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View Full Version : News 150 arrests, 11 DWIs and, now, 1 dead 4-year-old


Marcellus
10-26-2012, 08:37 AM
This story just blew me away. This is completely unfathomable.What basically amounts to laziness by people in the legal and justice system this guy was allowed to continue to drive drunk and killed yet another person.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/arrests-dwis-and-now-dead--year-old/article_33623393-92e4-5976-8ab2-96d43e77aec0.html

October 13, 2012 11:30 pm • Jeremy Kohler jkohler@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8337 and Joel Currier jcurrier@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8256
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Gregory Wynn came to in a hospital room in September 1983, battered from a car crash. His buddy Steve was in the next room in a coma. A nurse deflected questions about two friends in the car, who were dead.

St. Louis police detectives told him a driver named Ricky Weeden had sped through a red light and plowed into their car.

“They said they thought he had been drinking,” said Wynn, who escaped serious injury.

Police did not document any alcohol use. Prosecutors passed on filing a manslaughter charge.

It was the start of a trend. For the next three decades, Weeden drove recklessly. He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving 11 times. But police, prosecutors and judges never kept him off the road for very long.

Now authorities say he has killed a child.

Authorities said Weeden kept driving after hitting two brothers as they crossed St. Charles Rock Road in Pagedale on Oct. 5. Traye-shon Williams, 4, died at the scene. Jay’Shard Conner, 10, was released Tuesday from St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Wearing a leg cast on Friday, Jay’Shard used a walker to approach his brother’s casket for a final goodbye.

Weeden, charged with murder and assault, is being held at the St. Louis County Jail in lieu of $250,000 cash bail. Through jailers, he declined to be interviewed.

His son, Ricky Weeden Jr., said his father was “not a monster” but a “pillar of the community” who provided many people in north St. Louis County with jobs in their family construction business. He said his father did not have a drinking problem.

The record says otherwise. The state revoked Weeden Sr.’s drivers license in 1993, but Weeden kept driving, without insurance, speeding, running stop lights, swerving out of his lane, throwing beer cans out of his car window, giving police chase. He was arrested by 21 police departments in St. Louis County, sometimes berating and threatening officers. His ex-wife said he was pepper sprayed so many times, he was losing his vision.

In the last 30 years, he has been arrested about 150 times, almost always while driving in north St. Louis County. Six of his 11 DWI arrests resulted in convictions: four times on misdemeanors and two on felonies. He has served fewer than two years total in prison on the DWI charges. (He also has served time in prison on gun charges.)

Wynn, who is now 50, couldn’t believe it when Weeden’s name surfaced in news reports last week. It made him think of the friends he lost in 1983: Avance Wilson, 23, and Doris Ann Jones, 20. Steve Stanback, the other survivor, now 50, walks with a cane from his injuries.

“It is ridiculous,” Wynn said, “that it took this long for them to catch him. A child had to die.”

PROBLEMS EXPOSED

In 2009, a Post-Dispatch investigation showed how chronic DWI offenders routinely avoided felony charges.

The newspaper exposed a culture of cutting deals in municipal courts, where prosecutors and judges let many persistent drunken drivers escape convictions.

Weeden could have been a poster child. Courts missed several chances to convict him on felony charges. And at least five times, Weeden refused to have his blood-alcohol content tested and DWI charges were never filed.

After the series, the Missouri Legislature passed a law closing some loopholes and requiring judges to get training on state DWI laws.

But even as lawmakers sought to strengthen DWI laws, authorities missed two chances to take Weeden off the streets.

Wellston Police Officer Joe Brugmann stopped Weeden’s car on April 4, 2010, for missing a taillight. He said he could smell a “very strong” odor of alcohol on Weeden’s breath, and said his speech was slurred, police records show.

“I had a couple of beers, but I’m fine to drive,” he said Weeden had told him.

Brugmann said Weeden had failed a series of sobriety tests: the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the follow-the-finger test. Weeden refused a breath test, and Brugmann arrested him on suspicion of DWI.

