DUI Among Charges for Chain Reaction Crash in Temecula

Parts of Southern California are notorious for bad traffic. Unfortunately, this also means that these places see a lot of crashes.

On Tuesday, June 4th, the 15 Freeway in Temecula shut down for hours after a multi-car crash occurred. A total of six vehicles got caught in a high-speed chain reaction around 7:30 a.m. A 2011 Chevrolet Silverado slammed into a 2015 Nissan Altima at high speed, reportedly moving at around 100 mph. Then, the Altima collided into a 2015 Chevy Tahoe, a 2017 Tesla Model S, a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, and a 2017 Toyota Camry. The pickup was sent veering and crashed into the side of the Temecula City Hall parking structure just off the freeway.

In the aftermath, the Altima was left unrecognizable and the driver was reported to have died at the scene. Police identified the driver as Janet Genao of Murrieta. In addition, the accident caused two major injuries and two minor injuries for the other drivers.

The driver who started the chain reaction was identified as Javier Caldera of Auburn, Washington. In the video footage, Caldera can be seen driving at full-speed on the freeway during slow traffic before impact. After his vehicle ended up by the median, he apparently tried to escape until he collapsed onto the grass.

Since the crash, Caldera has been charged with second-degree murder and driving under the influence of drugs. According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Caldera possibly faces life in prison if convicted of the charges filed.

Bail was originally set at $1 million dollars, but the judge revoked bail after further consideration. Prosecution had found out that Caldera had a previous DUI conviction in Washington and a felony attempt to elude. In addition, the prosecutors asked to reschedule the arraignment. They argued that Caldera was a danger to the community as well as a flight risk.

The arraignment is currently scheduled for June 18th.

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A Movement to Decriminalize “Shrooms”

Recently, Denver became the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin, or what is commonly known as “magic”. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance that often causes the user to experience euphoria, a distorted sense of time, and changes in heart rate.

It didn’t take very long for other cities to follow suit; Oakland decriminalized the magic mushrooms just a few days ago. Furthermore, there will be a City Council vote on whether law enforcement should stop prosecuting individuals who use or possess drugs sourced from the mushrooms. The discussion will focus only on the use of psychedelics from plants, and not man-made substances such as LSD. In addition, the regulations will not prevent the actual movement of its sale or creation of dispensaries.

In support of psilocybin, advocates reference its use by various cultures throughout history. Its usage ranges from spiritual quests to therapeutic support for mental health issues such as PTSD. Also, the supporters stress that law enforcement will be able to better focus on higher priority issues. They hope to be able to send the initiative to the state ballot in 2020.

In light of this initiative, it will be interesting to see how law enforcement will adjust its impairment standards accordingly. The number of arrests for mushrooms is fairly low as compared to other drugs. However, California, for example, is already facing issues with its standards for THC. It is important that enforcements be made appropriately in this situation. There might be some difficulty in changing a system that was originally made to keep certain drug users out of jail.

Granted, I am no science expert. I can’t say that I understand how impairment is determined. However, my understanding is that onsite sobriety tests and breathalyzers can only give general information. Further blood or urine tests are the only ways to actually determine what drug is in a person’s system. So, if a person is using mushrooms recreationally, will there be an efficient way to single out psilocybin use versus LSD?

We are already seeing problems with the legalization of THC without proper legal precautions established. Because of these problems, things are moving quite slowly. I would hate to see people get caught in legal loopholes created from a system not yet ready to handle the situation.

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DUI Prevention Technology May Cause Car Crashes

The point of DUI interventions is to create a safe driving experience for everyone – whether you are the one on the road or not. However, what happens when a device meant to save lives is harming them instead?

Over the past few years, there have been complaints about ignition interlock systems causing drivers to get distracted while driving. Unfortunately, some of these distractions have led to car accidents. The main issue with this situation is that the system is meant to prevent the risk of people driving while intoxicated. By analyzing the driver’s breath, the ignition interlock device determines if the driver has ingested any alcohol. The car can only start after the system has verified that the driver hasn’t been drinking. Throughout the drive, the interlock will administer random breath tests and can disable the vehicle until the driver passes the test.

Utilizing the breath test function can be quite dangerous. Like Sheila Dunn of the National Motorist Association stated, “…any time you have a system that requires you to do something while you’re driving is a bad system, because it is distracted driving.” For some versions of the device, drivers have to take their eyes off of the road in order to complete the test. Much like using a cellphone while driving, even the slightest distraction can lead to an unfortunate situation. In 2017, a Texan woman was pulling out of her driveway when she was hit by a man trying to use the interlock device. Unfortunately, she passed away due to her injuries. It appears that more safeguards or instructions need to be included for the device.

In addition, there is the possibility that the technology could read a false positive or interpret other alcohol-containing compounds as an alcoholic beverage. Substances such as gum or fruit juice contain components that end in ‘-ol’, components that are classified as alcohols. As of this year, ignition interlock devices are considered mandatory for first time DUI offenders and repeat offenders in California. If measures like this are to be taken, more consideration needs to be made towards all forms of risk.

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DUI Checkpoints Expected for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s a day to honor those who have passed, visiting their graves and holding family gatherings. Now, it is also synonymous with the beginning of the summer season, with big picnics and family barbecues. People also tend to crack out bottles of beer and other types of alcohol to celebrate.

As with most holiday weekends, one should expect to see an increase in police presence of the three-day weekend. There’ll be various DUI checkpoints stationed around the area, with some checkpoints appearing before the weekend starts.

For Memorial weekend, it is important to remember that caution and safety are of priority. It is okay to enjoy other’s company and toss back some drinks with your friends. However, it would also be a good idea to avoid overindulging. Plan your events accordingly.

Some things you could do are pick designated drivers and figure out with whom to carpool. You can also use one of the rideshare options that are available. Or if you are determined to drive yourself, make sure to drink responsibly and exercise caution when deciding to get back on the road. If you’ve had a couple drinks, give yourself a few hours and get sober before getting behind the wheel.

In order to protect the public, there will likely quite a few police officers on the road for this coming weekend. If you want to practice caution, it would be safe to consider the options stated above.

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Holiday!

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Three Dead, One Injured in Parked Trailer Crash

One of the scariest things that can happen in car crashes is having a car crash into your home when you are sleeping. Being inside your home is supposed to invoke a sense of privacy and protection – that nothing could go wrong. It is during times like these when we are at our most vulnerable.

During the night of May 4th, a family in Knight Landing was faced with a nightmare. Around 9:50 p.m., a 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche crashed into the parked trailer in which the family of four slept. According to California Highway Patrol, Ismael Huazo-Jardinez drove his truck at a high speed and “failed to negotiate the ‘S’ curve”. This caused his vehicle to swerve off road and collide into the trailer, stationed in an agricultural community. Only the 11-year-old child survived from the family. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital for his serious injuries. The family has not been identified yet, however, the landlord of the trailer shared that the parents were farmworkers.

Officers arrested Huazo-Jardinez on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. He was transported to an emergency room to treat his injuries.

According to Sutter County Undersheriff Scott Smallwood, Huazo-Jardinez is now facing charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony driving under the influence of alcohol.

Huazo-Jardinez is scheduled to be back in court on June 10th.

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