The 26 year old was allegedly impaired around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday night when he slammed into 29-year-old Deanna Tucker. Friends of the victim said she died four hours later in surgery.
Her death has sent shock waves through the city’s police department. Tucker is the daughter of Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford.
Here’s what happened Tuesday night. According to Deputy Chief Papania, a vehicle traveling westbound on the 1500 block of Pass Road, left the roadway and collided with a parked car. Officials said Tucker was loading her small child into the car at the time when she was struck, pinning her between the cars.
The child was unharmed.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the Biloxi Police crash re-creation team assisted Gulfport Police in the investigation.
Ironically, we’re told by friends of Chief Weatherford that he spent the first eight years of his career as a DUI officer, patrolling the streets of Gulfport, trying to keep suspected drunk drivers off the road. Now, the chief’s family is coming to grips with the loss of Deanna. And as one friend said in disbelief, it’s painful to think the cause of her death may end up being a drunk driver.
Now, for the first time, we hear from Gulfport police about the Tuesday night accident that killed the chief’s 29 year old daughter.
In that statement, officers wrote, “The Gulfport Police Department has a long history of proactive traffic enforcement. Annually, we set goals aimed at reducing crashes with injuries. The police department has made tremendous efforts regarding public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. The department is involved in the “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign. We continue to our support of “United in Fighting Underage Drinking”.
“For the past 12 months, the Gulfport Police Department has made 1,292 arrests for Driving Under the Influence. This department has addressed traffic enforcement with the recognition of the impact that impaired driving has on the community.
“It is apparent from this tragedy and other similar events in our city that policing is only one facet of the solution. People must take personal responsibility for impairment driving prevention in order to truly ensure the safety of themselves and others. In a tragedy like this, there are great complexities in healing and recovering; when the prevention is so very simple – Don’t Drive Impaired.”
Mentor OH March 30 2011 A man is accused of exposing himself Monday morning in the men’s department in the Mentor Kmart store.
Richard Hennessey, 28, of Madison, had visited the store at about 11 a.m. A store security guard said she saw Hennessey expose and stroke himself on the security camera, Mentor Police Lt. Tom Powers said.
She called police and officers arrested Hennessey when he tried to leave the store.
Hennessey was charged with public indecency, a first-degree misdemeanor. If he’s convicted, he could be punished with up to six months in jail.
Hennessey be arraigned tomorrow morning in Mentor Municipal Court.
The bouncer at Safari Sports Bar told police that he was breaking up an altercation between two women before 1:30 a.m. when one of the women struck him in the face with a beer bottle. After officers put the woman in the patrol car, she started kicking at the back window. Officers said they pepper sprayed the woman to control her.
Alma Lee Garcia, 20, was arrested for aggravated assault, resisting arrest and public intoxication, police said. Garcia was free on bond from Nuces County Jail as of Monday morning.
NAPLES, Fla.March 30 2011- The Naples Police Department is investigating a bizarre hit-and-run that happened in the 700 block of 5th Ave. S.
“I was at my store and it was probably about 10:45p.m. and I heard a loud bang and I said that sounds like a gunshot,” said Amy Rosenbluth, whose store is located a few feet from where the accident occurred.
After hearing the gunshot, Rosenbluth looked outside.
“It was all cornered off with police cars and I heard someone got hit by a car,” she said.
Police say a woman in a Mercedes hit a person walking in an alley. According to the report, the driver got out of her car and said she didn’t hit anyone. Then an Allegiance Security guard arrived, witnesses say as he got out of his vehicle, she got into hers.
“This vehicle (the Mercedes) didn’t want to stay on the scene so he (security guard) fired two rounds from his gun at fleeing vehicle,” said Lt. John Barkley, a spokesperson for the Naples Police Department.
The driver was found and identified. Her name isn’t being released, but police say she could face charges and they’re checking to see if alcohol was a factor.
