Local Matters

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June 8, 2019 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, pembroke hs, dwi, fire services, video.
Video Sponsor

Volunteers from fire departments in Pembroke, Indian Falls, East Pembroke, Darien, and Corfu, along with personnel from the Sheriff's Office, Coroner's Office, C.B. Beach Mortuary, Mercy EMS, and Mercy Flight, conducted a DWI drill Friday afternoon for the benefit of seniors from Pembroke High School in advance of tonight's prom.

Previously (ICYMI):

June 7, 2019 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dwi, prom drill, Le Roy, Le Roy Fire, le roy hs, video.
Video Sponsor

Le Roy Fire Department, with assistance from Le Roy PD and Le Roy Ambulance, staged a simulated DWI fatal accident to help make seniors at Le Roy High School more aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and drinking and driving.

August 21, 2015 - 11:35am
posted by Billie Owens in dwi, Labor Day, crime, impaired driving.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI Labor Day enforcement effort begins today (Aug. 21) and runs through Sept. 7.

As summer winds to a close the Batavia Police Department asks that you celebrate responsibly and have a plan. If you plan on going out make sure to have a designated driver, or leave your vehicle behind. Officers will be on duty looking for intoxicated motorists in an effort to keep our streets and highways safe.

While we spend the Labor Day holiday and the end of summer celebrating with our loved ones, law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

Genesee County Undersheriff William Sheron advises: “The Sheriff’s Office has already made 33 more DWI/DWAI arrests this year than we did at this time last year. Clearly the problem is not going away. We are not limited to alcohol impairment.

"With eight Drug Recognition Experts in our ranks, we have the additional ability to detect those drivers who are impaired by both illegal drugs and misused prescription medications. This Labor Day Weekend, our patrols will be focused on removing all impaired drivers from our highways regardless of their drink or drug of choice.”

The STOP-DWI Labor Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from our STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Throughout the remainder of the year the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers.

Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

March 13, 2015 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, law enforcement, dwi, St. Patrick's Day.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers has announced that Genesee County law enforcement agencies will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving from March 13-18 in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

The Sheriff’s Department, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department are all taking part in the crackdown.

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across the board effort to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths.

Genesee County Undersheriff William Sheron said: “We know the history of impaired driving on and around St. Patrick’s Day. With this in mind, we will have extra patrols on duty to help ensure the safety of our highways during this time.”

The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association and funded by local STOP-DWI programs as well as the STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their enforcement and public awareness efforts.

The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

You can help to make a difference by Having a Plan! Download our new mobile app – “Have a Plan” and you will always be able to find a safe ride home www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

November 20, 2014 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in dwi, thanksgiving.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Landers says while we spend Thanksgiving with friends and family giving praise and thanks for our good fortune and blessings, law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Nov. 26and end on Nov. 30.

New York State Police, county sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce drunk-driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

Sheriff Gary T. Maha says, “Driving is the most dangerous thing you routinely do and holidays put additional vehicles on our highways increasing the risk. Remember to put aside your phone and all other distractions and concentrate on driving; a task that demands your full attention.”

The STOP-DWI Thanksgiving Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and implemented by the STOP-DWI Foundation. Throughout the remainder of the year the statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. It is significant to note that in 2012, 416 motorists died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, the highest toll of deaths for any holiday weekend period. According to NHTSA data, 60 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belts and 42 percent were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver who had a blood-alcohol content of .08 BAC or higher.

Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

August 13, 2014 - 9:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in dwi, have a plan, road safety.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP DWI Coordinator Matt Landers today announced the launch of the new, free “Have A Plan” mobile app that encourages people to have a plan to get home safely if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The app is a valuable tool in helping reduce accidents and injuries caused by impaired drivers.

It operates on iPhone, Android and Windows platforms, and targets the 18-34 age range with features such as an ability to preload a list of designated drivers, find a taxi cab via GPS, an alcohol impairment estimator, various motor skills tests to assess impairment level and a "Report DWI" button that connects users to their local 9-1-1 service.

