Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blood test shows driver who hit KU student on Tennessee Street was drunk

November 29, 2012


The driver in an Aug. 26 car accident — in which a Kansas University student from Derby lost both of his legs — registered a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, according to results released by the Lawrence Police Department.

A Ford Explorer driven by Kansas University student Julian M. Kuszmaul, 21, Lawrence, struck and pinned 18-year-old Colby Liston between Kuszmaul's vehicle and another. The vehicle Liston was standing behind was illegally parked in a driving lane of the 1600 block of Tennessee Street.

Test results that Lawrence police recently received showed Kuszmaul had a blood-alcohol level of 0.25 shortly following the accident. The legal limit to drive is 0.08.

An officer responding to the 1:30 a.m. accident “immediately observed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Kuszmaul’s mouth when he spoke,” and “also observed a strong odor of burnt marijuana from Kuszmaul’s clothing and vehicle,” according to a police report. Though Kuszmaul told officers he slammed on the brakes as he approached the other car, police said they found no skid marks.

Following the accident, both of Liston's legs were amputated above the knee.

Kuszmaul was not arrested after the crash, but police will forward the test results to the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley.

The blood alcohol test results for the driver of the vehicle Liston was behind, Dustin A. Erickson, 21, Derby, registered at .02, below Kansas' legal limit of .08.

At the scene, Kuszmaul refused a breathalyzer test, but based on the circumstances of the incident, police were able to obtain blood tests from Kuszmaul involuntarily, McKinley said.

Under state law, a breathalyzer refusal triggers a one-year driver's license suspension, in addition to other sanctions.

A search of Douglas County Court records shows Kuszmaul has received at least five speeding tickets since 2006.


milehighhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Judge not lest ye be judged?

Not on this online forum!

Here we go...

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 4 months ago

It is very unfortunate that driving a motor vehicle on the public roads in this country appears to be considered a right, and not a privilege that is earned by the demonstration of the ability to do so safely.

KiferGhost 5 years, 4 months ago

Excellent point. Why are the laws not enforced today? I can't remember the last time I've seen radar ran in town. There use to have laws on proper lighting and noise which aren't enforced.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Standing in the street behind an illegally parked car, without any hazard lights on, at night.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago


So you think it was smart to do that?

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

That's what I remember from previous articles on the story.

If the hazard lights were off, and it was nighttime, and he was standing out in the street behind the car, I'd say that was a stupid decision.

Also, it may even be "contributory negligence" for the driver to park the car illegally in that lane without the hazards on, legally speaking.

Don't get me wrong - I blame the drunk driver quite a bit. If they'd been sober, they almost certainly would have seen the car and avoided it.

gccs14r 5 years, 4 months ago

It's not the ABS that's bad, it's that the police are still programmed to expect to see them. Dude was still way too hammered to be driving, regardless.

I'd like to see more of those "novelty" breathalyzers in bars, but designed to be reasonably accurate and free of charge. I think people would be shocked by how few drinks it takes to be over the limit and would modify their behavior.

Food_for_Thought 5 years, 4 months ago

"It's not the ABS that's bad, it's that the police are still programmed to expect to see them."

You know, you really shouldn't comment on something when you don't know what you're talking about. It makes you look ignorant.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm amazed that someone doesn't like anti-lock braking systems. But then, I don't like automatic transmissions. With one of those, any idiot can drive a car.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

What a horrible situation for everyone. A person has lost their legs and endured incredible pain and another is likely going to prison. My condolences to everyone.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not as sure as you he will receive no prison time. You could be right. That's for the jury to decide. I'm not sure what good a civil suit will do. Given this severe lapse in judgment, it's going to be hard to find work that even approaches what the victim deserves.

It's really an all-around horrid situation.

dwendel 5 years, 4 months ago

Cheeseburger. It is common knowledge that the USA has by far the highest incarceration rates of any industrialized nation -- probably higher than all the less developed countries too.. I understand your sentiment, but your assertions that "no one gets time for anything" is flat out wrong, and undercuts the credibility of whatever else you might have to contribute.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Kuszmaul needs to lose his license for life. That's just for starters. Then he needs to have his wages garnished to the tune of 50%, also for life. Give 90% of that money to the young man who lost his legs and the rest to put up a billboard advertising this tragedy. If just one person sees that billboard and chooses a different path, it will be worth it.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

No, he needs to go to court and serve his sentence and then face a civil suit, then have 30% (or whatever the limit is) garnished from his paycheck by a judge.

