fatal and major injury collisions down to zero. These focused enforcement efforts are one of the ways AST is combating the issue.
The arrests were reported from Dec. 16, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2012, and were part of the “Avoid the 13” enhanced enforcement campaign. All city police departments, the sheriff’s office and California Highway Patrol participated in the annual campaign, which consists of DUI checkpoints and “saturation patrols” to put extra officers on the streets on the nights such as New Years Eve that typically bring out more motorists – and more potentially impaired motorists – than usual.
The agencies are able to assign more officers on such high-traffic nights with grant funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Cardoza said.
Morgan Hill police conducted two DUI checkpoints during the 17-day winter holiday campaign, but those did not net any DUI arrests, according to MHPD Sgt. Troy Hoefling. However, on other nights of the campaign Morgan Hill officers arrested 30 motorists on suspicion of DUI from Dec. 16 to Jan. 1.
Last year, MHPD officers contributed 38 arrests of DUI suspects in the city limits during the winter holidays, police said.
A new DUI law in Oregon also requires anyone convicted of drunk driving, even first time offenders, to get an ignition interlock device that checks a driver’s breath before the engine will start.
"I tend bar at times. I have seen people have trouble with drunk driving," said Lydia Nuemann of Ontario. "I have friends and family hurt by it so I think this is a good idea."
In Oregon, you can still use you hand held phone to call 911 while driving.
According to a press release from the "Avoid the Eight" DUI taskforce, the checkpoint on Friday night was "a great success." Police say 550 vehicles passed through the checkpoint and were screened. Officers handed out DUI educational material to every car that went through the checkpoint and performed only three sobriety tests on motorists.
The number of DUI arrests from Dec. 16 to Jan. 1 now number 102 in the eight counties. That’s ten more than the 92 who were arrested in the same 17-day time period last year. Last year there was one DUI-related death and this year there’ve been none, though the number is not final as the county coroner still needs to make a final report.
Authorities encourage citizens to call 911 if they encounter a driver that seems impaired. DUI checkpoints and regularly scheduled DUI saturation patrols are considered a proven strategy for removing intoxicated drivers from the road. The campaigns also help educate the public about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DUI checkpoints save about $6 for every $1 spent.
Under Kansas law, any DUI conviction after the fourth gets the same punishment which is a maximum sentence of a year in jail.
Officials say this case has them concerned.
Especially since Kansas recorded the second biggest increase in drunken driving fatalities last year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"I think everyone was really upset about that, but I do think that it was a reflection of how our laws have been and as they are getting tighter hopefully they are getting more drunks off the road," said Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson.
One advocate says those laws are not tough enough.
"I think there is an overall attitude in Kansas that people don’t take responsibility for their behavior, and I think there is an overall attitude in our legislature that they shouldn’t take responsibility," said Mary Ann Khoury, DUI Victim Center.
Two years ago, a DUI commission was formed to review the state’s drunken driving laws. A few laws were put into effect including requiring an interlock ignition device to be installed in the vehicles of first time DUI offenders.