The app also offers a list of DWI facts and myths, access to STOP-DWI social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as a RSS feed to get the latest news on impaired driving.

“The ‘Have A Plan’ app will be important in the effort to prevent impaired driving," Landers said. "We want people to enjoy themselves, but we also want them to get home safely. This app helps its users do that by placing a tool in the hands of a potentially impaired driver to find a safe way home.” 

Developed by STOP-DWI New York and Staples Marketing under a grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, “Have A Plan” is one of the most comprehensive traffic safety mobile apps in the country. Users can download the “Have A Plan” app by visiting www.stopdwi.org/mobile app and selecting the link for the Apple Store, Google Play, or the Windows Phone Store.

“I urge drivers to make advance plans to get a sober ride home from a friend, family or by taxi. The new “Have A Plan’ app can help guide individuals to make the right choice to get home safely. Don’t put yourself or others in harm’s way by driving while impaired,” said Coordinator Landers.

STOP-DWI, which stands for ‘Special Traffic Operations Program for Driving While Intoxicated, was created by the State Legislature in 1981 to empower county governments to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related traffic crashes within the context of a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining alcohol and highway safety program.

You can follow the Genesee County STOP-DWI program on Facebook and receive more information on the mobile app along with other useful information.

February 16, 2012 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, dwi.

It's apparently getting easier for drunken drivers to avoid DWI checkpoints so the governor's office is funding an experimental program for "enhanced" checkpoints.

Genesee County has been selected, along with Erie and Westchester, as one of three counties statewide to test the program, according to Assistant County Manager Frank Ciaccia.

The Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to approve acceptance of a state grant of $21,755 to fund the operation of six enhanced roadblocks.

Unlike most grants, where the state sets the amount of money it will make available, local officials were able to determine a budget for the program and tell the state how much it needed.

The enhanced checkpoints will be multi-agency efforts, involving the Sheriff's Office, State Police, Batavia Police Department and the Le Roy Police Department.

At each of the six checkpoints, the lead agency will set up and run the roadblock while patrols from other participating agencies will prowl the streets around the checkpoint looking for drivers who are seemingly trying to avoid getting stopped.

Ciaccia said drivers have learned to look ahead for checkpoints, see the lights, and make a turn to avoid them, but there are also apps available now that people can download to their smartphones that will give them advance warning of checkpoints.

For Android phones, there are at least a half-dozen such apps available and Google has reportedly refused to block their distribution.

In June, Apple announced it would ban such apps for the iPhone, but an app called DUI Dodger is currently available for $2.99 in Apple's App Store.

Legislator Ray Cianfrini, an attorney, expressed concern that the enhanced checkpoint program may run into legal issues because, for example, not everybody making a left-hand turn is doing so to avoid a checkpoint.

"Anybody who doesn't go through a roadblock is now suspicious?" Cianfrini said. "Innocent people who have nothing to hide are going to get dragged into the whole thing and I'm not comfortable with the concept."

No dates were announced for the checkpoints.

The Sheriff's Office will act as lead agency on four checkpoints, and Batavia and Le Roy will each conduct one.

September 24, 2010 - 9:45pm
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, dwi, genesee county court, Ronald J. Wendt II.

The case against Ronald J. Wendt II continued today in Genesee County Court with testimony from Deputy Tim Westcott and then Sgt. Brian Frieday.

Deputy Westcott was asked questions by the District Attorney Lawrence Friedman regarding the condition of Wendt at the time of the arrest. When asked if Wendt showed any indications of injury at the time of the accident, he replied with "no."

Wescott stated he was not aware of Wendt's purported forearm injury until after the arrest. When asked about whether he was aware of a pre-existing knee injury, saw any signs of allergies or knew of any allergies that Wendt had, Deputy Westcott responded with "no."

