When Talk of the Sound reported on Thursday that John Caldararo was arrested with a blood alcohol level of 0.4 of 1%, we only knew from the City web site that Caldararo was a Senior Building Inspector.
Thanks to a reader's comment, we now know that John Caldararo is not just a buildings inspector but the President of the New Rochelle City Civil Service Employees Association or CSEA. Had we known, we would have certainly led with that information as the CSEA, a unit of AFSCME, represents a very large number of New Rochelle's municipal employees.
This might explain a series of comments posted to the original story defending Caldararo or seeking to minimize the issue. These supporters are insisting that a DWI Arrest is a private matter (it isn't), calling him an "asset to our city" (he isn't) and minimizing the seriousness of the case (comparing a BAC of 0.4 of 1% to having a glass or two of wine).
That last one got us thinking. In New York State, like many states, a BAC of .08% of 1 is considered intoxicated. So, just how drunk was John Caldararo that he blew a ".4"?
To help run some numbers and get a sense of how many beers, glasses of wine or shots of whiskey he would have had to drink over the course of the day to get his BAC that high, we used an unofficial Blood-Alcohol Content Calculator.
Let's deal with the idea of one of Caldararo supporters that a .4 is similar to drinking a glass or two of wine at a barbecue. If a man of average weight drinks 2 four ounce glasses of wine over two hours at a cookout he will have a BAC of 0.15, not even remotely close to being legally intoxicated.
Caldararo stands 6' 4" and so figure he weights 250 pounds. He was pulled over at 7:40 PM on a Saturday so to create a scenario to test, let's assume for a moment he began drinking before lunch and kept on drinking steadily all day for a total of 8 hours.
A 250 pound man drinking just beer for 8 hours would need to consume 36 beers - a case and a half.
A 250 pound man drinking just wine for 8 hours would need to consume 40 glasses of wine - six and a half bottles of wine.
A 250 pound man drinking just 80 proof Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey for 8 hours would need to consume 43 one ounce shots - just under two bottles of whiskey.
If you cut the drinking time to 2 hours, he would need to consumer 36 1-ounce shots of whiskey or a little over 5 bottles of wine or 30 beers. However he was mixing and matching, Caldararo was doing some Olympic-caliber drinking that day.
To put this in context, take a look at this widely known table of known effect of alcohol at various BAC levels.
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AT SPECIFIC BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVELS (BAC)
The effects of alcohol are greatly influenced by individual factors; some people become intoxicated at much lower blood alcohol levels than others. In general however, the results below are usually a rough interpretation …
0.02 — 0.03 BAC: No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent.
0.04 — 0.06 BAC: Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution.
0.07 — 0.09 BAC: Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired (in most provinces and states .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive at this level). At this level of impairment, the typical reaction time of a driver is doubled, from 1.5 seconds to 3.0 seconds. You are now 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.
0.10 — 0.125 BAC: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle at this level of intoxication in all states and provinces. At this level of intoxication, you are 15 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.
0.13 — 0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria* is beginning to appear.
0.16 — 0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk." At this level of intoxication, you are 30 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.
0.20 BAC: Feeling dazed/confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand/walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people have nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.
0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.
0.30 BAC: STUPOR. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken.
0.35 BAC: Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia.
0.40 BAC and up: Onset of coma, and possible death due to respiratory arrest.
In other words, if Caldararo's arrest is just a case of bad luck, another wise normal person who happened to have one too many before hitting the road then by all accounts he should be in a coma or dead. Instead he managed to drive his 2004 Acura onto the Southern State Parkway. There is only one logical conclusion: Caldararo is not a social drinker and, by all evidence, a raging alcoholic.
In fact, since we first ran our story, numerous tips have come in that Caldararo is well known for his heavy drinking. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Caldararo is known to drink during the middle of the work day, drive city vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and has been banned from at least one establishment in New Rochelle over this drinking. Further, that the reason he was "promoted" out of his position of buildings inspector was, in part, related to concerns that as part of his job he was driving around in a city vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and that his has been the case for a lot longer than this past July.
How Caldararo intends to deal with the personal side of his alcohol problems is his business but his sitting behind the wheel of a City-owned vehicle is everyone's business.
A final note, there are four CSEA units in New Rochelle
- New Rochelle City #9173
- New Rochelle Cross Guards #9173-01
- New Rochelle Library #9173-02
- New Rochelle Housing #9176
Readers will certainly remember New Rochelle Cross Guards #9173-01 President Rosetta Pegues who was interviewed by the Journal News after Talk of the Sound first reported that guards were being paid for guarding corners at midday where no children crossed due to a shift to full-day kindergarten program the year before. Few crossing guards were bothering to stand their midday posts, others were found sitting in their cars or on lawn chairs reading books.
"They can't take if from us. We can't let them." Pegues told Hannan Adley, then of the Journal News, when asked whether guards should be getting paid for manning empty street corners while firefighters were being fired due to budget cuts.
UPDATE: Below is a copy of the court records on file with the Unified Court System