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Archive 1995 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

DRUNKEN DRIVER GETS 20 YEARS \ VICTIMS’ FAMILIES ARE PLEASED AT TERM FOR PETERSON, WHO LED POLICE ON CHASE FROM BEACH TO NORFOLK.

DRUNKEN DRIVER GETS 20 YEARS \ VICTIMS’ FAMILIES ARE PLEASED AT TERM FOR PETERSON, WHO LED POLICE ON CHASE FROM BEACH TO NORFOLK.

Author: JON FRANK, STAFF WRITER

Arnold O. Peterson was given 20 years in prison on Monday for driving drunk during a police chase last January that ended in a collision and killed a Richmond lawyer and his fiance.

It was the stiffest drunken-driving sentence that Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles D. Griffith Jr. could remember. Peterson, 48, will serve at least 17 years without parole under the state’s new statutes on aggravated involuntary manslaughter, Griffith said.

Peterson’s van crashed into a BMW driven by William L. Rosbe, 50, at the intersection of Brambleton Avenue and Duke Street late at night on Jan. 21.

Rosbe and Teresa G. Timms, 40, of Virginia Beach, were killed instantly. Peterson, who had led police on a 15-mile chase beginning on International Parkway in Virginia Beach, was not seriously injured.

Circuit Judge John E. Clarkson said the long police chase set Peterson’s case apart from other drunken-driving, manslaughter cases.

“When you evade the blue lights, and you don’t stop you are going to be punished and punished severely,” Clarkson said. “I can’t think of a more serious case. If you went into a 7-Eleven and shot two people, it would have been capital murder.”

Clarkson actually sentenced Peterson to 46 years on four counts: 40 years for two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, five years for eluding police and one year for driving under the influence.

But the judge suspended 26 years, saying that “I want to give you some hope.”

Part of the evidence that Clarkson considered was a videotape of the chase and collision made by a state trooper.

Although the courtroom audience could not see the tape, the footage showed in graphic detail that Peterson weaved through traffic at speeds reaching 80 mph before crashing into Rosbe’s car, according to Griffith. It took at least six police officers to wrestle Peterson out of his van, Griffith said.

After the sentencing, relatives of the victims said they were pleased that the sentence will keep Peterson behind bars until he is a senior citizen. “We feel it was a reasonable sentence,” said Julie Brooks, Teresa Timms’ sister. “We can live with it and hope that the public can get the message.”

But at least one was less than satisfied. “I would have preferred the maximum, from the point of view of public safety and sending a message,” said James R. Rosbe, the brother of William Rosbe. “But it is fairly stiff. I was afraid it would be like five or six years.”

Mike Goodove, chairman of the Southside branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said he was less than pleased.

“We certainly agree with the court handing down a maximum sentence in this case,” Goodove said. “However 20 years served is a poor price to pay for two lives.”

Peterson, wearing shackles and dressed in a rumpled blue suit with no tie, blamed the accident on his alcoholism and marital difficulties.

He told the court that on the day of the accident he had moved his belongings from the home he shared with his wife and two daughters in Virginia Beach. He argued with his wife, drove away and began drinking.

He visited a friend, where he started drinking beer. He stopped at a Chesapeake restaurant, where he drank more beer. He visited a Virginia Beach bar, where he again drank beer. Peterson also admitted that he bought a six-pack of beer and drank in his van.

All told, Peterson had at least 10 beers before crashing his van into Rosbe’s BMW.

Griffith said Peterson’s blood-alcohol level tested at the hospital after the accident at 0.25, more than three times the 0.08 level for legal intoxication in Virginia.

“He wasn’t just a little drunk, he was very drunk,” Griffith said.

And it wasn’t the first time. Griffith produced evidence showing Peterson has a drunken-driving record dating to the 1970s, shortly after he graduated from Old Dominion University. Griffith also told the court that Peterson had a history of angry outbursts against police who stopped him for drunken driving. When the accident occurred, Peterson was out on bond for a drunken-driving arrest in Virginia Beach.

Peterson said he tried to elude police because he panicked and feared that he would be stopped by the same Virginia Beach officer who had stopped him before.

“I was not in a rational state of mind to deal with the police at that time,” Peterson said. “I was petrified when all this took place.”

