SergeantMarkBustamante, Pima County, AZ Sheriff’s Department
The Unasked Question
On December 10, 2016, I was one of the supervisors for our DUI Task Force that evening. One of our deputies stopped a vehicle traveling 71 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. He requested a backup unit, and I responded.
He advised me in our cop or DUI code that he had a possible drunk driver. He made the arrest, and he escorted her to his vehicle. The deputy told the lady, identified as Yessenia Gonzalez, to get into the vehicle. She refused, and she put her foot in the rear wheel well of the vehicle. I pulled the foot away, and she was forcibly placed in the car by us. I lost focus for a split second, and she kicked me in the left eye with the heel of her boot.
I knew right there that I lost my eye. More units arrived, and Gonzalez was taken to another vehicle by another deputy, and he was assaulted by her as well. Her Blood Alcohol Concentration was .194.
I was advised by the County Attorney assigned my case that Gonzales was evaluated by a doctor and determined to be insane at the time she kicked out my eye. I asked how could this be? She had a BAC almost two and a half times the legal limit. Another evaluation was conducted on Gonzalez by another doctor. This doctor also determined Gonzalez to be insane at the time of the incident as well. Two doctors evaluated Gonzalez months after the incident, and she was probably sober.
I did not, and I still do not know how this diagnosis can be made without the consideration of alcohol
and its effects to Gonzalez during that life changing evening. I figured the questions I asked would be answered in court.
They never would be answered. The County Attorney wanted to plea this case out due to two doctors giving the same diagnosis. In Arizona, Guilty Except Insane is an affirmative defense. Let’s see what a jury will say about this.
A plea of three years probation eligible was offered and taken without advising me. As the victim I have rights. One of these rights is to be informed and to ask for my input. I forwarded this information to friends, and it somehow made it back to the County Attorney’s Office. I received a phone call from the Pima County Attorney herself Barbara LaWall. She stated she was sorry for what happened to me. She stated that there never was a time that two doctors gave the same diagnosis. She asked me what I wanted her office to do. I told her I wanted her to take this case to trial. She stated she would.
Another attorney was assigned to help the case. During this case, one of the attorneys took another job with the Attorney General, and the other one was promoted to Chief Criminal Deputy. He is running for Pima County Attorney in 2020. A third attorney was given this case. The plea was offered again and accepted for three years probation eligible. I was told that we would probably lose the case because of the evaluations,
and that Gonzalez would be held accountable for her actions during probation.
I spoke in front of the judge explaining I was not informed of the plea offer. It was not explained what exactly the plea entails regarding amounts of time Gonzalez would have to serve. The original charges were dismissed or watered down to its barest elements. Minimal charge equals minimal sentence.
At the Sentencing, I expressed my displeasure with the way my case was handled by the County Attorney’s Office. I was victimized as much by them as I was by Gonzalez. I explained no one had the courage to ask questions regarding insanity, PTSD, high levels of alcohol and how they affect the body. What was in control of Gonzalez when she resisted arrest and kicked out my eye? Sane drunks have assaulted and injured police and first responders. My daughter is a sophomore in high school, and she said that drinking alcohol changes one’s behavior. This will set a very bad precedent in the future for law enforcement and first responders. But no one wants the answers to those questions.
In the end, Gonzalez was sentenced to 5 years probation and 90 days in jail. She was taken into custody right there. The 5 years probation and 90 days in Jail are from her plea to the
charge of DUI over .15, and the sentences of Arizona DUI laws.
I would like to thank the Tucson Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They have supported my family and I through this.
After the assault on Sergeant Bustamante, he lost the use of his left eye. The injury in turn ended his career in law enforcement as he was forced to take early retirement. This life changing event for Mark is an example of the dangers our law enforcement heroes face each time they put the uniform on and walk out the door for their tour of duty. MADD appreciates and salutes heroes like Sergeant Bustamante who place themselves on the front lines in the face of these threats and dangers to make all our communities a safer place.
Chief Danny Sharp – Oro Valley, AZ Police Department
Chair – IACP Highway Safety Committee
In the 40 years since MADD’s creation, impaired driving crashes have continued to cause unnecessary death and injury, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 36,560 people were killed in car crashes in 2018. Impaired driving crashes killed 10,511 people; resulting in 28.75% of all fatalities that same year.
This is an unconscionable number to grasp when you realize that 100% of impaired driving crashes are preventable.
If enforcing alcohol impairment wasn’t difficult enough, increases in poly-substance abuse through the availability of synthetic opioids, over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, low cost methamphetamines and the legalization of marijuana, have created challenges for law enforcement in their attempt to effectively investigate and arrest impaired drivers.
In addition to complex roadside investigations, prosecutors are also having a difficult time in court explaining how poly-substance abuse affects impaired drivers and in many cases, they are having to forgo prosecution due to low BAC’s not hitting the presumptive limit.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), in collaboration with NHTSA, have been working hard to train drug recognition experts (DRE’s) across the country in an effort to improve drug identification and enforcement. NHTSA’s Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) courses are also being taught nationwide to bridge the gap between Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program. This program is also offered to other criminal justice professionals, such as prosecutors, in hopes of training them to better illustrate and understand the signs of impairment related to poly-substance use. Police officers and prosecutors alike have to become more technically trained if we hope to reduce impaired driving crashes.
As of October 2019, there were only 9,170 DRE’s worldwide. California Highway Patrol leads the nation with 1,894 DRE’s. Due to marijuana legalization in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ontario Provincial Police are aggressively training new DRE’s. Currently, the two organizations are hosting 25 DRE’s schools each year with the goal of adding 400 DRE’s annually.
