By on December 30, 2016

coffee while driving (bluemini/Flickr)

Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.

A driver who was charged for driving under the influence — even though a blood test revealed only caffeine — won’t have to enter a courtroom to plead his innocence. That, a gas station attendant takes the Florida Woman meme and runs with it (into another woman’s car), and Canadian heavy truck drivers just refuse to lower their beds while on the highway.

police car

Blood is Thicker than Coffee

As reported last week, a Fairfield, California man was pulled over for allegedly driving erratically and slapped with a DUI charge, even though there were no illegal drugs in his system. In fact, the only chemical found in Joseph Schawb’s bloodstream was something you’re unlikely to not find in any blood test — caffeine. Police found exercise powders containing caffeine in the vehicle, but nothing else. (The powders are legal to own.)

After the first test failed to bear legal fruit, the cops sent the blood to a second lab in an attempt to find subtle traces of something, but to no avail. Still, the charge laid by the Solano County district attorney stuck, and Schawb spent 18 months preparing for trial. Well, until today.

KCRA reports that the DA’s office has dropped the charge due to lack of evidence. While Schawb, who was returning home from a long day at work at the time of his arrest, is now off the hook, the DA isn’t buying his innocence. Krishna Abrams maintains that she still believes Schawb was under the influence of a drug that existing testing equipment couldn’t pick up.

Never Quibble Over a Receipt in Florida

pumping gas

Where else but Florida, really?

A disagreement over the price of a fill-up at a Riviera Beach gas station ended in stereotypical fashion Wednesday night, after the attendant repeatedly rammed her own vehicle into the customer’s car.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the accused, Lil’Belinda Beckles, was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. In this case, it was a loaded Toyota. The customer, Symone Sheppard, had returned to the station to protest being overcharged on a $14 top-up. After Sheppard spoke to the station’s manager on Beckles’ cellphone, the attendant allegedly grew agitated when the customer said she’d have to wait for police to arrive before returning the phone.

According to the police report, that made Beckles reach for the tire iron. After smashing Sheppard’s passenger-side window — and slapping her — Beckles gave chase to the customer when she attempted to escape in her vehicle. The attendant allegedly rammed the customer 10 to 15 times during the pursuit, which responding cops put a lid on. Still, the drama wasn’t over.

The report states that during Beckles’ interrogation, Sheppard walked up to her alleged attacked and slapped her. $14 of gas, folks.

afghan_hino_dump_truck (Wikimedia)

Bed Action in Toronto

Canada’s busiest, most notorious highway doesn’t need any extra roadblocks, but a speeding dump truck left a sizable one yesterday.

The truck, with bed fully raised, was caught on video cruising down the normally bumper-to-bumper Highway 401 in Toronto. And it continued to cruise, even after the bed contacted a highway overpass. Never has a dump truck deposited a load so quickly. While the driver faces charges related to the incident, booze didn’t play a factor, police say. No one was injured.

This isn’t the first time a raised truck bed has wreaked havoc on a Golden Horseshoe highway. Two years ago, another truck tried its best to take down the upper supports of the Burlington Skyway, with impressive results.

[Image: bluemini/Flickr (CC BY 2.o)]

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35 Comments on “Freaky Friday: ‘Impaired’ Caffeine User Gets a Break from California Authorities...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    You downplay the malfeasance of the petty bureaucrat responsible for the caffeine charge.

    The petty bureaucrat in her unmarked car from the department of alcoholic beverage control decided she was offended because she thought he cut her off. Therefore, she wasted 18 months of this man’s life and uncounted resources of the People’s Republic of California because she was an angry woman who had friends in local government. He passed the breathalyzer she administered on site. Still, she arrested him. Then, they drew blood. California couldn’t find anything. So, California shipped the blood to Pennsylvania, where, being told they had to find some drug – any drug – they found caffeine.

    And they held this man hostage for 18 months of his life because nobody could tell the agent who overstepped, “Buck up, buttercup, and let it go.”

    At least the prosecutrix gave it up, although she still wants to cling to this idea that there is something, anything that they can find to prove that the original aggrieved petty bureaucrat from the booze bureau wasn’t wrong. It is yet one more story of rotten local government run by friends who circle the wagon instead of moving on from a mistake.