But Griffin argued that Peterson knew exactly what he was doing and that a stiff sentence was necessary for others to be protected from drivers like Peterson.

“It was not like some mafia hit, but in many ways I submit that it was worse,” Griffith told the court. “Because the victims never saw it coming. For every one of us Arnold Peterson is always out there on the road.”

Caption:
[Color Photos]
PHOTO COURTESY THE ROSBE FAMILY
William L. Rosbe and Teresa G. Timms – at left, photographed just
before Christmas 1994 – were killed instantly when the van that
Arnold O. Peterson, below, was driving hit their BMW. Peterson was
sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.

I was not in a rational state of mind to deal with the police at
that time. I was petrified when all this took place.
Arnold O. Peterson

TAMARA VONINSKI

Staff
James Rosbe, brother of William Rosbe, one of two people killed in
the chase of the drunken driver, said after Arnold Peterson’s
sentencing Monday that he had feared the sentence would be lighter.

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9509190048

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Archive 1995 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

THESE CANDY-LIKE CHUGGERS PACK A POWERFUL SHOT

THE KEEPER OF the shooters is standing guard at a small makeshift bar just inside the door of the Bayou, the popular Virginia Beach club, when you stroll in one Saturday night.

You peruse her offerings. There’s tequila. The familiar Jack Daniels. Beer. And a bottle labeled “Goldschlager,” wrapped around a transparent fluid sparkling with tiny flecks of real gold.

“Try it,” she chirps. “It’s my favorite.” Why not?

Going down, the liquid delivers a blast of cinnamon. Then a sharp slash tears through your nasal passages. Your brain has only a moment to note this before its attention shifts to the blaze that has erupted in your throat. Congratulations. You’ve just joined a growing army of locals who, along with their beer and highballs, make room for “shooters” – syrupy, often brightly hued concoctions of alcohol and sugar.

They seem as much candy as liquor. They’re especially popular with women. They’re big business at many Hampton Roads nightspots.

That’ll be $3.75.

With drinking a major American pastime, it’s easy to see the appeal of tossing back an ounce or two of high-test with a fruity or minty taste. Call it convenience booze.

These candylike chuggers aren’t so harsh as shots of straight alcohol, but their kick is much the same. Usually concocted of fruit juice and two, three or four liquors – often varieties of schnapps – shooters are smoother than the rough medicine favored by cowboys, bikers and Keith Richards.

If you’re a shooter drinker, you’re probably a younger person; these are not Mom’s cocktails.

And if you’re having a shooter, you’re probably sharing the experience. Despite the popularity of cocktail and cordial products, including schnapps, state Alcoholic Beverage Control statistics show retail sales have remained steady over the past five years.

That means that not many twentysomethings are imbibing one shooter after another in the privacy of their homes. It’s a club thing, a night-on-the-town thing, a bonding experience sealed with a belt.

“You never sell just one shooter, ever,” says David, a bartender at Private Eyes in Norfolk. “When you’re having a good time and you wanna have a better time, shooters are always fun.”

Across the room, a tableful of men and women takes on a tray of Buttery Nipples – butterscotch schnapps mixed with Bailey’s. This is a thrice-weekly habit, though the number they order varies.

“Depends on what kind of night we’re having,” says one.

“One night we had 88,” another jokes.

Jim Beam’s Cincinnati-based DeKuyper arm trumpets about 50 cordials, including more than a dozen flavors of schnapps. Its Peachtree schnapps is the country’s best-selling domestic cordial. One of its latest triumphs is After Shock, a liqueur that melds cinnamon and mint.

Although there are one or two such biggies each year, one Bayou bartender says that about 30 shooters are regularly in circulation. The current favorite is the Volleyball: Wilderberry and BluesBerry schnapps, blue caracao, vodka and pineapple juice. The Wild Thing, which continues the tradition of innuendo-laden shooter tags like Buttery Nipple and Sex on the Beach, is also big this summer.

Some staples are enduring. Watermelon shooters. Orange Crush. Woo Woo, composed of vodka, cranberry juice and peach schnapps.

The Bayou runs regular shooter specials. Two bucks for a Blue Bayou or a shot of Jagermeister, a macho favorite that looks like blackstrap molasses and smells volatile enough to burn through the bottom of the cup.

