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DUI News Roundup: Charges Dropped in Three DUI Cases

November 9, 2011

In this DUI news roundup, we take a closer look at the DUI cases involving a high school principal, Nickelodeon actor, and manager at a local Alabama newspaper.


In this DUI news roundup, we take a closer look at the DUI cases involving a high school principal, Nickelodeon actor, and manager at a local Alabama newspaper.

Case One: Negative Breath and Urine Test Results

The DUI charge against a Florida high school principal has been dropped because the urine sample came back negative after it was tested for the presence of alcohol and drugs.

John Westmoreland, 60, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after a police deputy stated that the principal’s vehicle had been drifting in and out of its lane. The deputy also wrote that the “defendant’s eyes were slightly bloodshot and glassy and his face was flushed,” in the official police report.

Westmoreland agreed to undergo field sobriety testing and a Breathalyzer test. According to the police report, Westmoreland failed the field sobriety testing but recorded a .000 on two Breathalyzer tests. He then submitted to a urine analysis, which tested negative.

Since the urine and breath tests failed to detect alcohol or drugs in his system, the state attorney’s office elected to drop all of the charges against Westmoreland.

Case Two: Defendant Agrees to Reduced Plea

The DUI charges against one of the star’s of Nickelodeon’s (canceled) Gigantic have been dismissed after the defendant agreed to the reduced plea of alcohol-related reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor.

Ryan Rottman, 27, was arrested for drunken driving in July after he got into a car and jumped a curb in Hollywood. A police officer that witnessed the incident pulled Rottman over and smelled the odor of alcohol coming off of Rottman.

According to the police report, Rottman failed field sobriety testing. He then took a breath test, which reported a 0.19 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) on the Breathalyzer. A 0.08 or more BAC is considered intoxicated under California state law.

The reduced plea got Rottman a lighter sentence, which includes three years of probation, a $390 fine, and a three-month alcohol education course.

Case Three: Reduced Plea, Dismissed Traffic Ticket, Arresting Officer No Longer Employed

The DUI charge against the online sales manager of the Gadsden Times, a local Alabama newspaper, has been dropped; instead the defendant pleaded guilty to open container and improper lane usage charges.

James Howard “Jim” Hyatt Jr., 48, was arrested last July and charged with drunken driving, driving with an open container law, improper lane usage, and stopping in the middle of the road in July.

The city prosecutor working the case elected not to charge Hyatt with a DUI because the arresting officer involved in the case no longer works in the city. Additionally, according to court records, the traffic ticket for stopping in the middle of the road was dismissed.

Hyatt’s arrest stemmed from an incident in which a police officer saw him driving his Range Rover in oncoming traffic, and then ran the vehicle off the side of the road. When the officer pulled Hyatt over, he got out of his vehicle and started walking toward the officer. The officer commanded Hyatt back to his vehicle. Upon returning to his vehicle, Hyatt appeared to reach under the seat of the car. The officer held Hyatt at gunpoint until additional officers arrived.

When backup arrived, Hyatt underwent a breath test and blew a 0.39 percent BAC in the field. This figure was later adjusted to 0.29.

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