Woman Arrested Again After Only Weeks on Parole

Some people don’t seem to learn from their mistakes, and it’s quite unfortunate. Even though we often want to give people the benefit of the doubt, not everyone is able to make the best of their situations. A second chance should be used wisely and carefully, but not everyone get the memo.

Last month, Obdulia Sanchez was arrested for a vehicle violation and weapons charge. On October 17th, officers attempted to pull her vehicle over for the violation, but she refused. A short pursuit ensued. According to the Stockton Police Department Facebook page, an announcement stated that the “driver failed to negotiate a turn and drove the car off the roadway near the I-5 on ramp at March Ln.” It goes on to point out that a male passenger ran out of the car and was able to escape during the incident. Afterwards, the police took Sanchez into custody without further issues. They found a loaded firearm inside the vehicle.

Only a few weeks prior, Sanchez had been released on parole after having served time for a 2017 DUI crash that killed her younger sister, Jacqueline Sanchez Estrada. This particular case drew media attention due to the fact that Sanchez had been livestreaming just before the crash as well as around her sister’s death from the crash.

At the time of her release, there was a bit of an uproar as she had only served about 26 months out of her six-year and four-month sentence.

There are no further reports stating if she had any substance violations with this arrest. Considering she was still on parole, the decisions she made this time do not give us much hope that she will stay out of trouble. Seems she still has a lot to learn from her mistakes.

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DUI Among California Law Enforcement, Problem or Just Being Human?

Sometimes, it can be easy to forget that law enforcement officers are humans too. We shouldn’t forget that when things that can be categorized as human error come up in court. Granted, officers are in a position of authority that makes it more important for them to be vigilant in their work. They have to make sure that the possibility of human error is reduced as much as possible.

But, what about risky behavior? I’m not talking about risking their lives to save others “risky” behavior. What I am referring to is the endangering others kind of “risky” behavior.

According to an article by Bay Area News Group, “reporters from the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism obtained a list of criminal convictions from the past decade of nearly 12,000 current or former law enforcement officers and people who applied to be in law enforcement.”

Close to half of the convictions were for DUI or related cases. In a way, this statistic both distresses and relieves me. It distresses me in that most of the time, officers were getting caught for being under the influence – when they spend a significant amount of time trying to prevent civilians from driving drunk. The article doesn’t specify if these incidents occurred during duty hours or off-duty. However, it also is a relief to know that most policemen were not caught doing anything more criminal than your run-of-the-mill DUI. Those were dangerous and reckless decisions, but fortunately did not result in great danger.

During the investigation, other questionable behavior and conduct by those surrounding the officers have come to attention. Reports of officers keeping their jobs after causing a crash with injury or fleeing the scene of the crime doesn’t seem right. It is not acceptable.

As much as I believe in second changes, aren’t law enforcement officers supposed to be held to a higher standard of conduct?

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New CHP Campaign to Fight Impaired Driving

Throughout the year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration focuses much of their attention on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. However, their efforts do not end there. They also provide various grants to agencies that offer their support to the campaign. The California Office of Traffic Safety was one of the lucky few to receive such a grant.

Using this money, the OTS and the California Highway Patrol are partnering up to start a new campaign aimed at reducing the number of impaired driving related crashes. They will do so by increasing enforcement and advocating more educational opportunities about traffic safety. According to CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley, “reducing impaired driving through education and enforcement remains a high priority for the CHP.”

This joint effort, known as the California Impaired Driving Reduction (CIDR) campaign, started on October 1, 2019, and is scheduled to continue through September 30, 2020.

The campaign will help to fund and conduct traffic safety classes, with the aim of making sure the public is better educated about the risks of impaired driving. It will also fund additional DUI patrols and checkpoints. The hope is that, by educating the public about the risks, they will be better able to make smart decisions about drinking and driving – that is, to say no.

The official CHP press release stated, “The CHP continues to encourage the public to have a plan before getting on the road. In addition to alcohol, driving under the influence of cannabis, medications, and/or drugs is illegal and dangerous. Always designate a sober driver, take public transportation, or ride-share. There is always a better option than getting behind the wheel while impaired.

Also, the CHP would like to remind the public to call 9-1-1 if they suspect that someone is driving while drunk. The dispatcher will ask about a location, direction of travel, and a description of the vehicle – so be prepared.

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Gun Rights and DUI Collide

Recent years have seen an increased focus on gun rights in the news as gun violence appears to have increased in frequency. In light of this, California is considering a new bill – Senate Bill 55 – which would revoke a person’s right to own a gun for 10 years if they have been convicted of two or three alcohol-related misdemeanors within the past three years. The number of convictions would be dependent on the type of offense with which the person was being charged.

Part of the push for this bill comes from a recent study about DUIs. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the report found that there may be some correlation between DUI and gun ownership. Out of about 80,000 legal gun purchasers in California, those with prior convictions of DUI were 2.5 times more likely than those with no DUI conviction to be arrested on suspicion of a more serious crime such as murder and robbery. When the convictions were expanded to include slightly less violent crimes such as harassment, the study found that they were three times more likely to have been arrested.

Back in 2013, then-Governor Jerry Brown had vetoed a similar bill, stating that he was “not persuaded that it is necessary to bar gun ownership on the basis of crimes that are non-felonies, non-violent, and do not involve misuse of a firearm.” The JAMA study offers the bill supporters a potential connection between gun ownership and history of drunk driving convictions.

However, the study does not substantiate that there is a direct link between alcohol use and gun violence. Rather than suggesting that alcohol is the culprit behind gun violence, the study suggests that many people “who engage in risky behavior involving alcohol will also engage in the kinds of risky behavior that endanger other people’ lives.” Especially when it comes to heavy drinking and gun access, impaired judgment can make it more likely for someone to act out.

Still, it is important that legislators and commenters understand that they are walking a very thin line. Prior DUI convictions seem to be a better predictor of future violence when compared with non-alcohol related misdemeanors. Recall the movie “Minority Report,” where law enforcement officers arrested people before they actually committed an offense. If you’ve seen the film, think about how the protagonist spent so much time trying to change the predicted outcome.

Is it worth putting a limit on human rights (remember there is a “right to bear arms”) in order to proactively prevent violent acts? Will we eventually come up with a formula that accurately predicts who is more likely to commit more violent acts? It’ll certainly be a tough time figuring that out.

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Homeless Woman Killed in her Sleep by Drunk Driver

Early Monday morning, a black Dodge Challenger crashed into a white Mazda SUV and a black Toyota Prius in Santa Rosa, California. The accident took place around 3 a.m. near the intersection at Hoen Avenue and Cypress Way. Unfortunately, a homeless woman and her dog were killed in the three-car collision.

Police suspect that the driver had been speeding when he hit into a telephone pole and then into the Mazda, pushing it into the front yard of a house nearby. Then, the driver crashed into a Prius parked a bit farther down from the car.

A female passenger, later identified as Kellie Nora Michelle of Santa Rose, and her dog had been in the Mazda at the time of the accident. It is assumed that they were living out of her car for some time and had been sleeping when the Challenger hit into it. They were reported dead at the scene. The Prius was luckily unoccupied.

The driver of the Challenger was Angel Ivan Martinez of Santa Rosa and, according to police reports, he showed signs of intoxication. Investigators determined that Martinez had been under the influence during the incident. After being treated for minor injuries, he was arrested for vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence and for DUI as well.

The vehicles were completely totaled and a power line got hit, causing some areas to lose power. As a result, over 500 people were affected by the outage.

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