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Suspect in DUI Crash That Injured Cop Pleads Not Guilty

A 21-year-old Lake Forest man is accused of driving drunk into a San Diego police car.

A 21-year-old Lake Forest man accused of driving drunk and crashing into a San Diego police car, seriously injuring a rookie officer, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony DUI charges.

Samuel Sullivan, free on $100,000 bail, appeared for his arraignment in a wheelchair with a bandage on one foot. Several friends and family members of the injured officer also attended the brief hearing.

Deputy District Attorney James Romo said Sullivan exited northbound state Route 125 in his Toyota truck around 2:30 a.m. Dec. 30 and ran a red light in Santee, broadsiding a patrol car driven by 24-year-old SDPD Officer Travis Betley.

"He (the defendant) was going very fast," the prosecutor said outside court.

Betley was trapped in his vehicle for almost an hour before being freed. The officer -- who has been on the force 14 months -- has undergone multiple surgeries for broken bones and internal injuries and faces a long recovery, officials said.

According to Romo, the defendant was in San Diego for a friend's birthday party and admitted drinking before the accident.

Sullivan's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.22 percent after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving, Romo said.

Defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan, no relation to the defendant, spoke briefly to reporters, calling the incident an "unfortunate" accident.

"We wish the officer a speedy recovery," the attorney said.

The defendant was charged with DUI causing injury and DUI with a blood- alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Sullivan faces six years in state prison if convicted, according to the prosecutor.

Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Feb. 20 and a preliminary hearing for Feb. 27.

- City News Service

JustUs January 08, 2013 at 06:50 PM
"If the consumer is under 21, then all bets are off" The stated age of the offender in the article is "21". mfreidrich, you rail about the dirty bankers who are protected by the government and don't do a day in jail. You go ballistic on them. Don't you understand that the bar owners who overserve their customers are no better? They put you, me and your family as HUGE risk out on the roadways. So the lawmakers PROTECT the bartenders and bar owners who are indirectly responsible for getting a man drunk and allowing him to get into his car and drive. Just like the lawmakers protect the dirty bankers. There certainly should be liability for a bar owner who served a man who blows a 3 on the BAC and was responsible for an injury or fatal crash. Any dummy could understand that concept. And there should be NOTHING stopping cops from setting up on bars and watching the patrons leave (stagger) and go their their cars, get in and drive away and pull them over. THAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING TODAY AND IT DOES NOT BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A DIRTY SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS PROBLEMS THAT PLACE OUR LIVES AT RISK!!!
MFriedrich January 08, 2013 at 07:32 PM
As you rightly said, no one is putting a gun to the head of the consumer. If loan owner defaults on an asset backed loan, the banker recovers the collateral (no need for a taxpayer bailout). For a signatory-backed loan, there's nothing for the banker to recover, just a stupid promise to repay. Banks that make signatory-backed loans a large part of their portfolio must pay a price. They don't today, because of govt intervention and bailouts. The bartender/host situation may be different. When hosting party, host can personally bid each guest adieu at the end and call a cab for those who are inebriated, i.e. be a good neighbor. This is an unreasonable expectation for a bar/restaurant that turns dozens of tables and serves hundreds of guests in an hour. Instead society insists that personal responsibility be our guide. Otherwise, we must pass laws to arrest bankers for loans that just happen to bankrupt their clients, arrest restaurant owners and bar proprietors for proximate injuries or deaths, arrest peanut stand owners at fairs for allergic reactions, and pharmacists for prescribing pain killers that lead to some idiot falling off a ladder while hanging up Christmas lights. Proximate cause appears to be a good rule of thumb around which to build a framework for legal liability in society. To me it's a good think that we don't 100% outlaw super sized cokes, double-cheeseburgers, cigars or whiskey consumption by consenting, competent adults.
MFriedrich January 08, 2013 at 07:40 PM
In addition, without this proximate cause idea, I don't know that we could do anything without an immense risk of something going horribly wrong. It would bring modern society to a halt. i could foresee a lot of products and services would be discontinued. A simple birthday party for some friends would become a massive legal liability risk not worth having anymore. I think drunk drivers should be held responsible for their decisions to the full extent of the law. There's no excuse. Banks should pay a price. I would encourage anyone underwater to strategically default. This causes pain for the consumer in a low credit score, but it inflicts some pain on the bank for their greed and incompetence. Without feeling any consequences banks will enslave the next generation of borrowers in the same way. Instead of educating consumers how to drink responsibly or how to use a bank's loan products responsibly, we'd all be better off to educate people how to not use them at all. But hey, it's a free country.
JustUs January 08, 2013 at 08:36 PM
"This is an unreasonable expectation for a bar/restaurant that turns dozens of tables and serves hundreds of guests in an hour." You are missing the entire point and taking this all too literally. A responsible bar could LIMIT each customer to a certain number of drinks per hour. But NONE of them would do this voluntarily even to "save the children". They would have to be FORCED into it because it would cut into their REVENUE. And the State won't impose such a regulation on the bar owners (even though it would almost certainly 'save at least ONE human life' because the liquor industry would pooh-pooh such an idea which would result in lesser political campaign contributions to the phony politicians. So there is a PARALELL between the crooked banksters and the bar owners. They do NOT do what is best for society they do what is best for their financial pockets - REGARDLESS of whom that may hurt financially or even kill physically. Am I making myself clear now, or are you going to go off on another tangent and try to confuse the issue again?
MFriedrich January 08, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Yes, they could impose a drink limit per hour (e.g. 1 drink per hour). They would need to outlaw pitchers of beer of course, and otherwise limit volumes. No more 2 liter tall Hefeweizens, for example. You could use techology, like smart cards, to place drink orders and ensure no re-orders until 1 hr. time has elapsed. Another idea might be, let patrons consume all they want, as they do today. But bars/restaurants require patrons to surrender their car keys and drivers licenses upon acoholic beverage order. Upon departure patron can either a.) blow a .0799 or b.) call a cab, or c.) be arrested in the parking lot by an officer of the peace. One might also post citizen volunteers at the establishment exit making citizen's arrests or 911 calls too. This idea seems over the top, but any measure of heightened responsibility and enforcement on all sides could dramatically reduce binge drinking, drunk driving injuries and death, and inconvenience of other motorists.

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