Friedman then asked Deputy Westcott if he had any doubts in his mind about the accuracy of the details in the arrest report and again the response was "no."

It was stated in the report that the last drink that Wendt consumed was at 10:50 p.m. and the accident occured at 11:08 p.m.

Westcott added testimony that when he asked Wendt, after he was under arrest, to submit to a chemical test, Wendt replied with "I don't know" and later consented after he was informed of the consequences if he did not.

Deputy Westcott also testified that, in his opinion, the flashing lights from the emergency vehicles would not have had any effect on Wendt's eyes while performing field sobriety tests, since the officer was facing the lights, not Wendt.

Frieday was called to the stand next. He supervises the midnight shift for the Genesee County Sheriff's Department and is the department's breath analyst advisor. He maintains the records of DataMaster breath tests, including the one given to Wendt the night of the accident.

Frieday testified that the DataMaster is sent to Albany once a year to be re-calibrated and tested to maintain its accuracy. Plus, every six months tests are performed on the machine over a phone line. He added that the supervisor also gives weekly simulated tests.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell then asked him how a BAC is reported on the DataMaster. Frieday said it is recorded in the machine up to three decimal places, but is only displayed on the machine in two. Thus, if a BAC was recorded in the DataMaster at 0.099 it would only be seen on the display and recorded as a 0.09 BAC.

Finnell then provided Frieday with documentation showing that the machine was calibrated accurately and Frieday testified that it was and that the DataMaster also operated properly the night of the crash.

During cross-examination, Defense Attorney Thomas Burns questioned Frieday about the accuracy of the results. Frieday stated that the DataMaster takes breath samples and uses mathematic equations to calculate the BAC, since actual blood samples are not tested.

Burns argued that the equation, which is based on the average person, is not the same for each person, therefore it could not be 100-percent accurate. Frieday subsequently testified that the fixed ratio is higher than the average person, therefore the BAC reading would actually tend to show lower than it really was.

Frieday said that the time that it takes to absorb alcohol into the blood stream depends on different variables including the amount of food in a person's stomach and how much they have eaten.

He testified that after 15 minutes it "would not be absorbed into the blood stream fully."

When asked by Burns if it could take upwards of two to three hours to fully absorb alcohol in the body, Frieday stated that it was possible and would be on the upward side of the absorption.

When asked if it could still be absorbing into the blood stream even after four hours, Frieday responded by saying "I have heard that number, I recall that number, yes."

The judge then dismissed the case until 2 p.m.

September 23, 2010 - 5:36pm
posted by Timothy Walton in dwi, genesee county court, Ronald J. Wendt.

Defense Attorney Thomas Burns called Dr. Fran Gengo to testify this morning in the DWI case of Ronald Wendt. The expert witness answered basic questions from both Burns and Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell about his background, education and medical experience.

Gengo is a clinical pharmacologist at the DENT Neurological Institute and currently serves as an associate professor of Pharmacy and Neurology and a clinical assistant professor of Neurosurgery at the SUNYAB School of Medicine. He now practices neuropharmacology research and pharmacotherapy.

During his initial testimony, Burns asked Gengo to relay to his expertise concerning alcohol in the body, as well as his knowledge of the breathylizer he was experienced in using.

Gengo testified to analyzing breathylizer results and making use of the data for many years. He also informed the court that he took what he believed to be was the same training that police officers take to become certified in giving a breathlyizer test.

Since Gengo is not a government or law enforcement official, he could not take the exact training that police officers do. However, he did say that the training was administered by a former police officer and the curriculum and manuals were the same.

A debate between the prosecution and the defense arose when Burns questioned Gengo about his knowledge of a variance in the results of the DataMaster test, which gauges blood-alcohol level or BAC.

Gengo said he had no designated training specifically in the DataMaster, but based on his reasearch and scientific knowledge, he maintained that scientists generally accept a variance in the DataMaster, and that the mechanism is not 100-percent accurate.

