Party Bus Joyride Ends With DUI at MN State Hockey Tourney

A hockey official in town to watch the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament ended up in handcuffs last week when he drunkenly took a party bus for a joyride through downtown St. Paul.

Michael Allan Schurrer, director of junior gold/bantam hockey teams in the Forest Lake, was arrested Thursday after he hopped on a small bus that was left running outside of Alary’s Bar near the Xcel Center. The door to the bus was locked, so it’s uncertain exactly how Schurrer boarded the bus, but one way or another he ended up behind the wheel.

Schurrer took the bus on a short trek around downtown St. Paul while a witness called police. Authorities located the bus about a mile from the bar, and they stopped Shurrer as he exited the vehicle. A police report of the incident noted that Schurrer “exhibited a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot, watery eyes, poor balance and slurred speech,” and he also “refused to perform any field sobriety tests.”

Despite his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, police had enough evidence to place him under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Slew of Charges

Schurrer earned a slew of charges for his drunken joyride, including:

  • Driving after the cancellation of a license.
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test.

Luckily for Schurrer, Alary’s Bar told police that they didn’t want to press charges for automobile theft.

Although the bar didn’t want to pursue charges for auto theft, it’s unlikely that Schurrer will get much leniency from the judge. Schurrer has had numerous run-ins with the law in the past, having been convicted of DWI on five different occasions between 1995 and 2008. He hasn’t carried a valid license since 1997, according to police.

Related source:

Tech Gadgets Help Minnesotans Thwart Burglars

Two Minnesota homeowners were tipped off to home invasions within the last two weeks with the help of their smartphone and a few handy gadgets.

Joe Craddock, who owns a home in South Minneapolis, was able to catch a fugitive red-handed using the Dropcam by Nest video monitoring system. Craddock said he was at work when he got an alert that there was movement in his supposed-to-be-empty home.

“It is really nice to have your phone, get an alert when there’s motion, be able to see a still of it, and click to see exactly what’s going on in your house,” Craddock said.

Craddock said the intruder was gone by the time police arrived, but he hopes the surveillance footage will help investigators find their man. Craddock added that his home monitoring system cost about $300, and it allows him to watch a live feed of his home on his phone or computer.

Baby Monitoring App Catches Thief

Police said Craddock’s case was the second time in a couple weeks a homeowner used their smartphone to prevent a burglary. A few weeks ago a Roseville woman was alerted to a man outside her residence thanks to her “Cloud Baby Monitor” app. The woman was living in Kansas for the winter when the app alerted her to a presence outside her Roseville home. She called local authorities and they were able to aprehend the suspect with stolen goods in his pockets.

The woman said the app, motion sensors and a monitoring hub cost less than $200.

“This woman does a do-it-yourself home burglary monitoring system for less than $200, and we catch a burglar basically walking out of the house,” Roseville Police Lt. Lorne Rosand said.

Maple Grove Crime Prevention officer Todd Strege said apps and user-installed systems are becoming more popular as homeowners are taking safety into their own hands.

“How readily available the equipment is now — plus as user friendly as it is — it’s not very hard to buy a complete system yourself and put it in.”

Home monitoring systems from Brinks or ADT can cost $600 a year, and that doesn’t even include installation fees.

Related source: CBS Minnesota

Madison Killing Echoes Ferguson Case

An unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday, sparking comparisons of the events in Ferguson.

According to the police report, Officer Matt Kenny, a 12-year department veteran responded to a call about a man jumping in and out of traffic and who assaulted a pedestrian. Kenny located the suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Tony Terrell Robinson. Before Kenny could approach Robinson, the suspect entered a nearby apartment. Kenny approached the apartment and said that he heard a disturbance coming from inside the home. Kenny forced his way into the apartment and a scuffle ensued. During the altercation, Kenny drew his weapon and fired at Robinson, fatally wounding him.

“The officer did draw his revolver and shot the suspect,” said Madison Police Chief Mike Koval in a press release. Chief Koval noted that Kenny immediately began administering CPR after he shot the suspect.

Quick Notes About The Case

Although details about the shooting are scant, here’s what else we know:

  • Officer Kenny was involved in another fatal shooting eight years years ago in what police described as a “suicide by cop” altercation.
  • Robinson had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and ADHD.
  • Robinson pleaded guilty to being a party to an armed robbery in 2014 and was still under police supervision at the time of the incident.

Protests Planned

The shooting came on the heels of the US Justice Department’s announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the shooting of Michael Brown. Protesters took to the streets to rally against the shooting on Saturday and Sunday, and more protests are planned for Monday and throughout the week. Police noted that the demonstrations were non-violent, and none of the protesters were arrested.