“She wasn’t even aware at the time that someone had shot at her,” said Lt.Barkley.
The state attorney’s office will determine whether the security guard will face charges for discharging a firearm in public.
NEW ORLEANS LA March 30 2011 (AP) – BP says one of its employees lost a laptop containing personal data belonging to thousands of residents who filed claims for compensation after the Gulf oil spill.
The oil giant disclosed the potential data security breach to The Associated Press on Tuesday. But BP spokesman Curtis Thomas says the company doesn’t have any evidence that claimants’ personal information has been misused.
Thomas said the company mailed out letters Monday to roughly 13,000 people, notifying them that their data was in the computer.
The data belonged to individuals who filed claims with BP before the Gulf Coast Claims Facility took over the processing of claims in August. BP paid roughly $400 million in claims before the switch.
As of Tuesday, it had paid roughly $3.6 billion to 172,539 claimants.
LINCOLN IL March 30 2011 — A Lincoln Community High School teacher has been formally charged with multiple sexual assault and sexual abuse charges involving a student.
Douglas Benz, 43, an English teacher, freshman football coach and assistant coach in other sports at LCHS, on Monday was charged by Logan County State’s Attorney Michael McIntosh’s office with four counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
The counts pertain to offenses that allegedly took place between Aug. 1, 2010, and Jan. 31 between Benz and the alleged victim, a female high school student who “was at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age” when the alleged offenses occurred, according to court documents.
The specific charges include fondling and touching for sexual gratification, as well as sexual penetration.
LCHS superintendent Rob-ert Bagby said Wednesday morning, a day after Benz was arrested, that the teacher and coach had been placed on administrative leave. Bagby declined to say if Benz was on paid or unpaid leave.
Criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony, is punishable upon conviction of up to 15 years in prison, two years of mandatory supervised release and a possible $25,000 fine. Criminal sexual assault also carries with it two sentencing provisions, the first of which states that “upon conviction of this offense, defendant shall not be sentenced to a period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge,” while the second provision states, “upon conviction of this offense, any sentence imposed on this count shall be served consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.”
“Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony not eligible for probation due to the nature of the offense,” assuming that the (defendant) is found guilty, said Logan County assistant state’s attorney Jonathan Wright, who is handling the case.
Criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony, and if found guilty, the offender can face up to a maximum of seven years in prison and a possible fine of $25,000. The minimum punishment, if found guilty, is 48 months of probation.
Wright said a criminal sexual abuse conviction can carry with it the $25,000 fine, but the fine is not mandatory.
Circuit Judge Thomas Harris ruled Monday during a brief court hearing that probable cause exists to support the charges against Benz.
Benz, who was arrested by Lincoln police at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Springfield hotel, said he would be hiring an attorney.
He is scheduled for another court appearance with legal counsel at 11 a.m. today.
Benz remains in custody at the Logan County Jail. His bond has been set at $100,000.
As part of a plea deal, three original charges of sex assault on a child by one in a position of trust, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sex assault with more than a 10-year age difference were dropped.
Bowles, 31, of Fort Collins was arrested Jan. 21 after she was found in a car parked at North Lake Park in Loveland having sex with a 16-year-old male student.
As stipulated in the plea deal, Bowles will face 10 years of supervised sex offender probation, Prosecutor Renee Doak said.
Additionally, she must register as a sex offender and could face some jail time, said Linda Jensen, spokeswoman for the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Stephen Howard will sentence Bowles on May 9.
Since her arrest, Bowles has been barred from seeing her two children. She is allowed to talk to them on the phone. Her husband is filing for divorce.
In accepting the plea deal, Howard ordered that any mental evaluations of Bowles be conducted and supplemented before sentencing. At the time of her arrest, Bowles was working as an instructional coach for the Thompson School District, meaning she helped teachers improve at their jobs. She wasn’t working directly with students.
She has a teacher’s license in social studies, according to the Colorado Department of Education.