“Why do people drink it?” wonders Jennifer, who’s having a beer at the bar. “It tastes like NyQuil.” Her theory: “It’s got a cool name and it gets you (messed) up.”

Bayou patrons sometimes underestimate a shooter’s muscle. “People think they can drink these all night,” the bartender says, “and they can’t.”

Mike Goodove, chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Southside Community Action Team, says the promotion of sweet drinks is “still being studied” by his organization.

“It is something you’re gonna look at – how the restaurants and bars are marketing things.”

DeKuyper’s publicity handouts are careful to paint its fruits as adult. One photo depicts a ready-to-swig couple old enough to be the parents of a Bayou regular.

Dr. Roy Williams, an ODU chemistry professor and head of its enological, or wine-studies lab, calls shooters “just a way of getting people involved in alcohol. It’s a terrible way to introduce people to alcoholic beverages.”

He notes that even after one shooter, “your enzymes are saying, `Forget it, I’m not doing anything else.’ ”

That said, the country’s fitness mania may be part of shooters’ appeal. “Creamy drinks went out about two years ago,” one bartender says. “Girls, you know, they’re so health-conscious. It sounds silly – they’re drinking – but they’re into watching their weight. And there are a lot of calories in those things.”

Jell-O shooters, which also represent the gigglingly sexual side of the trend, enjoyed a brief popularity. With the prep time required, many bars don’t bother anymore.

But where old shooters have fallen, new ones have risen to take their place. “For tomorrow,” a distillery handout vows, “DeKuyper is already hard at work creating a future of great new cordial products for you.”

Think of the flavors that might exist by the time the Bayou kids’ kids are ready to partake. Perhaps right now, in a Midwestern lab, some visionary is charting the territory on which a million 21st century collegians will dance, will laugh, will love.

How long before we face Nacho Cheese Schnapps?

Caption:
Color photo by Beth Bergman, Staff
Shooters, concocted of fruit juice and a variety of liquors, are big
business at many Hampton Roads nightspots.

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9508180070

Categories
Archive 1995 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

NO SYMPATHY FOR PETERSON

Shame on you for giving print to the ramblings of Arnold Peterson, driver of the chased van that killed two people on Brambleton Avenue the night of Jan. 21.

I’m horrified and sickened by his message that society is being “too harsh,” “funny and ambivalent about alcohol,” “out to give him the maximum sentence” and it was the “fault” of the Virginia Beach police that he ran!

How absurd! How disgusting! How irresponsible! How twisted!

CAROLE TESTWUIDE

Virginia Beach, March 9, 1995

Regarding “Driver breaks silence on fatal car chase in downtown Norfolk” (news, March 8): Arnold O. Peterson say, “Our society is so funny about this (alcohol). It is legal to buy, it is legal to use. But it is not legal to get behind the wheel with.”

Gee, Mr. Peterson – I wonder why?

Mr. Peterson made the choice to continue drinking and the subsequent choice to drive under the influence and not stop for authorities. Law-abiding citizens must begin demanding that criminals be held accountable for their actions. Mr. Peterson does not get the sympathy vote from me.

MARGARET A. FABIK

Norfolk, March 9, 1995

Two people were taken from this world on Jan. 21 by the reckless actions of Arnold O. Peterson as he fled police while intoxicated. After two previous DUI convictions, two other charges of DUI, a reckless-driving conviction, an improper-driving conviction and finally the deaths of two innocent people, Mr. Peterson now has the audacity to “admit that he did wrong” while remarking that the news media are being unfair to him and he believes “that anti-drunken-driving groups are being harsher than they should.”

In Mr. Peterson’s case, the only things that are not harsh enough are the criminal laws and maximum sentences which he is facing. The fact that Mr. Peterson still considers himself a “good driver” is enough reason to keep him off the roads forever.

MICHAEL L. GOODOVE, chairman

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Southside Community Action Team

Norfolk, March 8, 1995

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9503140005

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CRASH SUSPECT HAS LENGTHY RECORD \ BEACH MAN HELD AFTER 2 KILLED IN NORFOLK

The Virginia Beach man charged with killing two people when his van collided with their car after running a red light in downtown Norfolk has a record of drunken-driving charges that dates to 1976.

