by Stephen Beck on Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:48 pm
by Stephen Beck on Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:20 am
by Stephen Beck on Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:15 pm
I had a few spare minutes so I thought I’d respond to another item in your email about the 3,000 DUI jail sucides statement.
You wrote: “If what you say is true, it's a scandal of gigantic proportions: the self-slaughter of persons jailed for nothing more than a driving offense.”
“nothing more than a driving offense.” – One does not get arrested for speeding or for making an improper left turn. Cruising through stop signs or trying to beat red lights are acts that can cause serious accidents. If a cop spots you ignoring a stop sign and writes a ticket, you willingly, albeit grudgingly, pay the fine. However, you will not be arrested, you will not lose thousands of dollars, you will not be carted off to jail, you will not lose your right to drive, you will not lose your car, you will not be placed on probation, you will not be forbidden to leave the state, you will not be forced to attend a behavior modification program, and you certainly will not be contemplating suicide. BUT, if you have an unlawful BAC, welcome to Hell.
Welcome to Big Brother's New Prohibition where cities unleash goon squads with guns to arrest drivers who allegedly demonstrated the potential of causing some undefined harm to someone, or something, sometime in the future at some unspecified location. The suspect is shackled, his car is ransacked, he's searched and tossed in the patrol car, then photographed, fingerprinted, articles of clothing are taken, wallets and purses are snooped through, and if the suspect declines to submit to an alcohol test, he may be strapped down, have needles plunged into his body and blood extracted from his veins, then he's placed in a cage with an unwavering camera spying on him. And then, even if that person is found Not Guilty, he must pay up to $500.00 dollars to the city for the repugnant experience. It's tantamount to armed robbery, kidnapping, and assault and battery – to say the very least. And it happens to about 1.5 million people every year.
“nothing more than a driving offense.”
Upon hearing of DUI suicides, a common response is: “It's just another example of weak people not standing up to their own actions and choices.”
They did not “choose” to be arrested. They did not choose to be a victim of highway robbery. A driver is tooling down the road minding his own business, then, with the flick of a switch the flashing lights go on and that driver is transported to another dimension and placed in a cage like a vicious animal. The contrast is stark and swift, it’s night and day, it’s black and white - there are no shades of gray. Does one tolerate the insanity, or leave it behind? It’s live or die, and life is black while death is white. What happens after death is uncertain. What is certain is the immediate situation of being caged like a wild animal, treated like a child molester, while knowing of the abundant misery that will surely follow. It’s black or white: Tolerate the intolerable or leave the lunacy behind.
The underlying motivating factors behind suicide are diverse, and those factors, whether depression, family problems or financial difficulties, are suddenly exacerbated upon being thrust into an alien world coupled with massive penalties looming in the immediate, dismal future.
None of that enters the picture for any other traffic infraction, despite that fact that many other offenses are far more dangerous than drink-driving. There are two billion uneventful incidents of drunk driving per year. Can you imagine 2 billion uneventful incidents of red light running? – Of course not, but nobody is carted off to jail for that offense, and nobody commits suicide over a traffic ticket issued for making a left turn after 4:00 PM.
by Catsratz on Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:54 pm
by Catsratz on Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:11 am
by jeanne_pruett on Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:44 am
Driver had been issued DUI citation
By: JEFF FARRELL, Staff Writer September 13, 2006
Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press
Tennessee State trooper Randy Hartsell, a sergeant with the agency’s Critical Incident Response Team, plots the scene Monday morning of a fatal vehicle accident.
SEVIERVILLE - Chuck Finchum was an optimist, the life of the community, his niece says. He had reason to be so happy. He had just learned his cancer was in remission.
And then Sunday night it all came crashing down. A vehicle driven by a local optometrist - who had been issued a DUI citation earlier this month - slammed into the enclosed porch of Finchum's house while he slept on a couch there. Finchum, 57, was killed. It happened around 6:30 p.m.
A truck driven by Dr. Edward W. Smith, 56, of 306 Grandview Drive in Kodak, apparently left the road, struck a tree in Finchum's yard at 4100 Newport Highway and went into the house. It happened around 6:30 p.m.
Smith was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where officials said Monday afternoon he was in stable condition.
The accident is still being investigated, and a team from Tennessee Highway Patrol was at the house Monday morning to try to reconstruct what happened.
Officials with the Knox County Sheriff's Department confirmed what Sevier County sheriff's officers had said on Monday: Smith had been booked at the jail in Knoxville on Sept. 1 on charges of driving under the influence.
Officials with the Sevier County Sheriff's Department say they had gone to Smith's home shortly before the wreck after a relative of Smith's called the department saying she was concerned about the optometrist's emotional state.
Reports that a suicide note was found inside Smith's truck are not true, according to several law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.
Finchum's niece, Amy Love, said her uncle had learned shortly before his death that the lung cancer which had plagued him appeared to be in remission.
Finchum had helped host an auction Saturday to raise money for a friend who also has lung cancer, Love said. The tent used for that auction was still standing at the home of Finchum's brother, who lives across from Finchum's home.
Helping others was just typical behavior for her uncle, Love said.
"He's everybody's good friend," she said. "He was the life of the community."
District Attorney Jimmy Dunn said Monday night he had talked with officers involved in the investigation on two occasions, but said it's too early to discuss what might happen in the case. He said the incident remains under investigation.
by Stephen Beck on Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:06 pm
by Gripewater on Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:15 pm
by jeanne_pruett on Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:21 pm
Man commits suicide while in police custody for DUI
By Associated PressTHURSTON COUNTY - Police are investigating the apparent suicide death of a man who was in custody under a DUI charge.
Police said they arrested the man around 8 p.m. Saturday night following a drunk driving crashed and placed him in a holding cell to sober up.
Around 3:30 a.m., police found him after he had apparently strangled himself with a phone cord.
Police said the cell is located in a high-traffic area of the jail, and the man was checked on several times. Police said the room is often used as overflow housing, and typically had a phone.
The man's identity or the official cause of death have not yet been released. A multi-jurisdictional task force will investigate the case.