We can't abandon the law because we have deep feelings about a subject.

cowboy 5 years, 4 months ago

Isn't alcohol great ? Lawrence's number 1 industry

KiferGhost 5 years, 4 months ago

And the city even provides TIF benefits to businesses including large bar operations. A town with little vision.

James Minor 5 years, 4 months ago

Legalize marijuana so drivers can be high and drunk. It is sad that someone lost their legs because of some two bit hootch. Wonder how this accident would have been handled in Europe???

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 4 months ago

yes, because without legalizing it that wouldn't be at all possible. If we just maintain this war on drugs we'll continue to see no marijuana usage at all just like right now.

Having grown up in this town I will tell you with 100% certainty that it is FAR easier for a high school student to acquire marijuana than it is for a high school student to acquire alcohol.

md 5 years, 4 months ago

jayhawken if you have EVER drank and drove u have no right to judge

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

I haven't, so I have every right to judge.


Drinking and driving is a very stupid and irresponsible thing to do, and there are many preventable tragedies as a result of it.

Given the information that's been made available, everybody should be aware of that, and act accordingly. Drink less, use a designated driver, take a cab, etc. There's really no excuse for drinking and driving.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

You've never had the pleasure of waking up in a parking lot five miles from the bar wondering how you got there? It's as close to time travel as we'll ever experience.

If you insist on trying it, get someone else to drive,

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago


Not interested.

I was drunk once, and I didn't like it, so I see no reason to repeat the experience - and there was no car involved at the time.

asixbury 5 years, 4 months ago

Especially since KU has a free ride system for students.

ascgrown 5 years, 4 months ago

Kuszmaul probably feels terrible about the incident, but maybe he should still get the Nancy Kerrigan treatment. Eye for an Eye and all.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 4 months ago

Here comes a really judgmental comment from me, BUT, let me wager a guess that the driver's parents were footing his car insurance bill. 5 speed tickets as a 21 year old = insane car insurance premiums. However, if he was on his parents dime, what care did he have? I remember getting my first speeding ticket because that was the day my parents kicked me off their insurance. This is how you learn responsibility. Parents who provide it all offer their child no incentive to ever have to grow up and act in a responsible faahion. When I was a student at KU years ago, I could always tell which kids in class had their tuition bill paid by mom and dad; they were the ones reading the newspapee in the back of the room, or simply not there at all. Those of us who paid our own tuition understood what this opportunity cost and acted accordingly.

Deb Engstrom 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad it worked for you. It doesn't work for everyone. Some just choose to drive without insurance.

rtwngr 5 years, 4 months ago

Careful there, Renaissance. That's all dangerously close to hate speech. You're expecting people to be accountable for their own actions and that's not the way we do things anymore. It's not their fault. It's the white, rich guys of society that are to blame. They are the ones that need to be punished. Not this poor fellow that drank too much and smoked a little reefer.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago


I imagine there are plenty of "white, rich guys" who pay for their children's college education, cars, etc.

In fact, poor folks can't afford to do that, right?

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

" I hope Kuszmaul's parents do have money, so Liston can get a good judgement with a civil suit."

Since when can an adult be fined for another adult's action? Whoever pays for the insurance will pay more, but I don't really think the idea of punishing the parents for the acts of their child is how we do things in America.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 4 months ago

Bible Lesson For Today:

Deuteronomy Chapter 24, verse 16:

"The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

For well over 2,000 years, that has been interpreted as meaning that no one is to be punished for someone else's transgressions. That's a basic Jewish and Christian concept. And, it is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and in our state laws as well.

Water 5 years, 4 months ago

Why no comments about the vehicle illegally parked in the driving lane? Even a sober driver could have slammed into the rear of the parked car.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps, but it's much less likely.

How many cars have you slammed into while sober?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 4 months ago

The driver behind is responsible, end of story. You're supposed to be looking out at the view through the picture window that's installed in the front of your car.

You may admire the view, but pay attention.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, being illegally parked could be considered "contributory negligence" perhaps.

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