Drunk driving is a dangerous activity, both legally and personally. However, the legal dangers increase significantly when a suspected drunk driver gets into a car accident with a police officer.
Earlier this month, a Wisconsin man was arrested for OWI after he crashed his vehicle into a Milwaukee County Sherriff's Office squad car on Interstate 43. According to police reports, the 40-year-old man was allegedly texting in addition to driving drunk.
At the time of the accident, the deputy was on the highway providing protection to a construction crew. The crew was placing barrels on the highway in preparation for lane closures. The squad car's lights were activated, and it was also running a lighted arrow stick which signals drivers to move over.
No one was injured in the crash, but the deputy's car sustained extensive damage. For this reason, the deputy was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
The man was arrested with a BAC of 0.15, which is nearly twice the legal limit. He faces charges of first-offense OWI as well as texting while driving and inattentive driving. Wisconsin state law prohibits texting while driving for all drivers.
The evidence against the alleged drunk driver is strong. Texting while driving and drunk driving could each cause an accident by themselves. When the activities are combined, the chances of an accident increase substantially. And because the defendant got into an accident with a squad car, there was virtually no chance of avoiding arrest.
Nonetheless, other factors may have been at play in the accident. It is important to remember that even when a conviction seems like a sure thing, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online, "Motorist in crash with squad accused of being drunk and texting," Jesse Garza, 08 April 2011