Wackiest DUI Cases
Reviewing some of the world’s wackiest DUI cases is a good reminder that it’s not just driving automobiles that can get us into trouble when we’ve had too much to drink. Virtually any motorized, pedaled, self-propelled, mechanized or other type of vehicle can land you in a heap of trouble if you operate it while drunk. The following are 10 wacky DUI cases where the vehicle involved was unusual, and one traditional DUI case featuring some decidedly strange details…
You can’t legally operate a boat of any type while drunk, and a case last year in the San Juan Islands illustrates why not. After taking a bunch of guys on a fishing trip in July of 2011, the owner of a 22′ fishing vessel got a little too tipsy and tipped the boat right into the waters of Wasp Bay. His passengers were ejected out of the vessel, with some of them suffering serious injuries.
The boat owner pled guilty just last month to Boating under the Influence and has tens of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution to pay. That is, of course, after he gets out of jail. (1)
Some motorized wheelchairs are pretty fast, thanks to advancements in technology. But in 2008 one Australian man took his chair a little too far when he got hammered and drove it on the interstate. Then, in a possible bid to sober up some, the man decided to take a nap . . . directly on the exit ramp. Police found him sleeping in his wheelchair, which was parked on the ramp so that vehicles were forced to go around him in order to make the exit. He was given a breathalyzer and arrested on the spot for DUI. (2)
A combine is a behemoth piece of machinery. Used to plow and work fields of immense size, in the wrong hands a combine can be extraordinarily dangerous. But that didn’t stop a 57 year-old man in Pennsylvania from getting smashed and then stepping behind the controls to tend a bean field. Police were called because in the process the drunken farmer accidentally tended to someone’s mailbox with the machine. The result? A DUI arrest. (3)
If you’re desperate enough to be getting drunk from vanilla extract, you’re probably not thinking too much about getting arrested, injured or incarcerated or killed in a drunken driving accident. This was obviously the case in 2010 with a 3-time DUI arrestee in Tennessee. After driving to an elementary school – presumably to pick up a child there – a woman passed out in the parking lot; her vehicle askew enough to garner the attention of the local police.
Upon investigating, the police found numerous empty bottles of vanilla extract and cans of diet cola. They arrested the woman and charged her with her third DUI after observing her first passed out and then subsequently slurring her speech and demonstrating an inability to walk unassisted. We can only be thankful that in this case, she was not driving with a child in the car. (4)
Back in the old days, taking a swill from a bottle of whiskey while in the saddle wasn’t so uncommon. Today it will land you in the drunk tank of the local jail if you do so while on public roads or property. For instance, consider a case in Kentucky where a sheriff’s deputy arrested a man for being 2X over the legal limit while on his horse. The man apparently intended to do a whole lot more drinking as he had several beers in his saddle bags and planned to wash it all down with a Mason jar of moonshine. Instead, he was arrested and taken to jail. (5)
It seems like skateboarders and police often clash, and there’s all the more reason for this if you’re operating a skateboard while drunk. A young man in Australia demonstrated this flawlessly when he attracted the attention of police by recklessly flying down public streets on his skateboard with a can of rum in his hand. When he was arrested he told the officers he was on his skateboard because he was too drunk to drive his car. Touché, sir. Touché. (6)
If you’re too drunk to operate a snowmobile, you probably can’t outrun the police on foot. But that’s exactly what a 27 year old man did in Minnesota in 2008. After realizing he was being watched on the trails by local police after a resident called about a stranded snowmobile, a man approached an officer and explained that his machine was having mechanical problems. Of course, the problems could very well have amounted to nothing more than operator error, as the responding officer indicated the man was clearly intoxicated.
