On Saturday, around 8 p.m., at 1810 E. Highway 30, Grand Island police stopped a vehicle driven by Jesus Guerrero-Hernandez for speeding.
Officers had previously observed Guerrero-Hernandez traveling northbound on Stuhr Road in excess of the 35 mph speed limit. When police activated the radar, they found he was driving his Chevy Malibu at 50 mph.
Police pulled over the vehicle and identified the driver as Guerrero-Hernandez. They found that he was required to have an ignition interlock device permit but did not have one in operation.
An ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for an individual’s vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting or continuing to operate the vehicle.
During the stop, police said Guerrero-Hernandez had “an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person, blood shot watery eyes and an open bottle of whiskey in plain view on the passenger floor board.”
Police asked Guerrero-Hernandez to perform a field sobriety test, which showed “gross impairment,” according to the report.
Police read him the portable breath test advisement form and he provided a failing breath sample.
Guerrero-Hernandez was arrested. He consented to a legal blood draw.
His vehicle was then searched, where police found a pistol concealed underneath the front seat.
Guerrero-Hernandez was arrested for speeding, DUI, open alcoholic container, ignition interlock device violation, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a controlled substance (mushrooms), possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Captain Jim Duering said that Guerrero-Hernandez having a concealed pistol was concerning especially when he was found to have illegal controlled substances.
“That is a bad combination almost always,” Duering said. “In this case, it was located after he was arrested so it wasn’t nearly as dangerous but his intention with a firearm is always concerning.”
Duering said the Grand Island Police Department deals with ignition interlock devices regularly. He said when a person’s driver’s license is run it will come back if that driver is required to have such a device in the car that they are driving, even if that vehicle is not registered in that person’s name.
In recent years because of increasing jail and prison costs, a state law was passed giving the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles the authority to have persons convicted of DUIs have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. The courts can also order a person to use such a device if they are convicted of a DUI.
Duering said it is another way to help police deal with repeat DUI offenders.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1.5 million people were arrested in a given year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means that one out of every 121 licensed drivers were arrested for drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 30 percent of road deaths were due to drunk drivers in 2017 or almost 11,000 people were killed.
Duering said Guerrero-Hernandez was only charged with DUI and not a subsequent DUI offense indicating that his previous DUI charge had yet to go to court.
In other police action over the weekend:
— Police were dispatched to 2908 Cottage Street on Monday at 2:25 a.m. While en route, officers were informed that a 17-year-old male threatened to shoot his step-father. After investigation, it was determined the threats were made and the juvenile male was cited for terroristic threats and later transported to Boys
— On Sunday, at 7:45 p.m., policewere dispatched to 2611 O’Flannagan St. in reference to the theft of a vehicle. When officers arrived, they spoke with Evelyn Mercado Ramirez who told them that her ex-boyfriend, Leopoldo Romero Chavez, had taken her 2014 Dodge Dart from her residence. Ramirez’s vehicle was later returned to her and Chavez was referred to the Hall County Attorney’s office for theft by unlawful taking.
— On Saturday, at 8:21 a.m., at Curran Avenue and Hidden Pointe Drive, police arrested Austin Leetch after he was contacted in a vehicle where he was the only occupant sleeping in the driver’s seat with the engine running and the vehicle parked partway on the sidewalk. Leetch was arrested for possession of controlled substance, false reporting, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest and driving on a sidewalk.