Finnell argued that this testimony should not be used because Gengo has not had any training in that specific device. But Judge Robert Noonan allowed the testimony, saying  the witness was more than capable of having that knowledge based on his scientific background and general understanding of science.

NOTE: Juror #1 was excused due to illness and it was determined that he/she would not be available within the next few days. Substitute Juror #1 replaced Juror #1.

August 2, 2010 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, genesee county, dwi.


Just about any driver who has been charged with DWI in the past eight months, but hasn't been sentenced yet, should plan on a future of blowing into a tube to start his car.

On Aug. 15, a provision of Leandra's Law goes into effect that will require drivers convicted of DWI to have installed an "interlock" device, which is a piece of equipment that can measure the blood alcohol content of a driver and prevent the car from starting if the BAC is over certain limit.

County officials say, no matter how imperfectly the law was drafted, they're ready for the new regime.

"The way the law was written, it does cause some chaos," said Ed Minardo, director of Genesee Justice. "We'll try to do as we always do in the county and implement it in a way that does not impact the business flow. We'll manage it."

The Probation Department will oversee many of the drivers who will be required to have the devices installed on all personal vehicles, but not all people convicted of DWI are put on probation. Some people are given a "conditional release," which means they get a degree of supervision by Genesee Justice.

Julie Smith, head of probation, said six manufacturers of interlock devices were approved by New York, but the Probation Department was able to set its own criteria for approved devices.

For Genesee County Probation, devices must have a camera to confirm who is blowing into the tube and issue real-time reports to the probation department.

Only two manufacturers currently offer such a device, Consumer Safety Technology, the manufacturer of Intoxalock, and Interceptor Ignition Interlocks.

The Intoxalock is represented in Genesee County by Bill's Auto on Evans Street, Batavia. Interceptor does not yet have a known installer in Genesee County.

Another manufacturer, Smart Start, recently contracted with The Detail Shop, 3875 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, to install its device.

While the Smart Start device lacks real-time reporting, it does have an infrared camera.

Assistant County Manager Frank Ciaccia, who is in charge of the DWI fund (money collected from DWI fines used for anti-drinking-and-driving measures), visited The Detail Shop on Thursday to get a demonstration of the Smart Start Machine.

He said he wanted to fully understand its capabilities and to see whether it will meet county needs.

The Detail Shop owner James Gayton said adding the Smart Start installation to his business's offerings just made sense. The Detail Shop already offers custom installation of sound systems, GPS systems and other similar in-car electronics. He's hopeful his company will soon be added to the approved list for Genesee Justice and possibly County Probation.

Pictured are Ciaccia, front, Gayton to his left, then Nelson Baker and Michael Surujballi, both with Smart Start.

April 20, 2010 - 12:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, dwi, Leandra's Law, drunken driving.

Starting in August, any driver convicted in New York of driving drunk will have to install a device that prevents the car from starting if he or she can't pass a breathalyzer test.

The new requirement was apparently a provision in Leandra’s Law, the legislation passed and signed into law last fall in less than 30 days following the death of a young girl who was a passenger in a car driven by a drunken driver.

lelaw.jpgNot only will the device be required in the primary car of the convicted drunken driver, but also any car that the driver might even occasionally drive, or have access to drive (work vehicles are exempted).

That means, husband gets convicted of DWI, both his wife's car and his teenage daughter still living at home will need to have the devices installed. The interlock-ignition device is designed to prevent a car from starting if the driver blows a .02 or higher. It will also randomly require a driver to blow in the device as the person is driving to help ensure a friend didn't blow in it to get the car started initially (example photo here).

"Since when do we start punishing innocent people?" said Assistant County Manager Frank V. Ciaccia during the Monday meeting of the Public Safety Committee. "These are people who weren’t convicted of anything. Now every morning they get in a vehicle they’ve got to blow into this thing to get the car to start?"

