Everyone who has a drink and takes to the road is at risk of being arrested for driving under the influence. Being arrested for a DUI affects people from all walks of life, even those who drive our kids to school, and the same police who are charged with enforcing the law. Two recent DUI cases highlight the wide variety of professions affected by DUI arrests.
In Massachusetts last month, police in Hopkinton were called with a report of a possible drunk driver. However, this call came from inside a school bus. A coach on the bus was apparently concerned about the safety of the students on the bus. After the bus was pulled over by police, the driver was arrested and charged with operating the vehicle under the influence.
The school bus driver, 59-year-old Robert E. Murphy, was no stranger to DUI charges, as this was his third drunk driving arrest. According to Hopkinton Police, the bus was on its way back to the school, returning from a cross-country meet in Cape Cod on a Saturday night with 25 students in tow. The police received the call from the coach at about 10:30 pm. The coach indicated Murphy was taking the wrong exit, and when asked why, Murphy allegedly said, “Crap, I don't know.”
Prosecutor Nate Burris said during the man's arraignment, “he was going slow, then fast. One witness said driving between 45 mph and 70 mph. He ran three red lights and was driving on the rumble strips.”
According to police, when the bus was pulled over, the driver allegedly said to police, “You got me.” When police were testing Murphy for sobriety, Prosecutor Burris indicated the driver said, “this is really bad. This could be a good thing. I think I need this.”
Parents are understandably disturbed. One parent questioned how someone could be a school bus driver with a DUI on their record. However, Murphy's previous arrest came in the 1980s, and the state's Criminal Offender Record Information only goes back five-years. According to parent, Ken Mokler, “I think they should look at the entire history of a driver's record.”
Generally, it is the police who enforce drunk driving laws. However, on some occasions it is the police themselves who fall afoul of these laws. In this case, a newly sworn-in police officer of the Garfield police department in New Jersey is facing drunk driving charges.
The 22-year-old Patrick R. Sajewicz is accused of driving drunk and crashing his car into a building, only eight-days after he was sworn in as a police officer. He has been charged with assault by auto, driving while intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving and careless motor vehicle operation causing property destruction.
On October 20, Sajewicz was arrested following an investigation by the Chester Borough Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. He was allegedly driving a 2014 Infinity on October 15, lost control of the car, and crashed into a building. His passenger was reported to be injured in the accident.
According to Sajewicz, he is innocent and plans to plead not guilty. He has not been suspended from the Garfield police department, but police report they are conducting an internal investigation.