    EDIT: And, yes, it should be repeated every single time this story comes up.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      And now the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for a quite substantial judgement I’d imagine. WTF thought it was a good idea to make ABC employees sworn officers anyway?

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Their public sector union probably lobbied for them to be sworn officers to get higher pay and lower full pension retirement ages (e.g. 50 instead of 55) than government administrators would get.

        It is somewhat amusing that poorly educated people’s fake fears have made them support increased fascism, e.g. this abuse of power due to deference to law enforcement officers and prosecutors, which actually poses a threat to their lives and liberty.

        Not that liberals are clean either, with their deference to all public sector unions. Really only the libertarians are right on law enforcement and the police/prison industrial complex. If only they could stop fat people with their shirts off from dancing on the stage at their conventions.

        • 0 avatar
          doublechili

          Lest the implication be taken that this kind of thing is limited to garden variety criminal matters, let’s not forget the ever-increasing maze of administrative regulatory enforcement, both federal and state. Things that sound good in theory can tend to get mucked up by that pesky old human nature….

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “the police/prison industrial complex.”

          We’re a little short on growth industries just now…

    • 0 avatar

      Many states have the rule that if you are a “sworn officer” you can pretty much charge anything, even if you aren’t that kind of cop. Here in NY, Environmental Protection police around reservoirs began to write traffic tickets and DWI cases…which isn’t related to keeping the water clean and managing hunters in the area, but the Courts said anyone sworn can charge….I guess CA is thesame.

      This is clearly some sort of Woad Wage incident, where one of the parties had a badge.

      Getting into the system is easy. Getting out is a lot tougher, and there is almost never any penalty to a Law Enforcement Officer for a bad case absent provable physical abuse. Most police will write you up and toss you over the wall to the Courts, never seeing or dealing with you even again. If a case goes to trial (2% of the time) you’ll see them on the stand and that’s it.
      DA’s and Defense attorneys know some cops are more credible than others, but that doesn’t mean the DA won’t process it like all the others.
      This Administrative Law cop got exactly what she wanted…to jam up the other driver….and no, probably nothing will happen to her, and no, no one is paying the legal fees of the defendant-and a large percentage would have taken some plea to be out of the system, at which point all police malfeasance is magically washed away.

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        For a while in West Virginia I lived so far out in the sticks I was more likely to see a Division of Natural Resources officer than a “regular” cop. And I was fine with them having the same powers as a State Police officer. I don’t know why you would not like a similar officer in NY busting drunk drivers.

        • 0 avatar

          The local PD were put out that the DEP cops were “on their property”, and DEP cops aren’t normally considered road patrol. I personally have no issue with the patrolling or arrests, but the case made it all the way to NY’s highest Court for determination, so I followed it in the legal journals.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      The bureaucrat, the bureaucrat’s supervisor, and the prosecutor all felt the need to move forward with the case.

      Chances are, the suspect did more than just cut someone off. They were likely a terror on the road, followed with extreme behavior. Just because some test couldn’t produce a specific number, doesn’t mean this person shouldn’t be behind bars.

      Anyone know where the police report is? I’d love to see it. Who knows, I might wind up eating crow.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Not a police report, but taken from http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/fairfield/solano-da-disputes-defense-claim-that-dui-case-involves-caffeine/

        “The ABC agent saw the driver weaving in and out of traffic and almost cause several collisions Aug. 5, 2015, the District Attorney’s Office said, and the agent stopped the car driven by Schwab, who was described as highly agitated, ‘amped up’ and with pupils that were dilated.”

        “The agent noticed workout supplements in the vehicle and administered standardized field sobriety tests to determine impairment, the District Attorney’s Office said. She believed Schwab was too impaired to drive, the District Attorney’s Office said.”

        Crazy person on the road, not your simplistic “cut off the agent” assertion. Personally, I’d rather have a person charged based on their behavior, than a number from a machine.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          This.

