DPD’s ‘no refusal initiative’ this weekend

Just got this advisory from the Dallas Police Department:Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 1.54.28 PM

“The Dallas Police Department will conduct a No-Refusal DWI Initiative for the Labor Day weekend holiday, beginning 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, and will conclude at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2.

“During this initiative officers will secure a search warrant for a blood sample from all persons arrested for DWI who refuse to voluntarily give a breath and/or blood sample.”

So remember that as you are out and about over the long weekend. Celebrate all you want, but celebrate responsibly. If you drink, don’t drive. Designate a driver, call a friend, call a cab — something. Just don’t get behind the wheel if you are even just the teensiest bit tipsy. It’s not worth your life or someone else’s.

And oh yeah, don’t think you can escape just by not driving in Dallas. I am pretty sure all the other law enforcement agencies in the area will have their own “no-refusal initiatives” in force this weekend.

—  Tammye Nash

Travis Co. DA Rosemary Lehmberg gets 45 days in jail for DWI charge

Rosemary Lehmberg

Rosemary Lehmberg

Lesbian Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated this morning and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Lehmberg said she planned to plead guilty to the class-A misdemeanor charge after she was arrested last weekend. Now in her second term, she said she plans to remain in office.

As Travis County DA, Lehmberg is over the Public Integrity Unit, which is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by state officials.

While Lehmberg apologized for her actions and said she would take whatever sentence she received, attorney Kerry O’Brien filed a request to remove her from office on Wednesday. He cited a law that allows for the removal of district attorneys for intoxication on or off the job, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

O’Brien is alleging incompetence and misconduct in his petition, which mentions Lehmberg was combative while in police custody, shouted curse words, and kicked and spit at officers.

—  Dallasvoice

Lesbian DA Rosemary Lehmberg apologizes for weekend DWI arrest

Rosemary Lehmberg

Rosemary Lehmberg

Lesbian Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested over the weekend for driving while intoxicated after drivers reported her swerving into multiple lanes of traffic.

Sheriff deputies arrested her in a church parking lot early Saturday morning after she refused breath and field sobriety tests. Deputies found an open vodka bottle in her front passenger seat  and she allegedly admitted to having two vodka drinks earlier in the evening, KHOU reports.

Lehmberg told media outlets that she’d had a rough week and didn’t deny the charges against her, later releasing a statement apologizing for her actions.

“I am truly sorry to have let the citizens of Travis County down,” the statement reads. “I deeply regret my actions and take full responsibility. As I continue to carry out my responsibilities as district attorney, I hope that the community will forgive my mistake.”

Lehmberg, who won her second term last year, said she plans to plead guilty to the charge but still remain in office.

As Travis County DA, Lehmberg is over the Public Integrity Unit, which is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by state officials.

—  Dallasvoice

Woman arrested for DWI after striking 2 pedestrians on Cedar Springs

Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson

A woman was arrested for driving while intoxicated early Sunday after two pedestrians were hit on Cedar Strings Road.

Valerie Michelle Wilson, 26, struck two pedestrians who were walking near Italia Express at 2:30 a.m., Dallas police spokeswoman LaTonia Kelly said.

Kelly said witnesses alerted off-duty police officers working nearby. Police later discovered Wilson had been drinking and arrested her.

Both pedestrians were transported to Parkland for treatment. Kelly said their injuries weren’t listed in the initial report.

After two pedestrians were killed on Cedar Springs in 2011, the city installed flashing crosswalk lights and other improvements designed to make the area safer.

—  Dallasvoice

Man charged with DWI after passing out at wheel, dragging firefighter who woke him in Oak Lawn

Aaron Scott Jenkins

Dallas police arrested a man early Tuesday morning after he allegedly dragged a firefighter with his vehicle after a scuffle near the Cedar Springs strip in Oak Lawn.

Aaron Scott Jenkins, 27, was arrested shortly after wrestling with 35-year-old Jesse Munoz, who was returning from a call with Dallas Fire-Rescue when he stopped behind a 2006 silver Mazda four-door car in the 3000 block of Douglas Avenue around 2:15 a.m., according to a Dallas police report.

When the light turned green, Munoz noticed the man driving the car in front of him was unconscious.

He tried to wake up the man before opening the driver’s side door, placing the vehicle in neutral and putting the parking brake on.

The man then woke up and told Munoz not to call police for help, but Munoz stated that he was going to call police, the report states. The man closed the door and began to wrestle with Munoz before putting his car in drive — and starting to drive off while still wresting with Munoz.

Munoz told police he was dragged for a few seconds before the man released him, scraping his arm on the man’s car. He declined medical treatment.

Police were dispatched at 2:30 a.m. and arrested Jenkins shortly after, a spokeswoman with the Dallas Police Department said. While the police report lists the offense as an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Jenkins was arrested for driving while intoxicated because Munoz’s injuries were only minor, she said.

Jenkins has since been released from the Dallas County Jail, according to jail records.

—  Dallasvoice

Metro offers free bus rides on New Years Eve

Maybe there is such a thing as a free ride. Houston Metro is offering free bus and train fares starting at 6 pm New Years Eve and continuing through 6 am on New Years Day. Metro explains via press release that it “wants to help individuals celebrating the arrival of the New Year a safe option to get home rather than getting behind the wheel.”