Arnold O. Peterson was stopped 19 years ago on his first DUI charge at the Brambleton Avenue exit on Interstate 264. He took the same exit Saturday night during a 15-mile chase by police that ended with the collision that killed a Richmond lawyer and a Virginia Beach woman.

Mike Goodove, chairman of the Southside chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, called Peterson’s history of DUIs “shocking and appalling.”

“He is looking at 40 years if he is charged with aggravated manslaughter, and he is a man who deserves to be incarcerated,” Goodove said.

Killed were William L. Rosbe, a 50-year-old attorney who survived more than 200 missions in Vietnam as a Marine pilot, and 40-year-old Terrie G. Timms of the 1500 block of Southwick Road in Virginia Beach.

Peterson, 47, appeared Monday morning in Norfolk General District Court. Prosecutors said they would pursue two charges of involuntary manslaughter. They decided not to immediately prosecute drunk-driving charges for fear of double-jeopardy. The arraignment was continued until Feb. 8.

Additional charges are pending against Peterson in Virginia Beach, including reckless driving and a felony charge of eluding police,said Virginia Beach Police Department spokesman Mike Carey.

Meanwhile, authorities from three law-enforcement agencies involved in the chase defended their policies that govern high-speed pursuits, claiming that no violations by participating officers were committed Saturday night.

“I’ve gone over the policy any number of times in the past and again today,” said Lt. Col. Basil Belsches, deputy superintendent of the Virginia State Police. “And I can’t see where we went wrong.”

Belsches said the review of the incident will include a look at all relevant policies.

Carey and Norfolk Police Department spokesman Larry Hill said their agencies also are conducting reviews that will include pursuit policies, but both said their officers acted properly.

Carey said the chase was started by Virginia Beach officers, who picked up Peterson’s van on radar as it was speeding on International Parkway about 11:15 p.m.

“The vehicle was considered to be driving recklessly,” Carey said. “It was not a bald tire or a headlight out.”

Hill said Norfolk officers joined in when the car entered their city.

“Here is a man who had DUI convictions,” said Hill. “If you let him go, this drunk driver could go on down the road and kill someone else. It is a no-win situation.”

Officers in both cities performed secondary roles once state troopers took control of the chase near the Newtown Road exit of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway at the request of Virginia Beach police, Belsches said.

A state police car, which carried a camera that videotaped the chase, picked up the pursuit and followed Peterson on the expressway at speeds reaching 80 mph onto Interstate 264, where another state police cruiser joined in, Belsches said.

Both cruisers followed Peterson’s van when it exited I-264 at Brambleton Avenue. The state police cars remained about a block behind Peterson, Belsches said, as he raced along Brambleton, running red lights at speeds that reached 50 mph. Peterson then maneuvered his van onto the oncoming traffic lane on Brambleton Avenue. The street is divided by a concrete median.

Police first reported incorrectly Saturday that Rosbe and Timms apparently were leaving the opera in Rosbe’s 1983 BMW when the accident occurred. There was no opera Saturday night, but there was a Crystal Gayle concert at Chrysler Hall.

Hill said Rosbe’s car flipped several times because Peterson’s van hit the car broadside and pushed it against a curb. The curb, Hill said, acted “just like someone sticking their foot out and tripping you.”

Police said Peterson, of the 2100 block of Beckman Cove, was not seriously injured.

The van was owned by Nansemond Heating and Cooling. Peterson was not authorized to drive the vehicle, said the company’s owner, Grant Huneycutt.

During the chase, a representative of the company was called by police, who saw the company’s telephone number on the side of the van. The company representative said that the van was not supposed to be on the street.

“Arnie was not authorized to drive a company vehicle,” said Huneycutt. “He obtained this vehicle improperly.”

Before Norfolk police got involved, the troopers and Virginia Beach officers vigorously pursued the van in part because they mistakenly believed it might have been a vehicle stolen by youths involved in a Portsmouth-area robbery spree Saturday night.

Belsches said troopers involved in the chase also were acting under the impression that the van may have been stolen by the robbery suspects.

Portsmouth police arrested two teenagers on Sunday who are suspected in the string of robberies on Saturday in Portsmouth. Another teen was being sought Monday.

