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Drunk Driving Victims and Offenders
Posted by Charles Esslinger on Apr 18th, 2014

LAPD officer killed by intoxicated driver:

During his long, successful career, Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer Chris Cortijo arrested over 3,000 DUI suspects. The 27-year police veteran, who also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, was a two-time LAPD officer of the year. Sadly, this Wednesday, Cortijo died after being hit by a diver who was high on cocaine.

The person responsible for Cortijo's death is 33-year-old Qaneak Shaney Cobb. According to prosecutors, Cobb was under the influence of cocaine when she rear-ended Cortijo as he was stopped at a traffic light in North Hollywood. This Tuesday, she plead not guilty to a felony DUI charge.

“The ultimate irony is that Chris spent his life keeping other people safe from people who drive under the influence,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said. “The ultimate in tragedy is that he gave his life up because somebody who callously … operated a vehicle under the influence.”

Jorge Villegas, who commands the LAPD's Valley Bureau, had nothing but positive things to say about Cortijo. After meeting him in 2006, Villegas “observed him to be an absolute quality, outstanding individual.” Just last week, Cortijo was honored as “Valley motor officer of the quarter” for his all-around performance in the field.

To demonstrate just what kind of officer Cortijo was, Villegas told a story about a recent encounter he had with a woman, who approached him in a North Hollywood Store. According to Villegas, the woman started recounting an incident about a motorcycle officer who had pulled her over for a traffic violation. The officer took the time to explain at length why she was driving dangerously and ended up giving her a warning instead of a ticket. As it happens, that officer was Cortijo. “She wanted me to know how appreciative she was, not only because he didn't give her a ticket, but because he had spent so much time politely explaining what she had done wrong and why it mattered,” Villegas said.

Plans for a memorial service to honor officer Chris Cortijo are currently being discussed with family members.


West Chester's worst drunk driver:

According to one prosecutor, Robert Landis is the worst drunk driver in Chester County, PA.

Landis has been arrested eight times for drunk driving since 1981, with more than half of his arrests involving a blood-alcohol content that was more than three times the legal limit. When he was arrested in 2010, Landis promised a judge that he had found sobriety through prayer. “This disease,” he said, “is out to kill me.” Unfortunately, Landis' reckless, intoxicated driving only led him to kill someone else.

Earlier this week, Landis admitted to causing the death of a motorcyclist last year in Westtown Township. Liam Crowley, 24, was killed last April after Landis pulled into oncoming traffic and hit him with his truck. At the time of the crash, it had been two years since Landis finished up his sentence for a 2009 DUI arrest. Although he was supposed to have an ignition interlock installed in his vehicle before having his license returned, there was no such system in his Dodge Ram.

On the night of Crowley's death, police found several empty beer cans in his Landis' truck. His blood-alcohol level was registered at .283 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit. Now, after pleading guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and driving without a license, prosecutors are trying to send Landis to prison for up to 17 years.

Assistant District Attorney Charles Garza said even though he's seen offenders with more DUI's, Landis was particularly dangerous because of how “overwhelmingly” intoxicated he has been behind the wheel. He's been arrested for DUI eight times, with arrests in 1981, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2005, and 2009. Until his 2009 arrest, Landis had never served more than eight months in prison for a DUI conviction.

For the Crowley family, politicians in Pennsylvania, and the community at large, events like this highlight the need for stricter drunk driving legislation. “Unless we all begin right now to make changes … there is a ridiculously strong chance that someone that you love will be hurt or killed by a drunk driver,” Liam's mother, Diane Crowley, told reporters. “Or maybe you yourself will be the offender. And that would certainly be a different kind of hell.”


Sources:

Los Angeles Times - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-cop-killed-drunk-driving-suspects-20140409,0,2484438.story#axzz2zA4J79RD

Philly.com - http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-16/news/49159244_1_robert-landis-top-prosecutor-license