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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Continuation of Bo Melson's "Warning Signal or Violating Rights?"

Posted Monday, October 5, 2009, at 12:53 PM


Bo Melson recently wrote a blog asking whether requiring habitual DUI offenders to display a sticker labeling them a bad driver would be violating the rights of those required to display such tapes more than violating the rights of safe drivers who are their victims.

I ran across this excerpt in Sunday's paper of the t-g and I am appalled at the incredibly "light" sentence this (7) seven time offender of DUI and (4) four time offender of driving on a revoked license--among other charges--received.

Here is the original entry as appearing on Oct. 4th:

"A man was also declared a habitual motor vehicle offender in one hearing and was sentenced for multiple traffic offenses in another.

Stacy Carl Ortel will serve at least 30 percent of a two-year, six-month sentence for DUI (seventh offense) driving on a revoked license (fourth offense), leaving the scene of an accident and violation of implied consent.

Ortel was also declared a habitual motor vehicle offender by Russell and will not be allowed to drive for the next three years until he petitions the court to have his license reinstated."

So, in essence this man will likely serve less than a year in jail (about ten months if he serves 30%) and then what...he can't drive for three years until he petitions the court to reinstate his license??? Come on, the guy has (4) four priors for driving on a revoked license, why would he suddenly obey the law this time?

What is it going to take before a harsher sentence is invoked--the deaths of a mini-van full of kids after his 8th DUI offense? If he's been caught (7) seven times, imagine how many times he's driven drunk and not been caught...

I'm bringing this issue back up because it is clear nothing is going to change around here unless we force it to. Our voices carry a lot of weight in unison...let's shout our protests until someone finally listens!

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I am an alcoholic, who through the grace of a loving God and AA, have been clean and sober nearly ten years now. I am not an opponent of alcohol nor drinking as I realize there are those who can and do drink responsibly. I am however very supportive of even further strengthening the DUI laws in our state. I can't help but believe that the more financially painful the consequences, the less one is apt to drive while drinking. Those who choose to drink and drive anyway should be made to pay horrible financial consequences for doing so.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sat, Oct 10, 2009, at 6:50 PM

I've waivered as to whether to weigh in on this latest topic, but I'm inclined to agree with Diana--those who wish to drink will do so... regardless, and they will drive while intoxicated...regardless. As docudrama points out, there are any number of restaurants in this area serving alchohol.

Let me ask you this, if a patron from Wartrace drove to Shelbyville, had a few drinks with his/her meal and made the long drive home with that nice, warm fuzzy feeling getting stronger and stronger the longer he/she drives...would that be any safer than that same patron having a nice meal and a few drinks in Wartrace and making a rather short drive home before the warm and fuzzy got to be too much?

Both scenerious are wrong--yes--but if it is going to happen anyway, wouldn't it be best to shorten the drive and get that person off the road sooner, so to speak?

The introduction of a restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages may likely raise the average liquor intake in that town, but many patrons of said restaurants designate a driver in advance of the meal, or stop themselves before the warm and fuzzy takes hold. It depends in part on the type of clientele attracted.

Regardless of my opinion, if you feel justified in your convictions then DO NOT let anyone on this forum, or elsewhere, sway you from voicing your objections. You should ALWAYS stand behind your convictions...right or wrong, it's what you perceive to be true that matters most to you...equally so for those in opposition. In the end, to the victor belong the spoils.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Thu, Oct 8, 2009, at 3:13 AM

He wants to reopen the restaurant, but the only way he can compete with the ones in Shelbyville is to be able to serve liquor by the drink. Thats all, he does not want to open a night club as some would have you believe.

-- Posted by docudrama on Thu, Oct 8, 2009, at 12:51 AM

I thought liquor could only be served in Bedford County at a place that serves food? In fact I know that is right! So why would he be allowed to have liquor by the drink without serving food?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Oct 8, 2009, at 12:09 AM

Tinytoes, do you eat at Ruby Tuesday's, or Legends, or at Chilies. Do you eat at El' Mexico, or any of the Chinese restaurants in Shelbyville. If not then I commend you on your adherence to your core values, but if you do then you sir or ma'am, are supporting the very thing you are preaching against, and need to look up the word hypocrite in the dictionary.

-- Posted by docudrama on Wed, Oct 7, 2009, at 7:37 PM

Dianatn:If someone you care about ends up like the young lady in the photo above I believe you would change your mind.As far as the hotel goes the rest. is closed,so does anyone know what if any "true" assets are there to protect an innocent person in the event the hotel doesnt do its job.

-- Posted by tinytoes on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 10:

Insurance that goes with a liquor license: liquor liability insurance

I will be the first one who says they are against drunk drivers but stopping a restaurant from having a liquor license is not going to affect drunk drivers at all.

People who drink will still drive around drinking even in Wartrace.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 10:22 PM

THIS is the very reason we DO NOT need to allow the Walking Horse Hotel in Wartrace to serve alcohol.