County officials are most concerned about the additional costs associated with the legislation, which could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are some 360 DWI convictions in Genesee County each year, according to County Manager Jay Gsell. Only about 40 percent of those drivers convicted are placed on probation. The rest are given a conditional release.

While those on probation will mean additional supervisory responsibility for the county's probation department, the other 60 percent on conditional release will now require additional supervision for which there is little provision in the county budget to provide.

Additionally, judges will be asked to make a determination -- based on state-provided guidelines -- on whether a convicted drunken driver can afford the device. If he can't, the county will pick up the tab.

Each device costs $100 to install and $100 per month to maintain.

In Genesee County, there could be as many as 450 to 500 of these devices installed, and nobody can estimate at this time how many will be paid for by taxpayers.

Funded or not, all will need to be monitored by county probation, Genesee Justice or some other county agency (the new law doesn't specify who will be responsible for monitoring compliance).

Gsell said Assembly and Senate representatives throughout the state are crying ignorance of these new provisions -- they just thought they were cracking down on drunken drivers with kids in the car.

"What apparently most of the legislators did not know is that this law went beyond just DWIs with a 15-year-old or younger in their car," Gsell said. "It applies to all DWIs. None of the legislators we've talked to understood when we've asked them to please look at this. They were clueless almost to a statewide unanimous number."

It's hard to believe, though, that legislators in Albany weren't fully aware of these provisions. The bill, Govenor's Program Bill 204 (pdf), is only 25 pages long with all of the new provisions conveniently underlined. Most of code section being amended deals with ignition locks and the new language clearly specifies both the "owner or operator" aspect and numerous times the additional phrase "conditional release" is added. The only way to miss its full scope, is to not read the bill at all.

Even if a legislator just read the cover memo (pdf), the first paragraph clearly states, "In addition, this bill requires all individuals convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DWI offense to install and maintain an interlock device."

Julie Smith, director of County Probation, said the devices are effective deterrents to drunken driving -- there are a few in use in the county now -- but it's unclear how much of an extra burden the revised law will put on her department. She also pointed out that all enforcement action the courts and probation take are based on statistical evidence about risk levels and the nature of the crimes. This new law doesn't make those distinctions.

“Here we have something that uses no evidence based practice," Smith said. "Whether it’s your first DWI or your fifth, you’re getting it.”

Gsell said that while there may be complaints about spouses being required to blow into a machine to start their cars, the loudest complaints will when somebody who was supposed to be prevented from driving, manages to drive drunk anyway.

"When someone doesn’t get the notification (the device manufacturer may not be able to notify the county of a device failure for five to 10 days), and two days after it failed to operate, disables the device and goes out, still gets drunk, still kills someone -- that’s when all hell is going to break loose," Gsell said.

The committee asked that a resolution asking for the law to be amended be presented at Wednesday's Ways and Means Committee meeting.

Such a resolution would mirror what is happening elsewhere in the state, where county legislatures, as they learn about the law, are taking steps to oppose some of its provisions. Examples can be found in Greene County and Essex County.

Legislator Jay Grasso, a former Sheriff's deputy, said he made more than 300 DWI arrests in his law enforcement career, but he doesn't see the need to put these devices in the cars of first-time, misdemeanor DWI offenders.

“I have no objection, in theory, to an interlock device for the multiple offender, for the felony offender," Grasso said. "To do this for that first-time offender – and I’m not excusing them, because I certainly locked them all up – who goes to the wine tasting, who goes to the carnival, and has a few too many and gets arrested, he's not gong to be your repeat offender. But that multiple guy, yeah, let’s put the interlock device on him."

Legislator Ray Cianfrini wanted to know if there was any way the county could just not enforce this "unfunded mandate," but, he was told, there's probably no way around it.

“This is a perfect example of a good law gone wild," Cianfrini said. "I’m so angry when I hear this now."

Pictured are Julie Smith and Frank Ciaccia

March 16, 2009 - 6:09am
posted by Vicki Newton in dwi, choices, my opinion.