As a bonus, the light rail is free on Sunday since it’s a game day, so if you are downtown and need to go to Reliant stadium, or at Reliant and need to go downtown, you’re set.

So when midnight rolls around on the 31st and it’s time to head home remember you have options. A DWI is a horrible way to start the new year.

—  admin

Help Tarrant DA’s office help a family in need

The Castro-Martinez family: father Joel, mother Avigail, and sons Joel and Eliel

Just a little more than a year ago life changed irrevocably for Joel Castro-Mares, Avigail Martinez-Baez and their two sons, Joel and Eliel. Now, employees of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office want to do something to help  this family that can no longer help themselves. And you can help, too.

A little more than a year ago, Avigail was expecting her and Joel’s third child. Their daughter, who would be named Genesis, was going to be born any minute. About 2 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2010, in need of some last-minute supplies, Joel and Avigail put their sons into the family’s Chrysler Sebring, and the family headed to the store.

But as they passed through an intersection on McCart Avenue, on Fort Worth’s south side, a drunk driver in an SUV ran a red light and slammed broadside into the family’s car. The drunk driver then fled the scene, but a Fort Worth Police officer who saw the accident was able to give his fellow officers enough information about the SUV that they were able to track down the driver while the first officer stayed at the scene of the accident with the gravely injured family of four.

When officers found the drunken driver at his home, he first tried to run out the back door. When they caught him, he sang the theme song to the TV show COPS as they handcuffed him and put in the police car.

Meanwhile, the members of the Castro-Martinez family were clinging to life – except for Genesis, the family’s as-yet unborn daughter. Her life was ended before it even had a chance to begin. She was killed in the crash.

The two young boys suffered serious injuries. Joel had fractured ribs and several lacerations. Eliel suffered a laceration to his liver. Their father Joel was so severely injured that he was unable to work for six months after the accident.

But Avigail was the surviving family member with the most serious injuries. Not only did she lose her unborn daughter, she suffered bleeding in her brain and in her lungs, and spent six months on life support — unresponsive and unaware of anything going on around her. Now, Avigail remains confined to a wheelchair, and she will be for the rest of her life, unable to care for herself or her family.

So this year, the employees of the Tarrant County DA’s office are adopting the Castro-Martinez family in an effort to give them a special Christmas. A statement from the DA’s office explained: “We want to help make their life a little easier by taking care of some of their important necessities” like a new wheelchair for Avigail, making their house wheelchair accessible, installing a shower chair and railings for Avigail and helping out with groceries.

“We also want to give the Castro-Martinez family a special Christmas,” the statement continued. “Our plan includes putting up a Christmas tree and lights and buying gifts for the two boys.”

And here’s where the rest of us come in. The DA’s Office is looking for donations — donations of in-kind items, like a new wheelchair, shower chair and shower railings for Avigail; cash donations that can be used to purchase necessities for the family, and donations of time and effort from people willing to help repairs and upgrades to the family’s home. Here’s the list of needed items:

In addition to a wheelchair, shower chair and shower railings, Avigail needs adult diapers, size medium, and sweat pants and sweat shirts, size small. Joel the father needs pants in a size 34 waist, and XL shirts. The children, Joel and Eliel, need pants in children’s sizes 5 and 6, shoes in children’s sizes 10 and 12 and jackets in children’s sizes 5 and 7. The DA’s Office also wants to be able to donate toys for the two boys for Christmas. Joel, now 5, asked Santa for a Nintendo Wii or an Xbox game system. Eliel, who is 4, asked Santa for a bike. They both said they like playing with cars and trucks.

I know that we have plenty of people here in our own LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities that need our help this holiday season. I am not saying we should ignore them. But I just think we should remember that we don’t have to restrict ourselves to just helping our own. When you get right down to it, we’re all in this together, after all.

But in the end, I guess, it doesn’t matter WHO you help. What matters is THAT you helped. And if you want to help the Tarrant County DA’s Office in helping the Castro-Martinez family, you can do that by dropping off in-kind donations in the conference room of the DA’s office’s third floor misdemeanor section, 401 W. Belknap, or by contacting Ashlea Deener by email at abdeener@tarrantcounty.com or Bryan Hoeller by email at bphoeller@tarrantcounty.com to make a cash donation or to volunteer to help with repairs.

—  admin

Another anti-gay Republican gets caught with his hand in the gay cookie jar

KOVR-TV, a local news station in Sacramento, is reporting today that a another anti-gay Republican has been caught red-handed, so to speak, in a compromising situation that calls his own sexual orientation into question.

royashburn_1Sen. Roy Ashburn, who represents parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernadino counties in Southern California, was arrested early Wednesday morning, March 3, for driving drunk in Sacramento after officers with the California Highway Patrol saw his black Chevy Tahoe swerving down the street. Ashburn was driving.

Police reports indicated Ashburn had just left a gay bar called Faces. KOVR-TV said Ashburn immediately identified himself to the officers as a state senator. The station also said Ashburn had another man in the car with him, but that this man “was not identified as a lawmaker.” He was not detained.

Ashburn, a married father of four, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon in which he apologized and acknowledged that there was “no excuse for my poor judgment.”

He said: “I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have those who support and trust me — my family, my constituents, my friends and my colleages in the Senate.”

—  admin