Thursday, April 24, 2008

Woo Hoo! Its Fiesta time in Ol' San Antonio

Obviously, Chief McManus forgot its Fiesta! The time in the city of San Antonio when people get stinking drunk and then pile into their cars and try to drive home. Its all part of the fun!

When I had my own firm and did insurance defense litigation I loved Fiesta because I could always count on there being anywhere from 10 to 15 cases I'd get from Fiesta related drinking and accidents alone. At an average cost per file between $3500 to $5000 generated in legal fees per file it was a nice addition to the bottom line per year.

Crashes kill 3 within 25 hours
Brian Chasnoff: Express-News

Three people were killed in suspected drunken-driving crashes during a 25-hour period this week, prompting San Antonio Police Chief William McManus on Wednesday to sound a familiar plea urging motorists to refrain from drinking and driving.
"If you're going to drink, do not get behind the wheel of a car," he said at a news conference, stressing the need for responsibility as this year's Fiesta rolls toward its final weekend. Last year, one person was killed in an alcohol-related crash during the 10-day citywide party.

"Think about what can happen as a result of having a few drinks," McManus said.

This year's episodes — the first Monday night and the others within two hours late Tuesday and early Wednesday — left two teenagers and a 42-year-old woman dead. The 6-year-old son of one of the drivers remained hospitalized Wednesday after undergoing surgery to repair his spine. His father, Adolfo Reynosa, 29, remained jailed on a $35,000 bond on charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.

Since Friday night, when Fiesta commenced, at least 100 people have been charged with driving while intoxicated in San Antonio and surrounding areas, according to records at the city's magistrate and detention center. More than half of those suspects were arrested for first-time offenses.

"That seems high," said Lt. Tim Vaughan, a commander in the SAPD's DWI unit. "It's definitely a cause for concern."

Alamo Heights Police Detective Mike Davis, chair of the county's DWI Task Force, agreed.
"That shows our officers are out in full force," he said. "They will be especially vigilant during this Fiesta week."
As of Tuesday night, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had issued 60 alcohol-related citations at Fiesta events. Of those, 56 were issued to minors in possession of alcohol, said TABC Lt. Christina Guerra.
San Antonio exceeds the national average in drinking and driving fatalities, a fact that moved McManus last month to push for initiatives aimed at curbing the problem. Those reforms, including the establishment of sobriety checkpoints and tougher open-container laws, await consideration by the City Council and the state Legislature.
And District Attorney Susan Reed is planning in May to crack down on suspected drunken drivers who refuse to take a breath test. Over the Memorial Day weekend, drivers who don't take the test will be subject to having their blood drawn.
"Even if you don't want to give (blood), you'll be forced to give it," McManus said.
Meanwhile, the police chief said Wednesday that he has sent DWI and traffic officers out "in force" for the remainder of Fiesta, a 10-day party that generates much of its revenue from beer sales.

It's unclear if Fiesta events were factors in the past days' fatal wrecks. Adolfo Reynosa had been at a friend's house before his arrest Monday night, said Michelle Martinez, a cousin. Of Reynosa's son, Brandon, who enjoys playing kickball and riding on scooters, she said the family is "just hoping for the best."

The 6-year-old cried Monday night when his dad tried to leave the friend's house without him. So his father let the boy hop into the car. But Adolfo Reynosa was intoxicated, according to a police report.

Speeding east on West Olmos Drive around 11:30 p.m., Reynosa collided with another car at the intersection with Buckeye Avenue, killing its driver, 19-year-old Angela Medina, and fracturing his son's spine, according to a police report and Martinez.

Nearly 24 hours later, Amelia Arce-Trevino, 42, was ejected and killed when the Acura Legend in which she was riding veered off North Loop Road and crashed into several trees around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday, a police report said. The driver, 42-year-old Michael Trevino, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and jailed on a $20,000 bond.
About two hours later, Fernando Yanez, 19, was killed when his car struck a telephone pole in the 200 block of Donaldson Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to a police report. An officer found an open beer can in the mangled car, the report said.