Peterson, who is being held in the Norfolk City Jail, was out on a $7,500 bond at the time of the accident for a DUI charge in Virginia Beach.

Carey said Virginia Beach police officers encountered Peterson at the intersection of Old Donation Parkway and First Colonial Road at 3:53 a.m. on Dec. 3. He also was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and an unrelated domestic assault charge. He was to appear in court on the charges Feb. 27.

Peterson’s first DUI charge in Hampton Roads appears to have been in September of 1976 when he was stopped on Interstate 264 by the Virginia State Police.

He was stopped again less than a year later by Norfolk police on Llewellyn Avenue and charged with DUI. Both charges were levied before court records were computerized, and it was unclear if Peterson was found guilty.

However, records do show that in February of 1992 Peterson was convicted of DUI in Virginia Beach.

Peterson also has a reckless driving conviction in Chesapeake in 1991 and an improper driving conviction in Virginia Beach in 1994, court records show.

Both victims of Saturday’s accident were recently widowed. The survivors of Terrie Timms include three children. She also had three stepchildren whose natural mother is still alive.

Caption:
Color photo
Arnold O. Peterson was stopped 19 years ago on his first DUI
charge.

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9501240281

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Archive 1994 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

DRUNKEN DRIVING LAW TO TOUGHEN ON FRIDAY

Beginning Friday, anyone younger than 21 who downs just one beer in an hour and then gets behind the wheel will face a $500 fine and six-month driver’s license suspension under Virginia’s “zero-tolerance” for underage drinkers, part of the state’s tough new drunken-driving law.

Older motorists are also targeted by the new law, which will make driving with a blood-alcohol percentage of .08 illegal. The current standard in Virginia is .10.

For virtually anyone, a blood-alcohol percentage of .02 happens with just one drink in an hour, according to information provided by the Automobile Association of America.

“What that means is, in reality, if you are under 21 and have any measurable percentage of alcohol in your system, you are going to be charged,” said Peninsula resident Brenda Vaccarelli, co-chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD. Vaccarelli’s sister was killed by a drunken driver. “If you are under 21, alcohol isn’t an option, or shouldn’t be, if you abide by the law.”

Because of the lower limit across the board, an average of 2,266 more motorists each year could be charged with drunken driving, according to figures provided by the Virginia Division of Forensic Science.

From 1990 to 1992, about 6,800 motorists who were stopped and tested had blood-alcohol contents of .08 or .09. Those people would be considered drunk by the standard that takes effect Friday, but not by the current standard.

Last year, more than 35,000 people were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Virginia, according to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

For a 160-pound person, four drinks in an hour will push the driver past the legal limit, according to AAA figures. An underage drinker could be fined and have his or her license suspended for virtually any blood-alcohol content, but could also face a full drunken-driving charge if the level reaches .08.

The law was signed April 6 by Gov. George F. Allen.

“It’s MADD’s goal and my goal that if one impaired driver is removed from the road . . . one member of your family may live to enjoy the rest of the summer and the rest of their life,” said local MADD chairman Mike Goodove of Virginia Beach.

Virginia will be one of only 10 states to enforce a .08 standard, which will also be the benchmark for drinking boaters.

The new law also provides for the impoundment of a driver’s car for 30 days – if the driver’s license is suspended from an earlier alcohol-related offense. A court could add another 90 days to the impoundment if the driver is convicted.

One key part of the new legislation – curbside revocation of a driver’s license – won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 1995. Starting then, motorists who refuse a breath test, or who fail one, will have their licenses revoked by the arresting police officer for seven days.

“Without a doubt, people are going to know, `I will lose my license if I drive drunk,’ ” said Lillian DeVenny of Virginia Beach, a founder of Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving. “And drunk will be .08.”

DeVenny’s 21-year-old daughter, Carrie, was killed 15 years ago by a drunken driver.

Also, beginning Jan. 1, motorists will no longer have the option of requesting a blood test instead of a breath test. The first parts of the law take effect in the middle of what the DMV categorizes as the deadly summer driving season. Last year, from May through September, 368 people died on the state’s roadways. Almost half the fatalities were alcohol-related. In those five months, 5,234 people were hurt in drunken-driving accidents, according to DMV figures.

