Remember my lovable drunk from that memorable New Year’s night drive between Ouray and Durango?
He was sentenced to 24 hours of public service and a $549 fine.
He was so drunk he could barely speak. Couldn’t walk. Fell down multiple times. Couldn’t get up without help. Fell during the drunk tests the deputy administered (I watched). He was so drunk he no idea where he was, could not work his phone, absolutely reeked of alcohol, couldn’t comprehend why his car (thankfully) wouldn’t move out of the snowdrift, and repeatedly wandered out into the paths of oncoming cars. He was HAMMERED. Totally wasted. Anyone could see that.
For endangering everyone on the road, he got 24 hours of public work. A $549 fine. That’s all!
When I first came to Durango, someone told me to “be careful, because it’s easy to get a DUI here.” Really? I mean, sure, it’s easy, just go get lit and then drive around until the cops find you. However, I’m sure that person meant that people were getting busted left and right for having half a beer and then driving home. Surely they could not have meant that the cops were unfair to people driving wasted ….or could they?
To me, a DUI doesn’t seem so hard to avoid, even in Durango. It’s a tiny town, there’s a free trolley to almost everywhere, and don’t forget that there is always the option of just, you know, not drinking and driving. There are lots of ways to do stupid stuff accidentally, but drinking and driving is not one of them.
But evidently, the local courts don’t think that’s such a big deal. Or the prosecution couldn’t put together any sort of case against this person despite the 45-minute 911 call in which I detailed to dispatch exactly what was going on, minute by minute, and the two-page statement I wrote on the scene, or the parlessly failed drunk tests on the roadside, or the blood/breath test that I’m sure they did (or, hope they did…when I was subpoenaed to testify, it was a drug case as well as a DUI so he may have been hammered on drugs AND alcohol….sigh). Why have our courts failed us yet again?
Rest assured that My Lovable Drunk will be back out there, driving totally hammered all over again, because there’s no reason not to if someone like me is going to watch out for his safety, and the courts can’t be bothered to make DUI sentences harsher.
This person could have killed you or me or someone we know. And he was barely punished for his decision to put us all at risk.