Chief Koval went as far as to say that the protests were an “appropriate” response, but he also urged protesters to use restraint and patience while the department investigates the incident.

Not all protesters are content with Chief Koval’s response. The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition in Madison demanded that the city pay for Robinson’s funeral costs and for any expenses related to the family’s healing process. They also asked that Kenny be “held accountable for the murder of Tony Robinson.”

Robinson’s mother said her son closely followed the events in Ferguson.

“My son was so into watching everything that happened in Ferguson,” she said. “He was one of the people that spoke out about this constantly. To turn around and have him die of the same things that he was so fearful of — it’s not fair.”

Related source: ABC, Yahoo, USA Today

Which Traffic Violations Raise Your Insurance Rates The Most?

Traffic violations are no fun. Not only do you have to pay the original fine, but once that’s over, you’ll also have to deal with increased insurance rates. Oftentimes these insurance upticks are much higher than the cost of the traffic citation, but which moving violations raise your insurance rates the most?

Thanks to a comprehensive analysis by the firm Marketwatch, we now know which traffic violations jack up your insurance rates the most. Not surprisingly, driving under the influence tops the list.

5 Violations That Increase Your Insurance The Most

On average, these five driving tickets will increase your insurance premiums the most.


2. Reckless Driving

3. Speeding 31+ mph over the speed limit

4. Speeding 16-30 mph over the speed limit

5. Careless Driving

See a trend there? Driving violations that put you or other drivers at a heightened risk for an accident all raise your rates the most. But now that we now which violations raise your rates the most, the question at hand is, “How much do these violations raise my rates?”

Biggest Rate Hikers

An analysis of the 50 states revealed that on average, your insurance premiums increase this much based on the violation you commit.

  • DUI  –  92.49%
  • Reckless driving  –  83.29%
  • Speeding 31+ mph over the limit  –  29.36%
  • Speeding 16-30 mph over the limit  –  28.06%
  • Careless driving  –  26.62%
  • Driving the wrong way  –  21.34%
  • Speeding 1-15 mph over the limit  –  20.54%
  • Improper passing  –  20.30%
  • Failure to stop  –  18.94%
  • Following too closely  –  18.86%
  • Failure to yield to pedestrian   –  18.78%
  • Failure to yield  –  18.71%
  • Not signaling  –  18.55%
  • Violating railroad rules  –  18.07%
  • Illegally driving in a carpool lane  –  17.91%
  • Driving without a license  –  16.47%
  • Not wearing a seatbelt  –  5.60%

So if you’re hit with a traffic ticket, don’t just pay the fine and assume that’s the end of it. If you’re not careful, you may end up paying hundreds or thousands extra in increased insurance rates. A traffic attorney can help you with your case and may be able to get the violation reduced or thrown out. Contact us today for a case evaluation.

Related source: Marketwatch


Justice Department Clears Darren Wilson in Ferguson Shooting

The United States Justice Department won’t prosecute former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for his actions taken during the fatal altercation with 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Although they won’t pursue charges, the Justice Department did issue a scathing report criticizing the city and the law enforcement’s handling of the situation. In the report, the Justice Department said the city and Ferguson police exhibited racial bias and unconstitutional practices,  The report said the city and its officers created an environment that thrived on the systematic mistreatment of minorities. This type of environment was created through numerous activities, including:

  • Disproportionate searches and seizures
  • Excessive force against minorities
  • Disproportionate fines against minorities for petty offenses
  •  Frequent trading of racist emails and jokes

Attorney General Eric Holder said that bringing these faults to the surface is only the beginning. Now it’s up local leaders to create change.

“Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action,” said Holder.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Brown family, said he was disappointed with the ruling.

“I really was hoping they would have come up with better findings because this whole thing just does not add up,” he said. “Everything just doesn’t make sense.”

Wilson Cleared

Despite the condemning report, the Justice Department decided not to pursue charges against Darren Wilson, noting that there was not sufficient evidence to disprove that Wilson feared for his life nor was their reliable testimony that proved Brown had his hands raised at the time of the shooting.

The Justice Department concluded that Wilson did not commit a federal rights violation because he didn’t willfully violate Brown’s civil rights through the use of excessive force. This ruling isn’t unusual, as decisions made in the heat of the moment in a life threatening situation typically favor the officer, not the other party.

Hopefully the Ferguson police department will institute numerous systematic changes, and although it won’t bring their son back, hopefully the Brown family can find some peace out of this terrible situation.

