Saturday, June 23, 2012


The weekend is not the time for a blogger to write serious stuff unless it is an urgency/emergency since most have better things to do than read a blog. This weekend will be no exception.

None the less the news Friday of Fire Chief's Tidwell being stopped for DUI in South Plainfield early Wednesday morning about 1am can not escape comment.

Like everyone else, my knowledge of the circumstances is only 3rd person from reading the Courier. My first impression was that he was just plain unlucky. The breath analyzer gave a reading of 0.09 when 0.08 is the legal upper limit for operating a vehicle.

That is just like a running backs heel hitting the edge of the sideline chalk briefly while running 80 yards for a touchdown, only to have the ball placed back on the 10yard line.

Don't misunderstand; the law is the law and 0.9 means legally under the influence.That is a statistical level set to provide a legal guide line.

However there are many whose metabolism makes them more susceptible than others. Someone whose reading would be 0.07 may have less control of his operational facilities than one with the 0.09 reading.

If at 1 am in the morning with no oncoming traffic one might be tempted to ride in the middle of the street or even be close to the double line that it would be easy to stray over. In Tidwell's case what is not noted is how great was the distance between the two violations that suggested lack of control of the car.

South Plainfield Lt. Kevin Murtagh said in a statement."The vehicle then traveled straight in a marked left-turn lane" near New Market Avenue.”

I wonder under the same circumstances with no cars on the road at an intersection where there is a left turn lane at 1 am how many of us have not moved into the through lane?

Yes the Chief was unlucky to have caught the attention of a vigilant Police Officer, but if the Breath Analyzer was accurate and the test administered properly that even though the result was only 0.01% over the limit, by law the charge of DUI must stand.

Ahead are two interesting actions. The first is of course the legal process; the second is how the City handles the possible violation.


  1. The fire chief made a bad decision and we can only hope that he doesn't have a deeper problem. I think if he did have a drinking problem his alcohol level would have been much higher. I wish him luck and I don't this this should be a big deal. If our Public Director can get away with soliciting male hookers in a police vehicle on a police computer, then this is nothing. Good luck to Chief Tidwell.

  2. Have you ever watched crabs in a bushel basket. They try to bring anyone down who is trying to reach the top. The chief was looking too good. He was succeeding in getting some of his men promoted and capturing grants to upgrade their equipment. He was a bright light on the management team-intelligent and articulate. That just may have been too much for the crabs in the basket.
    Yeah the news got out real quick didn't it.