Bowles resigned following her arrest. She has no prior criminal record.
Granby CT March 30 2011 Police arrested a substitute gym teacher Sunday and charged him with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of breach of peace.
The charges against Robert A. Klein, 62, of Lindsey Circle in North Granby, are based on several incidents involving three female students who said Klein touched them on the head, chest, lower back or buttocks at the Wells Road Intermediate School.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, one of the girls said Klein touched her on March 1. Two other girls, both of whom said they witnessed that incident, reported that Klein had touched them inappropriately a year earlier.
Klein said he has been a substitute teacher for seven years, according to the affidavit.
Klein was arrested after a joint investigation by the state Department of Children and Family Services and the Granby Police Department. The investigation was triggered by an initial disclosure by a Granby Public Schools staff member.
Klein was arraigned Monday in Enfield Superior Court. He has been released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court again on April 13, 2011.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo., March 30 2011 (UPI) — An observant security guard thwarted an attempted storage facility burglary by locking a man inside the unit, St. Joseph, Mo., police said.
Ronald E. Dennis, 49, was released from the Mini-Warehouse of St. Joseph and subsequently arrested for burglary by police, the St. Joseph News-Press reported.
The security employee had seen a slightly opened door on one of the units at 1 a.m. Sunday and had shut and latched it. Later he heard sounds “which was the suspect Dennis of St. Joseph, attempting to free himself,” Capt. Kevin Castle said.
Dennis remained in custody on a probation-parole warrant.
Carolina Toledo, a 26-year-old from Honduras living in an apartment on Ridgedale Avenue in town, was seen concealing $31.94 worth of items in her purse at the Rite-Aid Pharmacy on North Park Place, according to the complaints.
A store security officer, identified in complaints only as D.M., stopped Toledo and ushered her into his office.
When Toledo learned police were called, she slammed the security guard’s head against a door, slapped him in the face three times and tried to flee the pharmacy, but police arrived in time to stop her, the complaints charge.
The shoplifting alleged at the store was elevated to a robbery because Toledo struck the security officer, the complaints state.
She said the security officer injured her, according to the complaints. She was brought to Morristown Memorial Hospital after her arrest.
Toledo managed to remove one handcuff, leave an examination room, grab her belongings and run down a hospital corridor in an attempt to escape before she was caught, the complaints said.
She was being held in Morris County Jail on $20,000 bail, with no 10 percent option, on charges of robbery and escape. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials also have filed a detainer against her.
MENTOR, Ohio March 30 2011- Police said a Euclid couple accused of stealing a comforter from a J.C. Pennys store at the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor hit a security guard with their car.
According to investigators, 48-year-old Darlene Carr-Askew and 55-year-old Bernard Askew tried to make a run for it before they were approached by a security officer. Police then said they got into their car and backed up, hitting the security guard with the vehicle.
The two were later caught by Wickliffe police and the merchandise that was valued at more than $500 was recovered.
The security guard was treated for scrapes at the hospital.
The Askews are now charged with aggravated robbery.
Madison WI March 30 2011 An alleged shoplifter running from a West Towne Mall store was able to get away from a security guard by spraying pepper spray into the guard’s face, police said.
The retail theft was reported at 2:55 p.m. Saturday at Boston Store, the Madison Police Department reported.
According to a police report, the female suspect was observed by security at the store allegedly removing security tags from men’s clothing and stuffing the merchandise into a black handbag.
“The employee pursued her as she left the store and was about to catch up with her in the parking lot when he was stopped in his tracks by the pepper spray,” said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.
Police said the woman then jumped into an off-white or cream-colored Chrysler 300M and drove away. The car was reported to have front end damage.
The 28-year-old security guard from Oregon was treated for exposure to pepper spray.
The suspect is a black female, 24-30 years old, 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 9 inches tall, 200-220 pounds, hair worn in a ponytail, wearing a white sweater and carrying a black handbag.