Related source: Yahoo, AP

Man Fools Cops By Hiding Pot in Box Labeled “Not Weed”

A Nebraska man suspected of driving under the influence pulled off an elaborate scheme over the weekend to fool cops into thinking he didn’t have drugs in the car. Instead of storing his marijuana in a container labeled “Weed,” Jordan Meier cleverly stashed his marijuana in a sour cream tub labeled “Not Weed.”

Ok, maybe that’s not exactly how it went down.

Lancaster County deputies stopped Meier around 9 p.m. on Saturday after noticing that he was driving erratically. Although it doesn’t detail if Meier submitted to a field sobriety or breath test, authorities had enough evidence to place Meier under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Authorities decided to search Meier’s vehicle after he was arrested. While they were searching the 21-year-old’s car, authorities stumbled upon a 16-ounce sour cream tub under the driver’s seat. Written on the container were the words, “Not Weed.”

“We call that a clue,” said Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner.

Shockingly, the container labeled “Not Weed” was packed with about 11 ounces of marijuana. Meier was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and he received a $100 citation for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Meier had three passengers in the car at the time of the stop. Authorities say they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Not The Brightest Bulbs

This isn’t the first time a suspect thought they could pull a fast one on the police. Here’s a list of some of our favorite criminals that we’ve featured on the blog.

1. Man Claims He’s Not Drunk, He’s Just Tired From X-Mas Shopping.

2. Oregon Couple Tries To Tip Waitress With Crystal Meth.

3. Man Blames DUI On Attempting To Avoid Elephant In The Road.

Related source: Lincoln Journal-Star

One Year in Jail For Truck Driver Who Blew By School Bus

An Apple Valley truck driver has been sentenced to one year in jail, with four months stayed for two years after video surfaced of him speeding by a school bus and narrowly missing a 13-year-old girl.

Allen Howard Morris, 48, was convicted of a gross misdemeanor after a dashcam caught him passing a school bus on the right hand side when its red flashers were displayed. In addition to the year in jail, Morris will have to:

  • Remain on probation for two years.
  • Pay a $1,000 fine.
  • Write an apology letter to the family of the girl he nearly hit.

Shocking Video

We actually covered this story when it first broke back in 2014. According to the police report, Morris was driving his semi behind a school bus on a two-lane section of Hwy 23 between New London and Paynesville when the bus put its flashers on and began to slow down as it approached a stop. Morris, who told officers that he was looking at a field and not paying attention to the road, said he looked back at the road and he realized he wouldn’t be able to stop in time , so he swerved to the right and blew past the bus at a high speed.

Thankfully he didn’t strike 13-year-old Alexis Schwartz, who was waiting to board the bus. Schwartz said after the incident that her “heart was pounding awfully fast and [her] hands were shaking because [she] was so scared to have it come up that close.”

You can see video of the near-accident below.



Despite his lack of awareness on the road, Morris did make the conscious decision to turn himself in after he learned that police were investigating the matter.

Now that March is here and the weather will start warming up, you’ll likely start seeing cars traveling faster on the roads. As speeds increase, so too does stopping time. Make sure you give school buses and emergency vehicles plenty of room in the event they have to make a unexpected stop. Also, if you think you’re up to par on Minnesota’s school bus stop arm laws, test your knowledge with our quiz!

Related source: Pioneer Press.

Can I get into Canada with a DUI?

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but sometimes avid fishermen want to head north of the border to check out the fishing holes in Canada. Fishing in Canada can be a lot of fun, but crossing the border can be difficult if you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence.

You’ve probably heard the rumor that you can’t get into Canada with a DUI, but that’s not true. That said, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you can’t just waltz across the border. According to the Canadian government, there’s two ways you can get into Canada with a DUI:

  • If you’ve been convicted of a DUI within the past five years, you’ll want to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa. This will allow you to enter Canada for no longer than six months.
  • If the DUI occurred more than five years ago, the best way to get into Canada is to apply for a rehabilitation permit. Once you fill out the rehabilitation application, you’ll need to mail it in along with $200 (Canadian). Assuming everything is in order, you’ll be granted admittance into Canada.

Plan Ahead

It might seem like a pain to apply for admittance, but Canadian authorities are well within their rights to deny entrance into the country if you’ve been convicted of a DUI. In fact, denial of admittance isn’t just limited to DUIs. You can be denied entrance in Canada if you have any serious criminal conviction, or if you lie about a past conviction.

