The Atlanta DUI News Blog

January 2011 Archives

Former UGA Athletic Dir. Damon Evans Pleads Guilty To DUI

The former athletic director of University of Georgia, Damon Evans, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence in Atlanta Municipal Court on Jan. 19 and was able to avoid jail time with the guilty plea. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a judge sentenced Evans to 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and he must pay a fine of $750.

Evans was also ordered to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and participate in a panel for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization. The athletic director reportedly resigned from his job at UGA just four days after his DUI arrest. The arrest came last year on June 30, just five minutes before his new contract with UGA was about to take effect. The new contract would have reportedly paid Evans more than $500,000 per year.

Hannah Nichole Freeman Accused of Driving Under Influence of Drugs

The Newman Times Herald reports that an 11-year-old boy is now in “critical but stable condition” after being hit by a vehicle while walking near his Coweta County home on Welcome Arnco Road. The driver of the vehicle was allegedly driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision and was taken into custody after the accident.

The suspect, Hannah Nichole Freeman, reportedly crossed into the wrong lane when driving on January 22 and drove up onto the curb of the road, leaving the roadway. The incident report stated that Freeman hit a mailbox before hitting the young boy. This apparently isn’t even the first time that the suspect has gone through the process of a DUI arrest.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Over the past several years, many studies have concluded that driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. But just how impaired is a drowsy driver?

Wired.com reports that researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands released information about how dangerous nighttime driving can be. Their study found that two hours of driving after dark resulted in the same types of driving errors as a person with a blood-alcohol content of .05 percent. Driving performance after three hours of nighttime driving was equivalent to the driving performance of a person with a .08 percent blood-alcohol level. And a person driving for more than 4.5 hours at night has the same driving performance of a person that has a .10 percent blood-alcohol level.

Fulton County Group Receives Grant To Prevent Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is the leading cause of automobile crashes, deaths, and injuries in the state of Georgia. This is why the state's Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is giving a $91,400 grant to The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, which will go toward combating underage drinking in the state.

A press release by The Council on Alcohol and Drugs states that the GOHS grant money will be distributed to partners working with the Council in four of Georgia's counties: Fulton County, Hall County, Rockdale County, and Spalding County. The grant will specifically go toward reducing the accessibility to alcohol by underage youth through the Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service (RASS) Workshops.

Peachtree City Firefighter Facing DUI Charge

The man who was named Peachtree City Fire Department's Rookie of the Year in 2008 was accused of showing up to work at Fire Station #81 drunk on January 11, which subsequently led to a DUI charge. TheCitizen.com reports that city firefighter and EMT Kevin Bernard McMullen was booked at the Fayette County Jail after a blood-alcohol test showed that the man had a .136 percent while he was on duty.

Fire department supervisors said that they smelled alcohol on McMullen's breath when he showed up to work. Officers administered field sobriety tests and a blood-alcohol test and found that he was over Georgia's legal driving limit of .08 percent. When asked if he had driven to the station on Paschall Road that morning, McMullen replied that he did and said that he started his shift around 8:00 a.m.

DUI Accident in Duluth Leads To Vehicular Homicide Charge

A 22-year-old man from Duluth is facing some serious criminal charges after allegedly sideswiping another vehicle while he was driving in his Lexus on December 12. Apparently, the improper lane change in Duluth led to a multi-vehicle crash, which killed two people.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the suspect Soon Mo Kwon is currently being held in the Gwinnett County jail on two counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of serious injury by vehicle and driving under the influence. Kwon was also cited for making an improper lane change and a separate immigration violation.

Delino DeShields Jr. Charged With DUI in Athens

The 18-year-old, first-round draft pick for the Houston Astros got himself into a bit of legal trouble in the state of Georgia this past weekend. According to the Houston Chronicle, baseball player Delino DeShields Jr. was arrested in Athens-Clarke County on January 16 after allegedly driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street.

The young baseball player is a resident of the Atlanta metro area and a recent graduate of Woodward Academy. The athlete is now reportedly facing charges of DUI, underage possession of alcohol and a traffic violation. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department booked DeShields into jail after the alleged violation, but he is now free on $2,500 bond.

North Georgia Counties Receive Grants For DUI Education

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety feels that one of the most effective ways of preventing DUI accidents in the state is to educate people about the dangers of impaired driving at an early age. Hence, the Office of Highway Safety has decided to combat drunk driving by giving grant money to the Pioneer Regional Educational Service Agency for DUI education.

Access North Georgia reports that Pioneer RESA is giving $2,000 grants to schools in North Georgia counties so that a new Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters can be developed in the North Georgia area. The counties with high schools receiving grant money to develop SADD chapters include the Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White counties.

Should Georgia DUI Offenders Be Jailed?

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, even first-time Georgia DUI offenders can be sentenced to time in jail in the Peach State. Yet newly-elected Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced in his inaugural address that putting drug addicts and drug abusers in jail is placing an unsustainable financial and civic burden on his state.

Governor Deal says that violent and repeat offenders should pay for their crimes behind bars, but that other offenders should have the opportunity to be sentenced with expanded probation and treatment options. The Huffington Post reports that Deal stated that, "As a State, we cannot afford to have so many of our citizens waste their lives because of addictions. It is draining our State Treasury and depleting our workforce."

Michael McGowan Put on Unpaid Leave After DUI

Cherokee County School District Spokesman Michael McGowan was recently put on unpaid leave due to his December DUI arrest. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the school official's arrest came after he allegedly drove on the wrong side of the road on Reinhardt College Parkway and almost hit another vehicle.

It looks like this isn't even the first time that McGowan has been accused of driving under the influence. Records of the Cherokee sheriff's office indicate that the man was also arrested for DUI in 1998 and then again in 2003. A report following McGowan's most recent DUI arrest stated that police found Michelob Ultra bottle caps in McGowan's front pants pocket along with two empty beer bottles on the floorboard of the school official's Mazda truck.

Georgia Authorities Enforce DUI Through Operation Zero Tolerance

The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) heavily enforced drunk driving and drugged driving crimes during the holiday season through the statewide campaign Operation Zero Tolerance. The holiday enforcement campaign took place from December 17, 2010 to January 2, 2011 with the goal of preventing DUI accidents and deaths.

DUI Test Refusal Means a Blood Warrant?

Blood instead of breath? DUI tests might get bloodier.

Turns out that drunk drivers stopped by the State Patrol’s DUI task force, or by the Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies may have to give their blood if they decline a breath test, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to the authorities: “If we have someone refuse, and if we have enough probable cause, we contact a State Court judge and request a search warrant for that person’s blood,” Douglas Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said.

MCG Police Officer Ricky Boatright With DUI

Officers with Richmond County's DUI Task Force arrested a Medical College of Georgia police officer on Saturday night on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run. The suspect Officer Ricky Boatright was not on duty at the time of his DUI arrest, but was pulled over after authorities said that the man allegedly failed to stay in his lane while driving. Further details about the arrest were not released to the press.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that MCG's chief of police asked Boatright to turn in his badge and weapon on Monday morning. Boatright is now reportedly on annual leave until a final determination can be made regarding his employment.

Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving Rates Decline in U.S

Throughout the United States, it looks like more people are choosing to avoid driving while impaired. The Wall Street Journal reports that new government figures show that there has been a slight decline in the rate of people that drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Yet despite the decrease in impaired drivers, the country still has a lot to do when it comes to getting American roads free of drunk drivers. A Department of Health and Human Services survey revealed that 31 million Americans age 16 and older, drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year. That’s about 13.2 percent of the driving population.