The law also begins in the middle of National Sobriety Checkpoint Week, which begins Tuesday.

State and local police announced Friday that they will stop motorists at checkpoints throughout South Hampton Roads during the week. The Coast Guard also will be enforcing BUI, or boating under the influence, laws.

“I feel that perhaps, at last, all my work and all the work done by the members of my group and others has given some meaning to these people’s deaths,” DeVenny said. “I remember going to my daughter’s grave and saying, `Damn, I am going to do something about this.’ It was a long fight, it was a hard fight, and it certainly wasn’t a cinch. . . . It has been a long time coming.”

Caption:
Graphic
STAFF
ALCOHOL IMPAIRMENT CHART
SOURCE: Division of Motor Vehicles Information
[For complete graphic, please see microfilm]

Copyright (c) 1994 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9406260105

Categories
Archive 1993 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

DUI DEATHS DOWN SHARPLY SINCE ’82 BUT FOUR RECENT FATALITIES HAVE RENEWED CALLS FOR MORE ACTION.

In a recent 10-day span, four people died and three others were critically injured in alcohol-related car crashes in South Hampton Roads.

The accidents stirred outrage, brought cries for tougher laws and caused the phones to ring almost nonstop at the offices of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving.

But statistics released this week indicate that laws now on the books and the lobbying efforts and public awareness campaigns of such organizations have produced dramatic results.

In recent years, the number of alcohol-related fatalities has fallen sharply in Hampton Roads, in Virginia and across the nation:

Between 1982 and 1992, the number of drinking-related deaths nationwide dropped by about 8,500.

During the same decade, the percentage of all auto fatalities in Virginia that were alcohol-related fell by almost 10 percent, from 52.8 percent to 43.1 percent.

In 1990, 58 people were killed by drunken drivers in South Hampton Roads – 59 percent of all driving fatalities. Last year, that number had fallen to 35 – 40 percent – in the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk.

Experts attribute the decline to tougher law enforcement and more awareness, particularly among teenagers, of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Lillian DeVenny, who heads and helped form Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving, said her organization and groups like it deserve some credit for that trend. “We do believe that what we’re doing is working,” she said.

But DeVenny and others point out that their work is far from over, as the two recent fatal accidents, one in Virginia Beach and the other in Suffolk, clearly show.

“We’ve still got a segment of the population out there who’s not listening,” said DeVenny, of Virginia Beach. “We’ve come a long way and the figures show it. But, oh my God, we’ve still got a ways to go . . . Any time we see what we’ve just seen, we know the drunk drivers are still out there.

“The mood is indignation and anger. I don’t think in all the years I’ve been doing this I’ve seen the public respond in such a positive manner. These cases have set people off. The public is crying out, `We’ve had enough.’ ”

A 23-year-old woman called to tell DeVenny that two family friends had just been killed in West Virginia. “It’s time I get involved,” she said.

Two homebound women offered to stuff envelopes. Survivors of accidents involving drunken drivers have called to talk about their experiences. People offered to go to Richmond to lobby for tougher laws. Others wanted statistics for papers or speeches.

The outrage may have an impact on the 1994 General Assembly, which begins next month. Several lawmakers plan to show up armed with bills to further combat highway carnage.

State Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who saw his share of fatal accidents as a Virginia Beach police officer, has been active in efforts to keep drunken drivers off the roads.

“It doesn’t affect most Virginians until someone they know or someone in their family is killed or hurt by a drunk driver,” he said. “Unfortunately, society as a whole is still willing to tolerate the drunk driver. Until that changes, we can do anything we want at the legislative level and we’re not going to resolve the problem.

“We have to have that commitment that it’s not going to be tolerated to go out and drink and then drive. I can’t think of anything else that society accepts that we know kills people.”

Stolle said citizens need to remember that they have a voice in getting the laws changed through their lawmakers.

“These bills will save lives,” Stolle said.

Del. Glenn Croshaw, D-Virginia Beach, says he is horrified by each new report of a death or injury caused by a drunken driver, especially since laws he believes could have made a difference have failed in past legislative sessions.

“It’s devastating,” he said. “Many of these fatal accidents that are alcohol-related are multiple-conviction individuals. There is just story after story.”