Additionally, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’ll need to apply for temporary residency or a rehabilitation permit even if you don’t plan on driving. Border patrol has turned away guests on the Victoria Ferry who have obtained a one-day sightseeing pass because they failed to secure a residency or rehabilitation permit. The same idea applies if you’re a passenger in a car. Even if you don’t plan on driving, that DUI can come back to haunt you if you don’t obtain the right permits.

The Link Between Depression and Violent Crime

Just this week we wrote that even though arrests are down, our jail cells are still filing up. The problem is that many of these repeat offenders aren’t getting the mental health help they need. Instead, they are simply thrown in jail and left to their own devices once they’ve served their sentence. The legal system is not addressing the problem.

Today, we’ve learned of a new study that links mental health issues to increases in violent crime. According to a study by researchers at Oxford University, individuals diagnosed with depression are about three times more likely than the general population to commit a violent offense.

Researchers came to that conclusion after examining a group of roughly 47,000 depressed people and almost 900,000 non-diagnosed individuals over the course of three years. They found that clinically depressed individuals had a higher risk of self harm and harm to others.

While depressed individuals may be three times as likely to commit a violent offense than the average person, researchers emphasized that the vast majority of clinically depressed individuals have not been convicted of a crime, nor will they.

“One important finding was that the vast majority of depressed persons were not convicted of violent crimes, and that the rates … are below those for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and considerably lower than for alcohol or drug abuse,” said Seena Fazel, who led the study at Oxford University’s psychiatry department.

According to the study, crimes more often committed by depressed individuals than the general population include:

  • Robbery
  • Sexual offenses
  • Assault

Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide, yet we’re still hesitant to talk openly about the disease. Far too often we punish violent offenders for the crime instead of pairing punishment with mental health evaluations and treatments. Without treatment, recidivism is likely.

Fazel said many people want to ensure depressed individuals don’t self harm or commit suicide, but little attention is given to their likelihood of lashing out at others. He hopes to conduct future studies on why depressed individuals are more likely to commit a violent offense.

“Is it about not being able to think through things, not being able to make judgments about risk? Is it irritability? Impulsiveness?” he said. “If we can get more of a handle on that, it could really help treat these people.”

Related source: Fox News

How Police Get You To Confess To A Crime You Didn’t Commit

You’ve all seen the way Hollywood portrays interrogations on television. A dark room, spotlight on the accused, maybe a little good cop-bad cop action. Now, that’s not exactly how interrogations go down in the real world, but police officers are very good at getting people to admit to things or to implicate themselves during these sessions. Don’t think you’d crack under the pressure? Check out this study out of the United Kingdom that may prove otherwise.

According to the study, by using a combination of misinformation, encouragement and three hours of discussion, 70 percent of people admitted to a crime they didn’t commit. More interestingly, not only did the participants admit to a crime they didn’t commit, they claimed to recall full-blown, detailed experiences from events that never occurred.

False Confession Study

Concocting a false confession is no easy task. Researchers in this study tried to get college-aged students to cop to a crime they didn’t commit by sprinkling the truth into a false narrative. For example, the team of scientists did a little background research on their subjects prior to questioning in order to learn some facts about the participants. Surprisingly, the only facts they learned about the participants were the name of their best friend and where they grew up. Also, for the sake of transparency, it’s worth noting that police obtained these details from a parent or guardian, not the participants.

Once researchers had a few details, they went to work on the participants. The teams conducted three 45-minute interviews with the students, during which the participants shared details about a true experience, and heard a tale from the interviewer about a fabricated event, which had true details sprinkled in (like their best friend’s name or the town they grew up in).

After nearly three hours of feeding the students the verified information, the interviewer created a fabricated event to suggest that the student had committed a crime in the past. After being told so many true details, many of the students believed that they had in fact were criminals, even though the event never occurred. One student even told the interviewers what weapon she used, what started the fight and what she was eating for dinner the night the cops came to her door, even though nothing like that ever took place.

In the end, 70 percent of the non-criminals copped to criminal acts. Lead researcher Julia Shaw said the results were “definitely unexpected.” Shaw originally suspected her team could convince about 1 in 3 students to falsely confess.

Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, says memory is a lot like a Wikipedia page. Memories can be altered or edited depending on the narrative being fed, and once your brain believes it to be true, your mind fills in any gaps to complete the story.

“When the patchwork of memory gets stitched together and internalized, truth and fiction become indistinguishable,” said Loftus.

That’s why it’s so important that you express your right to remain silent and to retain legal counsel. If you don’t, you might end up copping to a crime you didn’t commit.

Related source: NPR

by Appelman Law Firm