Because of previous convictions, Weeden could have been charged with a felony, but prosecutors downgraded the case to a misdemeanor. Weeden pleaded guilty and served just 90 days in jail.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said Friday that prosecutors had agreed to a plea bargain because they lacked evidence that Weeden was legally intoxicated.

“There were issues with the field sobriety tests,” McCulloch said. “In all honesty, the officer was not at the time the most cooperative. He failed to appear for a couple of depositions. And there was no evidence of blood-alcohol level.”

When a driver refuses a breath test, police can seek a warrant for a blood test. That was not done in this case.

Brugmann could not be reached for comment. He no longer works for Wellston, and his Missouri peace officer’s license is currently suspended.

G.T. Walker, the Wellston police chief, said he stood by Brugmann’s work. “I don’t see any serious problems with the report,” Walker said. “It seems like he (McCulloch) had enough to make his case.”

This June, Wellston Officer Mark P. Matlack clocked Weeden driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone on Page Avenue. Weeden changed lanes suddenly without using a signal, and Matlack pulled him over, the police report shows. The officer said he saw Weeden pour out a 24-ounce can of Bud Ice and noted that his breath smelled of grain alcohol.

Weeden was booked on municipal citations for careless and reckless driving, speeding, driving in an improper lane, drinking alcohol while driving, and driving with a revoked license, no seat belt and no insurance. He also had 14 active warrants for his arrest.

Police did not test Weeden’s breath or blood for alcohol, nor did they notify county prosecutors of the arrest, McCulloch said.

“The officer knew he was drinking but felt he wasn’t sufficiently drunk to go further with it,” Walker said.

McCulloch learned of the arrest Friday. “It’s not the law that failed,” he said, “it’s the failure of that department not doing what should have been done.”

Walker noted that the department sent a sergeant to be certified in DWI investigations over the summer and that he will train other Wellston officers.

MISSED CHANCES

Pine Lawn police arrested Weeden for DWI three times — in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In each case, Weeden refused to take a breath test. Any one of the cases could have been charged as felonies with the potential to put Weeden in prison for up to 15 years.

None of the cases resulted in a conviction. Pine Lawn court officials did not respond last week to a reporter’s request to review the files.

Pine Lawn Police Chief Rickey Collins said he was reviewing files to determine why none of the three DWI arrests had resulted in a conviction.

In the 2002 case, Pine Lawn Patrolman Michael Waisner saw Weeden swerving as Weeden drove north on Jennings Station Road. The police report says Weeden threw a beer can out of the window during a brief pursuit. He pulled into a Shell station on Lucas and Hunt Road and tried to stumble away. Waisner sprayed Weeden with pepper spray when he refused to be handcuffed. In the squad car, officers shackled Weeden’s legs after he tried to kick out the rear windows of the car.

Interviewed on Friday, Waisner, who now works for the Warson Woods Police Department, said he remembered this case distinctly out of the hundreds he handled in Pine Lawn because Weeden was so violent. He said it was often frustrating to learn that an arrest did not result in a conviction. “If it was up to me, they would all get a mandatory sentence on the first one,” he said. Drunken driving is “an epidemic in society.”

In the north St. Louis County neighborhoods that Weeden menaced for decades, traffic came to a halt on Friday as a black and gold horse-drawn hearse carried Traye-shon’s casket to a grave in Laurel Hill Cemetery, near where he was run over.

Directing traffic were police from Pine Lawn, Wellston and Beverly Hills, some who knew Weeden long before Traye-shon’s death.

Denise Hollinshed of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

DMAC
10-26-2012, 08:42 AM
I know someone personally who has 6 DUIs in the past 3 years. Still drives.

gblowfish
10-26-2012, 08:45 AM
They should make a Bud Light commercial with this guy in it.

DA_T_84
10-26-2012, 08:46 AM
X-Factor has like 6 DUI's

Still manages to get to Arrowhead every Sunday.

Micjones
10-26-2012, 08:46 AM
That's insane.

Not sure how they can keep him off the roads though, short of locking him up.

Old Dog
10-26-2012, 08:55 AM
short of locking him up.

Well, there's a novel fucking concept

Frazod
10-26-2012, 09:21 AM
The line from Usual Suspects pops into my head - "Protected from up on high by the Prince of Darkness." This guy must be deeply connected.

