I recall this one night when I was that guy everyone called for backup. Called for equipment. Called to babysit cars until they were towed away to the impound. Every time I made it to a location that I was certain would get me an arrest, another call for someone elses miscellaneous bullshit. Sure there are nights in the county when there just isn’t shit to be found. But it should never be that way on a Friday night, during a payday weekend. By the wee hours I had resolved myself to the fact that it just wasn’t in the cards. And then…..
At around 3:00 a.m this morning I was on routine patrol, driving along a county highway when I observed a car with its lights off, sitting a stop sign. As I passed it, it looked as if there was no one in the drivers seat. I flipped around to get a better look and saw that the driver was slumped forward against the steering wheel. I positioned my car behind the subjects vehicle and ran the tag. After getting a return from the dispatcher I got out of my and approached the drivers side of the car.
As I approached I noticed a few things. First, that the window was lowered about a third of the way down.Second, there was what appeared to be the remnants of a vomit trail that ran down the window, continued down the door, and made a good sized puddle on the pavement next to car. And third, that the man behind the wheel was still totally unaware of my presence. I stood just behind the door and announced myself, but got no reaction. I then tapped on the window with my flashlight….still nothing. Finally, with the palm of my hand I slapped the roof of the car a few times, which startled the man awake. I announced myself again and asked the man if he was okay. Clearly disoriented and confused, the man behind the wheel surveyed the area, both inside and outside of his car, and finally looked up at me with an expression that spoke volumes. This fellow had no idea where he was or how he had go there. I asked again if he was okay, to which he responded, “I think so.” My next question was simply, “Did you drive here sir?” His response was simply, “Yes sir.” SCORE! Other questions were asked. In a nutshell, he did not know where he had been, who he had been with, where he was, how he arrived there, or where he was going.
On his wrist I observed an armband that I recognized from one of the local saloons. Green, with a Bud Light Lime logo on it. I asked the man if he had been out “clubbing” to which he informed he did not do. So I asked him where he acquired the armband. For a moment he simply stared at the thing on his wrist, and then with a sigh he said, “damn, I must have been “clubbing last night”.
I asked him for his license and insurance and after handing me every card in his wallet he finally managed to locate his license. Our agency prefers that during field sobriety testing, another officer is present, so after getting the return on the license, I called for another unit and waited for it to arrive. Once my backup had arrived, I quickly explained the situation and returned to the subjects car. I asked him to get out of the car, and after fumbling with the handle for a few seconds, he managed to get the door open. Now if this had been me, what happened next would have produced some colorful adjectives.
Too drunk to notice or care, the man stepped out of his car and into the aforementioned puddle of vomit. I have seen people stand in their own puke before and it’s no big deal. This guy however, was only wearing socks. When I asked him where his shoes were he turned back to car and stared inside for a few seconds, during which time I shined my light throughout the vehicle. I saw a pair of shoes behind the passenger seat and advised the man of their location. None too gracefully he retrieved the shoes, at which time we both moved to the rear of his car. Lacking the balance needed to put them on standing up, he sat down on the pavement to put them on. It was soon obvious that these were not his shoes, as they were a few sizes too small.
Once he was on his feet again I explained that I required him to submit to field sobriety testing. It will have to suffice to say that he performed poorly. A few glances at my backup officer made it difficult not to laugh out loud, but I managed to stifle it behind a few well timed coughs. The preliminary breath test measured .197. Not too shabby. Additional testing at the station, on the Intoxylizer measured .184.
So there you have it. I booked him on the DUI and there he sat, pending bond.
There are some who would say (and have said) that this was a bullshit DUI. To them I say, “True. But it is my bullshit DUI.” Of course I know it’s cheap, but I’ll take it anyway.