Recently in the Daily News was a column by the excellent Scott DeSmit.  He talked about the aftermath of a particular accident caused by DWI, and the very high price paid by the passenger on the motorcycle.  It was quite illuminating.  It allowed you a glimpse beyond the initial report of the accident to the consequences of it.  It gives a clear picture of how callously and selfishly the driver acted after the accident.  It begs the question that if he hadn't been so concerned about himself and gotten help for his passenger right away, maybe she wouldn't be as bad off as she is.

As I read, I felt very deeply for this woman and her family.  What they now have to face is a lifetime sentence, which is a whole lot more than the man who was drunk and chose to drive got at sentencing.  As I thought more and more about it though, I was struck by something which was never brought up in the column, and that was the choices of the woman hurt.  This was a 47 year old woman- a mother of a then 20 year old daughter.  Had she never had the discussion with her child about not getting into (or on) a vehicle with someone who had been drinking?  I am certain she must have.  Did this lesson not apply to her own behavior, then?  Wasn't she thinking about her own safety and life that night?  Why did she get on that motorcycle with her boyfriend knowing he had at least 4 DWI's in his lifetime?  Was she not aware that he was drunk?  Had she driven with him drunk before and thought nothing of it?  These are the questions which had my mind churning.

Please do not misunderstand me, I have a deep sympathy for the woman and her family- no one deserves to have their life destroyed in this way.  It was a horrible accident- but isn't it an accident that was completely preventable?  Isn't it an accident that we warn our children about regularly?  The type of accident caused by poor choices, not just dumb luck?

I write this entry not to blame the victim, but to illustrate to all of us how every choice, every decision can have lasting and horrific consequences.  The bottom line is this- DO NOT drink and drive (even a little bit!) and don't EVER get in (or on) a vehicle with someone who has been drinking (even a little bit!) no matter how sober they may seem.  The choice is yours, and the consequences can be fatal. 

September 23, 2008 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in dwi, victims impact panel.

Found on YouTube, two-video interview with Mike Laycock the VIP coordinator of the DWI Victim Impact Panel.

NOTE: If you are your community group do a video like this and want to share it with the community, you can upload your video to YouTube and then create your own blog post on The Batavian.


September 5, 2008 - 3:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, dwi.

We received this press release today from the state police. It seems they're trying to give folks a fair warning. Here it is:

The New York State Police is warning tailgaters to beware! In an effort to deter drunk driving the New York State Police will have extra patrols following the Buffalo Bill’s game this Sunday, specifically looking for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. Troopers will be on patrol throughout Erie County in an effort to deter drunk drivers and keep the roadways safe. Anyone traveling in the area should expect to see extra patrol vehicles and possibly DWI checkpoints.

“We want everyone who attends that game to have an enjoyable time, but most importantly to drive responsibly. By increasing DWI enforcement we hope to deter motorists from drinking and driving and avoid needless accidents or deaths,” stated Captain Steve Nigrelli, Zone II Commander. If you plan on drinking at the game, have a designated driver or make arrangements ahead of time to find a safe way home. The State Police is committed to protecting motorists here in Western New York. Anyone who is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol can expect to be arrested.

The State Police is committed to DWI enforcement and will continue to have extra patrols following all of the Buffalo Bill’s home games throughout the football season. Anyone with questions may contact Captain Steve Nigrelli at (716) 864-6390.

You've been warned.

May 26, 2008 - 9:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander, dwi.

Steve Ognibene, chief of the Alexander Fire Department, sends along this notice:

The Alexander Fire Department and the Alexander High School are re-enacting a DWI Accident as part of the Prom night experence. A Promm project will start at the Alexander High School Auditorium at 910 Am on Thursday May 29, 2008 followed by the accident at the Alexander Fire Departmemnt Recreation Hall at 920. Any help in coverage will help to get the message out to young people not to drink and drive.

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