-- Posted by tinytoes on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 6:55 PM

At least at a restaurant it is controlled drinking unlike someone going to a liquor store and driving all over Wartrace

There would at least be a responsible party involved if the restaurant, bar or club allows a customer to drink to much and they are involved in an accident they are held responsible unlike someone stopping at a liquor store and driving all over town drinking their bottle. The only person responsible for an accident with someone drinking their bottle while out driving could possible have no insurance no money or may have died themselves in the accident.

But actually it makes no difference to me whether the Hotel sells alcohol or not. I dont drink so it is neither here nor there to me.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 7:51 PM

I was nearly hit by a drunk driver way back in 1992. The boy was going home from his construction job. His father and construction crew was behind him and saw it all.

I was ok. Bloody nose was all. My car was destroyed trying to miss him in my lane. The father said, "We've got a tow at home, let us go and get it". I was so young and dumb. No cell phone back then. I thought the elderly couple who I wrecked in front of their house and staring would call the law/ambulance.

Father and crew and drunk son left, (to get their tow truck for me, yeah right) the cops finally came but I couldn't prove they were ever there, even though the drunk son was well known by police/sheriff. It looked like I just ran off the road.

I saw his name in public record for years for many DUI offences. He kept getting out and doing it again, and again....

This year though, his name was in the obituaries. Before he was 40. I wonder how his dad feels.

-- Posted by mmp84 on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 5:33 PM

Lostin Thought--

I haven't been able to find it either, and the sad truth is she probabaly did (or will) receive a "slap on the wrist" for her reckless and criminal behavior.

It's a sad world we live in, let's try to find some joy in it nonetheless.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 4:42 PM

"We're a lot better at making an issue moot by changing situations rather than improving our responses to them."

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 4:29 PM

Sad, but true...

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 4:33 PM

I think we may have more hope in relying on technology than upgrades to human nature-at least in the sort run.

We don't do well at fixing ourselves.

We're a lot better at making an issue moot by changing situations rather than improving our responses to them.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 4:29 PM

I have been watching and reading the jail intake for the past several months now and wondering what ever happened with the woman who was drunk and had drugs in the car with six children?

Was she slapped on the wrist and let go?

-- Posted by Lostin Thought on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 3:51 PM


You make an excellent point. Our judicial system--screaming "over-crowded jails"--is doing nothing substantial to protect its citizens in danger of being the next DUI victim.

Perhaps in the future we will see the implemention of breathalyzer vehicles...a car that will not ignite [start up] until you blow a "clean" breath (under legal limits) into a unit installed in/near the ignition. Obviously there is room for error and variables that would have to be dealt with, but something has to happen.

If we can't fix the system due to overcrowding, expenses, politics...or whatever the excuses given are...and we can't fix the offender due to a predisposition or psychological issue, then maybe "rigging" the vehicle to stall is the next best thing?

How long before one of us, or one of our loved ones is a victim of a drunk or drugged driver?

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 3:43 PM

What counseling have these people had? What drug treatment programs?

What's been done (other than revoked licenses and driving bans) to stop them from re-offending behind the wheel of a car or elsewhere?

Getting them off the road and even getting them to "pay their debt to society" is all well and good but warehousing them,grounding them and taking their money will not address the underlying problem.

These people are more involved with the source of their abuse than they are with the law,the safety of others or their own welfare.

Something has to change within them to give them the will and the means to exist within our society or the problems they cause will continue and escalate.

Whatever has been done for the habitual offender has not been enough.

They need help to break the destructive patterns and the very repetition of their offenses is an implied consent that help be imposed by others if they have not elected to get assistance for themselves.

What if the offenders (those we've caught and those who've been lucky enough to go unnoticed) have "tried everything" such as five-step programs,Antabuse and nalaxon,and other medical,psychological and spiritual therapy and still haven't broken free of their negative behaviors?

Another decade behind bars may address the symptom but not the disease.

The first thing to determine is whether or not these people have ever taken responsibility for their actions and their consequences.

Someone who is truly penitent and wanting to avoid the next offense merits a different response than one who is clueless or uncaring.

Society cannot afford not to make a distinction between the two.

It cannot afford to "enable" by treating these incidents with half measures.

The first order of business is preserving the public safety but no significant change can occur so long as the underlying causes of these offenses remains intact.

Whether the criminal in the docks has driven under the influence,assaulted an innocent or otherwise breached the peace,we need to do our best to insure that he won't repeat the crime or he can't.

"Can't" might mean lifetime inprisonment or execution so a better choice results in a permanent "won't.

That "won't" isn't a possibility until the will of the offender to do right is greater than the urge to be selfish and destructive.

What are we doing on that front and what are these chronic offenders doing to help themselves?

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Oct 5, 2009, at 3:13 PM

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A once self-proclaimed entrepreneur with a strong background in photography, computer assembly, and digital arts/graphic design, Shawna is a dual-major graduate who was forced to leave a middle-management position after a serious accident and illness left her unable to work. As a mother of six and former teacher, she is now homeschooling her two youngest children and volunteers her time as an educator for the Bedford County Enrichment Homeschool Program.