After telling the officer he intended to run away on foot, other officers arrived and a struggle ensued, during which the man was tasered in order to bring into submission. Once officers had control of him, off to jail he went for a variety of charges, including blowing a breath test at more than twice the legal limit. (7)
Motorized Shopping Cart
In a completely ridiculous incident in Florida, a man entered a Wal-Mart, got in a motorized shopping cart and started cruising the store. He grabbed a bottle of alcohol from one of the shelves and started drinking it while driving the cart around, knocking items off the shelves and onto the floor and being a general nuisance. When police caught up to him in the store he was arrested for DUI and removed to the local jail. (8)
With some bicycles capable of achieving speeds of more than 60 mph while traveling on public roads, it should be no surprise that you can’t get on a bike while drunk. However, far too many people still do it, making bicycle DUI one of the most common types of uncommon driving while intoxicated charges. But some people never learn, such as a Florida man who achieved his 4th DUI while on a bicycle and wound up in jail as a result. The real problem is that – based on the comments on the article in the reference for this section, many people don’t think this should be against the law. (9)
Imagine being so drunk that after buying beer from the gas station, you cruise on down the road to go home…on your riding lawnmower. But now take it one step further and imagine your level of intoxication causes you to be so stupid that actually attempt to pass cars on the road with your 2007 Cub Cadet riding mower.
This is exactly what happened in Illinois when police attempted to “pull over” a man racing down the street while drunk on his mower. In fact, as he tried to pull the vehicle off the road, the machine tipped over, exposing the fact that the blades had been running while the man made his beer run. (10)
A zamboni is a massive piece of equipment used to groom the ice at skating arenas and hockey stadiums. While you’re not likely to be able to get into too much trouble while operating one drunk, considering the machine cannot escape the ice and would be nearly impossible to tip over, you can nevertheless get arrested for DUI while “zamboni-ing.”
Early in 2012 a Minnesota man was arrested and taken to jail for exactly this after coaches and people in the stands noticed the zamboni driver was swerving and hitting the walls with the machine. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time the man was arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, as he already had a number of DUI convictions on his record. (11)
(1) SCOTT RASMUSSEN Suquamish skipper gets 30 days for BUI, $16K in restitution ordered FEBRUARY 5, 2013 Islands Weekly Reporter http://www.islandsweekly.com/news/189846541.html
(2) Australian Man Charged With Driving Wheelchair While Drunk on Highway June 23, 2008 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,370524,00.html
(3) Strange DUIs in Philadelphia 11/26/2012 http://philadelphiaduiattorneyblog.com/strange-dui-in-pennsylvania/
(4) Roth, Tanya Esq. Not a Plain Vanilla DUI Case 07/07/2010 http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2010/07/not-a-plain-vanilla-dui-case.html
(5) Man on Horse Arrested for DWI Minnesota Criminal Law Blog 10/10/2012 http://www.kanslaw.com/blog/man-on-horse-arrested-for-dwi.html
(6) Green, Glenis Skateboarder convicted of drink-driving October 11, 2007 Courier Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/drink-drive-skateboarder-sorry/story-e6freoof-1111114616583
(7) Snowmobile Driver Arrested for DWI in Minnesota Total DUI http://www.totaldui.com/news/articles/unusual/snowmobile-dui.aspx
(8) Timothy Carr Charged With Wal-Mart Shopping Cart DUI After Driving Around Florida Store In Motorized Vehicle February 06 2013 IB Times http://www.ibtimes.com/timothy-carr-charged-wal-mart-shopping-cart-dui-after-driving-around-florida-store-motorized-vehicle
(9) Eustis police: Man on bicycle charged with 4th DUI Jan 31 2013 Click Orlando http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Eustis-police-Man-on-bicycle-charged-with-4th-DUI/-/1637132/18354690/-/6j3ewu/-/index.html
(10) A Mixed Week for Non-Automotive DUI Cases Man with Revoked License takes Lawnmower for a Beer Run Total DUI http://www.totaldui.com/news/articles/non-automotive-dui-cases.aspx
(11) Police: Man arrested for driving Zamboni drunk at a hockey game Crimesider CBS News 02/01/2012 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57369859-504083/police-man-arrested-for-driving-zamboni-drunk-at-a-hockey-game/