Driver Only Had Two Or Three Cocktails, Police Say

Caledonia man only has a .066 blood-alcohol level. So how did he end up getting a drunk driving citation?

A 40-year-old Caledonia man was cited for suspicion of drunk driving (first offense), operating left of center and failing to stop for a police officer at 2:07 a.m. Sunday in the 6300 block of Douglas Avenue.

Because the man drove his car left of center, the officer conducted a traffic stop, according to a report by the Caledonia Police Department,

When the officer spoke to the man, the officer noticed the man had glassy-looking eyes, slurred his speech and smelled of alcohol. The man failed the field sobriety test. Later he told the officer he had “two or three cocktails earlier in the evening,” picked up his friend at a bar on Douglas Avenue and while at the bar had a beer.

While the man’s blood-alcohol level was .067 and .066, which does not exceed the prohibited level of .08; the officer felt the man’s driving was still impaired because of his driving left of center, and other physical impairments, said Lt. Gary Larsen, of the Caledonia Police Department.

JQCitizen February 21, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Why did he have two BACs? This story seems incomplete. Shouldn't he have gotten an OUI and not an OWI?
YAMATO February 21, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Failed field sobriety and may have had other things in blood but it looks that blood was not take. The court can dismiss it. perhaps this guy cannot handle alcohol even under the limit. The two levels are the breath test results from blowing 2x into the macine and final result is the low one taken and 3rd digit dropped. result would really be .06
Eric February 21, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Police in general can and often do hold people for multiple tests if they feel someones BAC is on the rise and will go over the threshold of legal intoxication. Once they see that the number is actually heading down there isn't a reason for further testing. This also a good example of the dirty little secret when it comes to judging sobriety by BAC. The truth is everyone handles there alcohol differently. A regular drinker is going to have a much higher level of tolerance to its affects then someone who only drinks a couple times a year. I watched a show on either discovery channel or science not sure which, anyways they rounded up a bunch of people from all walks of life, age and drinking habits and paid for their stay and drinks in a hotel with a bar. The scientist would periodically pull people out of the bar to test there BAC and there hand eye coordination. The guy with the 3rd highest BAC did second best on the field tests because he was a regular drinker. The woman who almost never drank and unfortunately for her sat next the regular drinker, well that didn't end so well for her. She needed a nurse to stay with her in the hotel room all night. Its one of the many reasons I oppose lowering of BAC levels and sobriety check points. Your not really pulling anymore "dangerous" drivers off the road your just plugging more people into the system.
Denise Lockwood February 21, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Lt. Larsen from the Caledonia PD said: If the blood alcohol is over .08, they are issued a second citation for prohibited alcohol concentration. This is the level the state considers a person legally intoxicated. If a driver is tested for alcohol and the level is under .08, they can still be arrested for drunk driving based on the totality of the circumstances. You are correct in that many times (not necessarily in this case) there are other factors contributing to the intoxication such as prescription meds and illegal drugs that are present in addition to alcohol. In the event a person is arrested and no alcohol is suspected or involved, that person does not get a prohibited alcohol citation and our primary test would always be blood. During the court proceedings the prosecutor will typically choose either the drunk driving or the prohibited alcohol charge and dismiss the other. They both carry the same penalties.
CowDung February 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Nice follow-up, Denise. Thanks.
Eric February 21, 2013 at 10:42 PM
The Aunt Mable clause of the OWI laws for those who are exhibiting clear signs of impairment but are below the current .08 thresh hold of legal intoxication allows police to arrest you and have your charged for DUI if you BAC is above .04 as well I believe. A lot easier to beat in court though depending on the evidence.
Denise Lockwood February 22, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Happy to help Cow...
Django Freeman February 22, 2013 at 04:08 AM
If he was in the left lane he shouldn't have been on the road. I agree, he was probably also on benzos or opioids.
me February 22, 2013 at 07:05 AM
money in Caledonia coffers. nailing people who aren't drunk
concernedforthecitizens May 10, 2013 at 07:06 PM
failure to stop for a police officer? this is a trump'ed up charged aimed at getting more more into the police departments bank account. it mentions nothing of this in the article so i assume he didnt lead him on a chase. years ago when i was going through drivers ed I was instructed (when being pulled over) to stop on a side street opposed to the main road for safety, and to pull over in a well lit area. caledonia is notorious for this. they slap you with that charge so they can scare you into taking a lesser charge during plea bargaining. also these ego drivin officers take it personal if you dont slam on your brakes and stop within 15yrds of their lights turning on. "how dare you drive an extra block! im a cop respect me! er um the badge i mean..."
concernedforthecitizens May 10, 2013 at 07:20 PM
i highly doubt he was on drugs. left of center can be as slight as any part of your car breaking the yellow line (i.e. your mirror) cops are trained to identify the physical signs of drug use. constricted pupils(opioids) sweating, blood shot eyes. they would of drawn blood if they suspected this in the least. perhaps he was tired or just changing the radio station and became momentarily distracted. its a shame people start finger pointing and making assumptions. the cop smelled booze because there was some present, however not enough to put him over the limit.no need to try and conjure up an excuse for an officers mistaken judgement call.
concernedforthecitizens May 10, 2013 at 07:22 PM
sounds about right...


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