          Perp/DA:

          photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/California-prosecutor-1000×532.jpg

          Can’t find a pic of “Agent Ott”, the “angry woman who had friends in local government”.

        • 0 avatar

          “I’d rather have a person charged based on their behavior, than a number from a machine.”

          So charge them for their behavior, reckless driving, not some kind of trumped up charge.

          It’s still a case of her word against his.

          In a democratic republic, should the law accord more credibility to the testimony of state agents than to that of a regular person?

          There is some uplifting news, SEIU, a corrupt, influence peddling organization imitating a public employee labor union, has announced it will be cutting its budget this year by 30%.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            For those who don’t speak alt right, I’ll translate: “corrupt, influence peddling organization” does NOT mean Trump charity. On the contrary, it means union representing working Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            #triggered.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Government employees are hardly workers. These groups help teachers get away with molesting students and watching porn at work and help cops get away with rape and theft. They steal from private sector workers and endorse regressive sales and property taxes along with government thug revenue generators like casinos.

            Trump was endorsed by a number of the country’s largest public sector unions, which shows the mentality they share.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “Government employees are hardly workers. These groups help teachers get away with molesting students and watching porn at work and help cops get away with rape and theft. They steal from private sector workers and endorse regressive sales and property taxes along with government thug revenue generators like casinos.”

            *phew*
            That’s not work?

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Ronnie: “So charge them for their behavior, reckless driving, not some kind of trumped up charge.”

            Works for me, but ditto for drunk driving. BAC is just a number and may not represent the person’s behavior.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            racer-esq “They steal from private sector workers and endorse regressive sales and property taxes along with government thug revenue generators like casinos.”

            Legislators make that happen, the ones you vote into office. Executive branch workers generally hate legislators too. Grouping all government workers together shows a lack of understanding as to what’s really going on.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Zekas

            Many drugs, including LSD, are out of your system quickly, and won’t show up on blood tests. This is why driving behaviour is just as important as testing.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      No one in the “system” is inclined to “do the right thing” in this matter. There are far too many rice bowls that need filling in the justice system to allow someone, rightly or wrongly, to escape the system once they’ve been snagged into it. Those rice bowls will continue to stay full the longer an alleged miscreant remains trapped in the system.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I wonder if that Canadian dump trick driver was high on Timmy’s.

  • avatar
    IAhawkeye

    For me, I’m always worried about how I drive WITHOUT caffeine. I try not to be forced to do it, but some extra early mornings you don’t have much choice. My brain definitely doesn’t enjoy it.

    “Exercise Powders” aka pre-workout, I’m not a user of them as part of my workout routine so I’m completely biased. Having said that, not only are they not necessary, but they also totally over do it. Usually have a minimum of 200mg of caffeine per scoop, some newer ones I saw at the supplement store having 450mg of caffeine, and most people take more then once scoop. Not to mention the other “ingredients”. It’s no wonder he couldn’t drive straight.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I enjoyed the link given here a while ago : floridaMan.com or something like that .
    .
    Apparently too much orange juice does weirdness to one’s brains .
    .
    BTW : that Coffee Cozy is one of the very few I’d ever buy ~ get buttons with wider thread holes and position them correctly in “X” so it looks dead ~ perfect =8-) .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.”

    Nah.

    ==========

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Bits of it here and there where the yuppies and millenials haven’t stamped it out yet .
      .
      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Well, we don’t have mandatory inspections for autos–though sometimes I wish we did, given the appearance of some vehicles–and not having to get my older cars smogged is a benefit, to be sure (thank you Governor Wilson).

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “we don’t have mandatory inspections for autos–though sometimes I wish we did” (California) .
        .

        No kidding ! .
        .
        @ the main P.A.P.D. garage by buddy used to do the post collision inspections and the bald tires, loose ball joints, metal to metal brake shoes/pads and so on would make your hair stand on end .
        .
        -Nate

  • avatar
    LuvGermanCars

    Paul Frank’s VW Phaeton. RIP failed Luxobarge…

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Uh, is Lil’Belinda the gas jockey’s legal name or just her nom de rap?

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Where’s TTAC?

    New Year’s is over and Islander Day isn’t till next month.


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