It ain’t over till it’s over! Wendy Halloran’s latest investigative report on the continuing saga of Rick Van Galder’s outrageous jail stay for Super Extreme DUI won’t be her last. And the impact her team is having makes it clear that when it comes to potentially deadly behaviors like super extreme drunk driving, the public does not want Anyone to think they are above the law.
Van Galder should have been treated like the potential killer that he was on the night of February 12, 2016. However, other than the arresting officers in Gilbert, seemingly everyone else conspired to give Van Galder the easiest prison stay we’ve ever heard of. Short of three stinking days, his time ‘served’ was mostly spent in Detention Manager Jeff Landrum’s office surrounded by friends with visits from his wife.
Van Galder even hung out in the jail’s Control Room! Let that one sink in … The control room is the surveillance center of the jail. This is the room with monitors, controls for cameras, and trained personnel to actively watch the prisoners and react immediately in the event anything out of the ordinary happens. From a standpoint of focus and attentiveness, the job is like air traffic control. In other words, it isn’t an employee lounge.
While reading any of the stories about Van Galder, you should always ask yourself, “How would *I* have been treated?” Chances are, if you were ever arrested for Super Extreme DUI, you didn’t go gift card shopping when you got out of jail. Rick did. He brazenly gave gift cards to the jail employees who made his stay so sweet. The department’s own internal investigation exposure of this is a small part of the fallout being experienced by Van Galder’s friends who have been either demoted or suspended.
But the legal system isn’t through with Rick Van Galder yet, and now the judge who sentenced Van Galder to jail gets to decide if that jail stay matched his intentions. This sounds extraordinary, but spending time outside of confinement during his jail stay is a violation of the probation which was part of his sentence.
Judge John Hudson ordered Van Galder to serve his time at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Lower Buckeye jail. As it was, Van Galder didn’t think he deserved jail time. But the thought of spending time in a jail like Arpaio’s sent him into a tailspin.
That’s when he got his buddies involved to let him serve his time in Scottsdale where they could protect him from what surely would have been an unpleasant experience.
How different things could have been, had Rick Van Galder simply admitted to himself when he was pulled over that he had made a terrible choice and would have to face the consequences of his actions. Instead, he acted pompous and indignant from the get go. He wound up embarrassing himself and his department. He crippled the careers of others around him in an attempt to avoid what little punishment a super extreme drunk driver gets. His fear of staying in one of Joe Arpaio’s tents became his motivation to get others involved.
His actions even led to his wife, Homicide Detective Teresa Van Galder being investigated for ‘bringing disrepute’ to her department.
All this because Rick Van Galder thought himself above the law. He is a poster boy for how much trouble you can cause by not standing up and taking responsibility for your actions. He doesn’t like being caught and he doesn’t like attention for his bad behaviors.
When he found out Halloran’s crew was in court for his appearance last week, Rick hid out in another room and refused to enter the courtroom. His lawyer complained about the press being present, but the Judge had given them permission to be there.
In fact, Rick believes everything that has happened to and around him since his arrest is the fault of investigative reporter Wendy Halloran! “That reporter has basically made my life hell,” whines Van Galder who STILL cannot come to terms with HIS serial drunk driving, HIS attitude, and HIS corrupt way of weaseling out of the punishment he truly deserves.
No, Rick. Your life is hell because you are a serial drunk driver who recklessly endangered the public you served and thumbed your nose at a legal system which tries to protect us from the likes of you. You think everyone around you should be so impressed, they’ll give you a pass on aberrant behaviors like putting the lives of others at risk without caring.
Come January, Judge Hudson gets to have a final say. Hudson had signed off on Van Galder’s infamous sentence relocation request. It looks like even the judge in this case was willing to show Rick a little ‘professional’ courtesy. Or perhaps he is a little soft on drunk driving. Fortunately, probation violation takes things to the next level. If Judge Hudson sends Rick back to jail, it could be for longer than three days. This will be Hudson’s chance to send Rick packing to camp out in one of Sheriff Joe’s tents. Rick’s next scheduled appearance is January 12, 2017. Let’s see what the new year brings.