John David Hines, Boozing Fire Captain Who Mowed Down Cyclist, May Trade Jail for Prison After Allegedly Getting Hand Sanitizer Drink On
Here's another one I missed while out: Remember Long Beach Fire Captain John David Hines, whose 4 1/2 year prison sentence for boozing and mowing down a cyclist was stayed pending completion of a year in jail, five years of probation and $102,000 in restitution to his victim? He now faces the possibility of having to do the full prison stretch.
Why? He apparently got caught at the pay-to-stay Huntington Beach jail getting his drink on with hand sanitizer.
That would be a violation of his probation, and Hines has since been moved to Orange County Jail to await a March hearing that could ultimately send him to the big house.
Jailers, who report Hines was staggering about as if intoxicated on Jan. 17, believe he was making alcohol out of cleaning products he used while working as a jail trustee janitor. The hand sanitizer, which was loaded with alcohol, had been filtered with salt to detoxify it, according to jailers.
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Hines' slip brings fresh light to the arguments at sentencing by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz, who maintained the fire captain should have been sent to state prison term based on the severity of the crime and his having known first-hand the dangers of driving and driving as he worked as a paramedic and responded to DUI crash scenes.
The one Hines left on Westminster Avenue in Seal Beach the afternoon of April 1 was horrific. After spending the morning hours getting hammered in a Long Beach bar, Hines climbed behind the wheel of his Chevy pick-up and, without slowing or hitting his brakes, swerved into a bike lane and dirt shoulder before crashing into 47-year-old bicyclist Jeffrey Gordon. Thrown from his bike more than 70 feet before landing on the shoulder of the road, Gordon was later treated for head trauma, severe lacerations and bruising to his head and body, internal injuries, and spinal and vertebrae injuries that continue to nag him today.
Hines, who never found his brake pedal, continued driving while being followed by two other motorists who witnessed the crash and called 9-1-1. Seal Beach and Huntington Beach officers found Hines' truck with a large blood splatter and major front end and hood damage in the driveway of his Surf City home. Hines was still stinking drunk, having trouble keeping his balance, displaying watery and bloodshot eyes and emitting strong odors of alcohol and urine on his clothing. Hines blew .24 percent, three times the legal limit.
When Hines was sentenced, Gordon told the judge he was less upset by the lasting effects of the collision than he was by the possibility "the person who is responsible may suffer little or no consequences for his actions." It will be interesting to see if the judge finally makes things right.
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