VIDEO: An Arlington Heights police officer cut off the ignition of a Honda Civic driven by an impaired driver before the vehicle entered the Dundee Road and Kennicott Avenue intersection Friday during a rush hour with snow and ice (Police intervention is at 3:15 elapsed time).
Impaired driver and innocent motorists rescued by Arlington Heights police officer before impaired driver’s vehicle reaches busy intersection.
A driver that was rescued by an Arlington Heights police officer last Friday before he drifted into cross traffic on Dundee Road at Kennicott Avenue has been charged with DUI/Alcohol, DUI/Drugs, DUI/Intoxicating Compound, Improper Traffic Lane Usage and Unlawful Stopping/Standing/Parking.
Arlington Heights police responded about 5:37 p.m. Friday to a make-your-own case call after an impaired driver was reported possibly DUI on westbound University Drive and then northbound Kennicott Avenue.
The driver was first observed by another motorist running a red light, traveling from eastbound Hintz Road to northbound Arlington Heights Road. The driver made a wide turn hitting the Arlington Heights Road median just north of Hintz Road. The vehicle, a Honda Civic, was driven down the center lane markers between the curb lane and the center lane of Arlington Heights Road. The driver then began to bounce off the curb and slowed to a stop, then immediately started again to proceed northbound on Arlington Heights Road.
Next the driver turned left to proceed westbound on University Drive and again bouncing off the curb. The driver came to the T-intersection at University Drive and Kennicott Avenue, blowing the stop sign and heading straight through the intersection until almost hitting the curb. The driver then made a hard right and traveled northbound in the southbound lane of Kennicott Avenue. The driver almost hit a southbound vehicle, but passed it on the southbound vehicle’s passenger side. The driver continued north on Kennicott Avenue in the southbound lane and almost hit another southbound car head-on. The driver of the Honda Civic passed the southbound vehicle on the driver’s side and continued northbound after traveling an S-curve on the wrong side of the road. After the S-curve, the driver returned to the northbound lanes of Kennicott Avenue and stopped behind the brake lights of vehicles waiting in the left turn lane of northbound Kennicott Avenue to westbound Dundee Road.
When the traffic signal turned green, the line of cars proceeded. The driver of the Honda Civic did not advance — leaving about four or five car-lengths in front of him to the Dundee Road intersection. The driver then advanced slowly and came to a stop again. When the driver appeared to be unresponsive to the traffic signal, the witness called 9-1-1 again to report that the driver appeared to have lost consciousness and requested paramedics.
The impaired driver then advanced again, and began to pass the crosswalk. Cross traffic on Dundee Road, which moves at about 40-50 mph, began to sound their horns at the driver of the Honda Civic. An Arlington Heights police arrived and immediately opened the door of the vehicle and reached for the car to turn off the engine by the key/ignition switch. Paramedics arrived less than a minute later, and transferred the male driver to the ambulance.
The driver was transported to Northwest Community Hospital where a workup was determining whether he was medically impaired or DUI.
View DUI on Video 3-2-2012 in a larger map
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Reasonable Suspicion to Investigate A Driver for DUI
Driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that mental or motor skills are impaired is illegal in all jurisdictions in the United States. There are several traffic situations when a police officer comes into contact with a driver, and then follows procedures which lead to a DUI arrest:
- The driver has been involved in an automobile accident and the officer has responded to the accident scene and is conducting an investigation.
- The driver has been stopped at a sobriety checkpoint (also known as roadblocks).
- The police have received a report, possibly via 9-1-1 from an anonymous citizen, that a driver appears to be DUI. The police officer usually verifies the erratic driving before makeing the traffic stop.
- The patrol officer has observed erratic, suspicious driving, or a series of traffic infractions indicating the possibility that the driver may be impaired. This is by far the most common reason for stopping a suspect.
- A police officer has stopped a vehicle for a lesser traffic offense and notices the signs of intoxication.
The following list of DUI symptoms, from a publication issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS-805-711), is widely used in training officers to detect drunk drivers. After each symptom is a percentage figure which, according to NHTSA, indicates the statistical chances (%) through research, that a driver is over the legal limit.
- Turning with wide radius, 65
- Straddling center or lane marker, 65
- Appearing to be drunk, 60
- Almost striking object or vehicle, 60
- Weaving, 60
- Driving on other than designated roadway, 55
- Swerving, 55
- Slow speed (more than 10mph below limit), 50
- Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane, 50
- Drifting, 50
- Following too closely, 45
- Tires on center or land marker, 45
- Braking erratically, 45
- Driving into opposing or crossing traffic, 45
- Signaling inconsistent with driving actions, 40
- Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane), 35
- Turning abruptly or illegally, 35
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly, 30
- Headlights off, 30
If the officer observes enough to have a reasonable suspicion to legally justify a further detention and investigation, he will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle.
Reasonable suspicion requires less evidence than probable cause, but more than a mere hunch. A rule of thumb is that reasonable suspicion requires 25 % proof, and probable cause requires more than 50 % statistical chance. Therefore, if there is probable cause for arrest for DWI, as suggested by the research and examples used above, then there is reasonable suspicion to stop a driver.
A police officer typically approaches the driver’s side window and asks some preliminary questions. During this phase of the traffic stop the officer will note if they detect any of the following indicators of intoxication
- odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver’s breath or in the car generally
- slurred speech in response to the questioning
- watery, blood shot, and/or reddish eyes
- flushed face
- droopy eyelids
- difficulty in understanding and responding intelligently to question
- fumbling with his or her driver’s license and registration
- the plain-view presence of containers of alcoholic beverages in the vehicle.
- admission of consumption of alcoholic beverage