I assume that will all blow up now.

bishop_74
10-26-2012, 09:24 AM
... and we're putting people in jail for marijuanna possession.

Micjones
10-26-2012, 09:49 AM
Well, there's a novel ****ing concept

You don't get much time for DWI's though do you?
The involuntary manslaughter I'm sure, but beforehand?

L.A. Chieffan
10-26-2012, 09:53 AM
They still have Bud Ice? I used to pound that shit back in HS

mikey23545
10-26-2012, 09:55 AM
I can't believe it took nearly an hour for the first pot sympathizer to veer off the road, over-correct and plow into this thread about DUIs.

KILLER_CLOWN
10-26-2012, 10:17 AM
Sounds like a Pillar of the community....strange days these are.

Molitoth
10-26-2012, 10:19 AM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/47/Dexter_Morgan.jpg/250px-Dexter_Morgan.jpg

okoye35chiefs
10-26-2012, 10:20 AM
is drinking bud ice considered HIPSTER?

Chief Roundup
10-26-2012, 10:30 AM
tax dollars hard at work there. WOW
Officers and Judges having to be sent off for training. Shouldn't that training be part of attain said position?

KChiefer
10-26-2012, 10:35 AM
I can't believe it took nearly an hour for the first pot sympathizer to veer off the road, over-correct and plow into this thread about DUIs.

The funny thing is that after someone's 10th pedestrian pot arrest they'd probably be looking at life in prison.

thebrad84
10-26-2012, 10:36 AM
So serious question. Lets say you are that 4-year-old's father. And you find out that the man who just murdered your child has that kind of history. Do you let him see court? That is, if he posts bond, which it sounds likely at some point if he has a successful construction business.

seamonster
10-26-2012, 10:37 AM
I'm sure some of these drunken circus clowns in this thread are the same people bemoaning the honey badger and his weed.

Personally, I put drunk drivers in the same class as child molestors. Animals. Put the surly douchbags in the state pen with tri-pod as a cell mate and release the weed smokers\hippies.

KChiefer
10-26-2012, 10:42 AM
I don't care what you're doing, how in the hell does someone get arrested 150 TIMES, not do significant time in prison...and still have a successful business?!?!?!

Al Bundy
10-26-2012, 10:46 AM
I don't care what you're doing, how in the hell does someone get arrested 150 TIMES, not do significant time in prison...and still have a successful business?!?!?!

Uhhmmm that is astounding.

Dave Lane
10-26-2012, 10:49 AM
They should make a Bud Light commercial with this guy in it.

Amen. Drinking and driving is the stupidest thing in the world. I'm not even a fan of drinking but if I drink I stay put, period.

Fish
10-26-2012, 10:52 AM
I don't care what you're doing, how in the hell does someone get arrested 150 TIMES, not do significant time in prison...and still have a successful business?!?!?!

$ > Justice

MagicHef
10-26-2012, 11:18 AM
You don't get much time for DWI's though do you?
The involuntary manslaughter I'm sure, but beforehand?

He killed 2 people in 1983.

FAX
10-26-2012, 11:29 AM
Jesus, man.

The good people of wherever-that-is need to absolutely roast their police force and prosecutor's office. Inexcusable. Just horrific.

FAX

Sannyasi
10-26-2012, 11:30 AM
I can't even fathom anyone driving drunk as much as this guy did. If he was arrested 150 times, how many times must he have drove drunk without getting pulled over?

ThaVirus
10-26-2012, 11:33 AM
I know someone personally who has 6 DUIs in the past 3 years. Still drives.

I know a guy that got two in a month period. His license is suspended for like a year or something now..

Marcellus
10-26-2012, 11:39 AM
So serious question. Lets say you are that 4-year-old's father. And you find out that the man who just murdered your child has that kind of history. Do you let him see court? That is, if he posts bond, which it sounds likely at some point if he has a successful construction business.

The parents of that 4 year old have a legitimate case for a lawsuit against a whole lot of law enforcement/ justice systems in that area.

It appears there are several municipal court systems at fault for not following through on stiffer prosecution.