Croshaw is convinced that a law that would allow police officers to pull a suspected drunken driver’s license at the scene is a good way to save lives.

“We’ve said as a society, `We don’t want you drinking and driving,’ ” Croshaw said. “We need to get serious about it . . . I think what we’re moving to in society is zero tolerance for everyone.”

Some of the calls into local MADD and VODD offices are from people with children too young to drive. Their parents are thinking ahead.

“I don’t care what age you are,” said Brenda Vaccarelli, founder and current president of the Peninsula chapter of MADD. “Alcohol-related fatalities don’t discriminate. They affect everyone . . . Alcohol-related deaths have decreased, but one is one too many. That’s the bottom line. We want to be put out of business.”

Michael Goodove, chairman of the Southside Community Action Team of MADD, said the latest statistics reflect enhanced public awareness of the problem.

“People use designated drivers much more,” he said. “They think before they drink. People are more aware that when you get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking, it’s the same thing as firing a weapon into a crowd.”

Caption:
Color photo
BETH BERGMAN/Staff
Police from all over Hampton Roads attend a meeting Wednesday at the
Hampton Coliseum parking lot to raise awareness of drunken driving.
The event kicked off National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention
Month. Recently, the Virginia State Police announced plans to set up
sobriety checkpoints in cooperation with local law enforcement
agencies in a monthlong campaign to battle drunken driving on
Virginia highways.

Graphics
STAFF
ALCOHOL-RELATED DRIVING DEATHS DECLINE
SOURCE: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
[For complete graphic information, please see microfilm]

LEGISLATION
Proposed in the 1994 General Assembly:
Reduce from 0.10 to 0.08 the blood alcohol level at which a
driver is considered to be drunk.
Make a third offense of driving under the influence punishable by
one to five years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and a fine.
Add “driving after drinking” to the offenses underage drinkers
can be charged with. The law calls for punishment as a Class 1
misdemeanor and suspension of driver’s license for a year.
Recoup from drivers the money that accidents cost localities.
Allow police to pull a suspect’s license at the scene.
Voicing your opinion
Call your state legislator or send word through these
organizations:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
South Hampton Roads: 670-3830
Peninsula: 595-4101
Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving: 497-2494

Copyright (c) 1993 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9312020796

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Archive 1993 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

HOT LINE WILL LET DRIVERS REPORT DUI SUSPECTS \ THE STATE POLICE SERVICE IS AVAILABLE TO SPRINT CUSTOMERS

When the Norfolk man saw a car swerve along Interstate 264, hit another car on Waterside Drive and then drive on, he grabbed his cellular phone and called police.

A dispatcher told him to wait for an officer. But when the drunk drove on, so did the man – through Norfolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake, until three patrol cars ended the chase and he was finally able to hang up.

“I kept seeing my wife in that damaged car,” said the man, who asked not to be named. “I previously worked in an emergency room. I used to see what drunk driving can do.”

State police on Thursday urged other car-phone owners to report drunken drivers.

Along with Sprint Cellular and Hampton Roads Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the troopers announced the creation of a DUI hot line that will allow Sprint customers in southeastern Virginia to report suspected drunken drivers toll-free by dialing *DUI (*384).

It is the first time such a service has been available in Virginia, where there were 40,107 drunken-driving arrests last year, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Forty-five percent of the state’s 839 auto fatalities in 1992 were alcohol-related.

Sprint officials said the hot line has been successfully tested in Las Vegas and New Mexico. In Las Vegas, such calls have resulted in an average of five drunken-driving arrests a month.

But the extent of the local program is unknown because Sprint officials would say only that they had “many thousands of customers” and would not release an exact number.

There may be some minor problems with the new system.

The calls go into one of only three 911 phone lines at state police headquarters in Chesapeake. Police are asking callers to stay on the line if there is no answer.

Robert Sage, Sprint’s general manager for Hampton Roads, also said the new system is meant to encourage callers to report drunken drivers, not police them.

“This is going to put people on notice,” said Michael Goodove, a local MADD official. “Now, everyone with a cellular phone is going to have the power to turn suspected drunk drivers in.”

Copyright (c) 1993 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9305140630