Law enforcement needs more certified DRE’s if we hope to combat poly-substance impaired driving. I encourage all police departments to get their officers trained in ARIDE and DRE. If poly-substance abuse is going to be the “new-normal,” law enforcement needs to be prepared to effectively address it both on the road and in the courts.
Officer Ryan Goss – Oro Valley, AZ Police Department
Officer Goss is the recipient of MADD’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for Southern Arizona in 2019. He is very active in his agency’s enforcement programs to include impaired driving.
In addition to his DUI enforcement work, Officer Goss is trained and certified to operate his department’s radar equipment, perform roadside field sobriety tests and is a certified phlebotomist.
Ryan’s Chief, Danny Sharp, made the following statement, “Drug and alcohol impaired crashes needlessly kill more than 10,000 people each year. I am extremely proud of Officer Goss and his efforts in removing drug and alcohol impaired drivers from our community before they harm someone and I truly appreciate the wonderful partnership we have with MADD.
Officer Goss states, “It’s silly to do something like drinking, smoking marijuana or taking prescription pills greater than your dosage and going out and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. You don’t realize what it does to you. I’ve had multiple people that I arrest and they’re like ‘I felt fine’ and I say, ‘Well you did absolutely terrible’.”
Ryan is well qualified to be selected as our MADD February Officer of the Month for his work and dedication in keeping the roadways within his community safe.
Strong drunk driving laws are key to saving lives. That is why we’re so grateful to our legislative partners who have championed MADD’s mission to end the No. 1 killer on our nation’s roads. It is why, each year, we honor lawmakers whose outstanding work has put us closer to a future of No More Victims.
These are MADD’s 2019 legislative heroes in Congress:
The RIDE and HALT Acts introduced in 2019 would require alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles.
Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan introduced legislation to require drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles days after the Jan. 6, 2019 drunk driving crash claimed the lives of an entire Northville family. Dingell proposed a more wide-ranging measure in September. The Honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act requires federal regulatory action by 2024 to install drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles. The HALT Act is named for the five members of the Abbas family killed in this unthinkable tragedy: Issam and Rima Abbas and their three children, Ali, 13, Isabella, 12, and Giselle, 7. Thanks to Rep. Dingell’s leadership and tenacity on this issue, there is now momentum behind taking action to require life-saving systems in all vehicles.
MADD meets with Rep. Nita Lowey, a 2019 MADD legislative champion for her work to end drunk driving.
Representative Nita Lowey of New York has worked for decades to end the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving. Throughout her career, she has been a genuine force in this ongoing fight, including championing the successful effort to establish a national standard of .08 BAC, which has saved thousands of lives. Recently, Rep. Lowey proposed legislation to encourage more states to pass laws requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. Thirty-four states, including New York, currently have these laws, which have prevented more than 3 million attempts to drive drunk in the last 12 years. Additionally, through her position as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Lowey has worked to accelerate the development of in-vehicle technologies to prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle.
Senator Rick Scott of Florida introduced a bipartisan measure in October that could ultimately end drunk driving in America. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act by Sens. Scott and Tom Udall of New Mexico would require the installation of passive advanced drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles within four years. This technology would prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle and save 7,000 lives a year. Sen. Scott is also a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which is responsible for motor vehicle and highway safety programs and legislation. He has quickly emerged as a national legislative leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving.
MADD has recognized Rep. Jan Schakowsky for a lifetime of work to end drunk driving.
Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois chaired a March 2019 hearing of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee that focused on the government-auto industry research program supported primarily by government funds for more than a decade. At that hearing, MADD National President Helen Witty challenged the auto industry to move drunk driving prevention technology development out of the research labs and make it available to consumers as soon as possible, where it could save as many as 7,000 lives a year. Rep. Schakowsky is committed to motor vehicle safety and a true advocate in the fight to end drunk driving.
Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has consistently taken a leadership role in the fight to reduce drunk driving, including leading efforts to provide funding for a research program to develop a passive system for preventing a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. Now Senator Udall is working with Senator Scott of Florida on bipartisan legislation that would take the results of that research out of the laboratory and make the technology standard equipment in all new vehicles, like many other life-saving safety systems. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act has the potential to save 7,000 lives a year and will add to Senator Udall’s legacy of advancing meaningful measures to save lives and prevent injuries.
🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨: “@MADDOnline supports Yes on Prop 22 because it will save lives. Rideshare services help keep drunk and drug impaired drivers off of our roads by providing a convenient, reliable, and affordable alternative to driving.” Helen Witty – MADD National President pic.twitter.com/DxdtftgwkH
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2021 National Lifesavers Conference Registration is Open – Registration is now open for the 2021 National Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, which will be held virtually. Register here >
DRE State Coordinator Best Practices Guide to Managing an Effective DEC Program – contains guidelines and recommendations for state DRE coordinators to enhance their DEC Program.
On November 12, NHTSA published a Request for Information (RFI) on available or late-stage technology under development for impaired driving detection and mitigation. The RFI’s goal is to better understand the state of emerging technologies, particularly those targeting alcohol-impaired driving. The notice requests information about the capabilities, limitations, and maturity of impaired driving technologies that are being researched, developed, or marketed.
The State of Recruitment: A Crisis for Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies across the United States are struggling to recruit and hire police officers. Though agency-specific needs exist depending on size or locale, the difficulty with recruitment is a significant problem that is broadly affecting the field of law enforcement. This IACP resource provides an overview of recruitment by the numbers, discusses the factors driving the recruitment crisis and the impact on the profession, and identifies innovative approaches to recruitment. View the resource here.
MADD’s recently released Marijuana Survey Report on
Misconceptions about Marijuana Consumption and Driving