The guy should have been locked up waaaaay before the 4 year old was killed.

I am not a believer in the litigation happy outlook we have as a society now but in a case like this I fully understand wanting to hold those cities accountable for their failings leading to my child being killed.

Maybe donate the $ to MADD afterwards or something. The 11 year old brother should have his college paid for.

Huffmeister
10-26-2012, 11:43 AM
I kind of wonder if the county could be sued for gross negligence.

thebrad84
10-26-2012, 11:55 AM
The parents of that 4 year old have a legitimate case for a lawsuit against a whole lot of law enforcement/ justice systems in that area.

It appears there are several municipal court systems at fault for not following through on stiffer prosecution.

The guy should have been locked up waaaaay before the 4 year old was killed.

I am not a believer in the litigation happy outlook we have as a society now but in a case like this I fully understand wanting to hold those cities accountable for their failings leading to my child being killed.

Maybe donate the $ to MADD afterwards or something. The 11 year old brother should have his college paid for.
Legitimate claim against the local govt aside, if someone with that kind of history of drinking and driving kills my son, I'm pulling some Time To Kill shit on his ass to make damn sure his ass never drives again

Discuss Thrower
10-26-2012, 11:57 AM
Exactly the reason why there are 3 strike policies for drunk drivers, yet this guy skates.

But someone who blows .08 gets nailed on their first ticket, go figure.

Micjones
10-26-2012, 12:20 PM
He killed 2 people in 1983.

Damn, I missed that part.
Good God.

Frazod
10-26-2012, 12:58 PM
I kind of wonder if the county could be sued for gross negligence.

I'd be willing to bet this guy's wrapped up in mob/union/local political bullshit and gets everything swept under the rug as a result. Hopefully this will blow the lid off it. Everybody who has enabled this fucking scumbag for so long should be thrown under the bus.

Preferably while he's driving it.

FAX
10-26-2012, 01:25 PM
Mr. frazod is right. There's likely some kind of wink, wink, Bob's your uncle deal going on here.

It is inconceivable that the guy was arrested 150 times resulting in such minimal punishment that he was able to eventually murder this child. Arrested 150 times. There has to be some sort of conspiracy at work here. Surely to God, no police force or prosecutor is that incompetent.

150 times. Caught 150 times. Jesus.

FAX

TinyEvel
10-26-2012, 02:00 PM
I met a man who killed a person in a head-on collision while driving under the influence, His first driving offense, and was charged with 187 murder in the first degree. He was sent to Folsom alongside serial murderers an gangland thugs. He was a model inmate who followed all the rules and was denied parole every time. Finally after ten years he spent all of his days learning the law and justice system, he appealed to a federal court and finally got out of prison after 19 years.

I'm not saying what he did was excuseable, but the fact the man in this story has the history he does and is not in a prison or can even be allowed to own or purchase a car, is preposterous.

In California after your second DUI you have to have a breathalyzer installed in your car that has to be blown into to star tit and every five minutes while driving.

CoMoChief
10-26-2012, 02:11 PM
When it's considered a felony in MO to get your 3rd DWI conviction....how can you get 11 and not be in prison???

CoMoChief
10-26-2012, 02:12 PM
I met a man who killed a person in a head-on collision while driving under the influence, His first driving offense, and was charged with 187 murder in the first degree. He was sent to Folsom alongside serial murderers an gangland thugs. He was a model inmate who followed all the rules and was denied parole every time. Finally after ten years he spent all of his days learning the law and justice system, he appealed to a federal court and finally got out of prison after 19 years.

I'm not saying what he did was excuseable, but the fact the man in this story has the history he does and is not in a prison or can even be allowed to own or purchase a car, is preposterous.

In California after your second DUI you have to have a breathalyzer installed in your car that has to be blown into to star tit and every five minutes while driving.

same way in MO now....the law just changed i believe.

whoman69
10-26-2012, 02:28 PM
Judges don't want to jail these people because we have too many drug offenders in there already. Shows how misguided a system is that cracks down on marijuana and leaves people out there who will kill and injure people. They should have at minimum made sure he was not able to drive again. The technology is out there.