DWI in motorized easy chair

Discuss

29 Responses to “DWI in motorized easy chair”

  1. JJR1971 says:

    Definitely qualifies as a motor vehicle; he would’ve been charged in Texas as well.

  2. mdh says:

    5 point seat belt AND a remote caddy. Awesome.

  3. Gilmoid1 says:

    Cool. I’ll bet on Halloween he dresses up as Davros.

  4. Anonymous says:

    While I don’t condone drunk driving I must say that chair is freaking sweet!

  5. JayReeder says:

    Wait? What! Which part of this offense justifies 180 days of jail time?

    I realize that MADD has done an exemplary (and largely justified) job of turning “drunk driving” into a cultural taboo, but if we now knee-jerk react to “being drunk while operating a motorized armchair” with “throw his ass in jail for half a year”, then I think we’ve adopted this meme a little too uncritically.

    It’s a chair. With a lawn mower engine. It’s not going to kill a bus-full of nuns, or total a soccer-mom’s minivan while she drives the team for a post-game root-beer float. It’s a chair. It doesn’t require a drivers license. It doesn’t require a license plate. It’s a “motor vehicle” in the same sense that my Radio Shack remote-controlled dune buggy is a “motor vehicle.”

    But hey, America is all about brain-dead “zero tolerance” laws that ensure that every member of the underclass eventually gets a criminal record. In that light, this particular dystopian morality play should be no surprise.

    On the other hand, I don’t see the cops hanging out at the local members-only golf course, looking for anyone “operating” a golf cart with a beer in one hand. No. That’s simply not done. Draconian over-literal enforcement of criminal statues is for the little people.

    • mdh says:

      nice troll there.

      • k3 says:

        mdh – Call me a troll if you want, but I agree with JayReader. Situations like this should be judged by how much danger they put other people in. Is what he did really that much more dangerous to the public than walking home drunk? Clearly he should be liable for damages to the car. And possibly guilty of criminal charges. But 6 months in jail seems out of proportion. I know several people who have been busted for actual drunk driving who have only gotten a fraction of that.

    • SKR says:

      I’m pretty sure those golf courses you refer to are private property. No argument there, move along. Move along.

    • Phikus says:

      I have to totally agree. Though he really put the “lazy” in La-Z-Boy, I don’t see this as endangering the public enough to justify such a punishment. Has anyone ever gotten a DWI for driving a powered wheelchair under the influence? The drunk guy stumbling to get more beer gets all kinds of imagined excuses, but we can’t give this guy some benefit of doubt? Last I checked, Occam has not been stingy with his razor.

  6. mgfarrelly says:

    I’ve been to Proctor Minnesota. I can say that this does not surprise me in the least. It gets very cold and very quiet up there by Duluth. Building yourself some motor-vehicular furniture seems like a healthy outlet.

  7. jayBOT says:

    This thing is made for DWI.

  8. IronEdithKidd says:

    Without the DUI my first reaction is a face palm. WTF. A motorized lazyboy. It’s such a juxtaposition of laziness and ingenuity. Small town boredom truly is the mother of redneck invention.

    Phikus: do a quick google search on wheelchair DUI. There are lots of hits. People have also been arrested and convicted for walking their bicycle, simply being in their car while intoxicated (as in the car never moved), driving lawnmowers, and in one interesting case a motorized cooler.

    At a point in US history where we can ill afford (for monetary reasons) to send people to jail for minor offenses that don’t actually harm the fabric of society, we may have a golden opportunity to undo some of the senseless mandatory minimum sentencing that has been foist upon the public to keep judges from being “soft on crime” or “activist”. If we keep putting people in jail due to the letter of the law, we have to divert funds from other important, yet expensive, public things like schools, roads, clean water, fire response, etc. Take your pick – jail the chair guy or have running water? That’s exactly where we’re heading if we don’t take a more balanced approach to law enforcement in the US.

  9. Nate3000 says:

    Maybe loosing that awesome chair was punishment enough…

  10. Rob says:

    “And would it still be an amusing little story if he hit a pedestrian, or caused a car to swerve and splatter some guy on the sidewalk?”

    Nope. So here’s an idea… why don’t we start punishing people for the things they do and the harm they *actually* cause as opposed to postulating some imaginary worst possible case scenario and freaking right the hell out in the name of safety and nerfing the harsh edges of the world at all costs?

    • Jerril says:

      why don’t we start punishing people for the things they do and the harm they *actually* cause as opposed to postulating some imaginary worst possible case scenario and freaking right the hell out in the name of safety and nerfing the harsh edges of the world at all costs?

      So I suppose you’re in favor of removing DWI from the books entirely, and letting drivers of cars, trucks, and semis drive drunk with no penalties?

      • WeightedCompanionCube says:

        Jerril – congrats on getting a WTF out of me, for one.

        Drunk drivers are dangerous. Period. If you are driving drunk, you are causing enough potential harm to anyone who crosses your unpredictable path that you should be taken off the road immediately. Depending on your history doing it, possibly for some longer period of time.

        If you damage someone else’s property, including the state’s guardrails, etc.. you should be made to pay for it.

        If you manage to actually hurt someone in your stupidity, you should rot in jail or something equally punishing.

        Now, if chair dude hadn’t hit a parked car, I don’t think anyone would have cared. The cops probably would have laughed. Made him park it and sober up, but laughed. Except that he did do damage.

        It’s not about eliminating the idea of there being an offense until there is an incident. As Rob said, it’s about making the punishment fit the crime.

  11. SKR says:

    As to the punishment, it does on its face seem excessive, but we are missing a lot of details. For instance, we don’t know if he was on the street or sidewalk. I assumed it was the street since he hit a parked car, but then I guess he could have hit the car either way. There was an accident involved, so that is going to ratchet up the penalty. Just because you are not in a car doesn’t mean that you can’t cause an accident with moving cars. Lastly, we don’t know if he has any DUI priors or a suspended license, those are the biggies that really can get you time like that. Well, that and not having the money for a really good lawyer.

    I’m guessing that if he had been on the sidewalk and not hit anything he would never have landed in jail.

  12. Lila says:

    Reminds me of Vince Gills “One more last chance” where she took his keys but forgot about the old John Deere, also had George Jones on a riding lawnmower!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right!!! Too funny!! I am sorry, if someone can’t drive a car, because they have lost their license due to drinking they shouldn’t be driving anything! even a CHAIR for God’s sake!!! But it does remind me of that Vince Gill’s song too!

  13. Ambiguity says:

    JayReader is spot-on.

    I’ve had it with vindictive, brain-addled preemptive punishment.

    The consequences of an act should be examined case-by-case, and should not a) be punishment for didn’t take place, or b) be overly harsh in order to “send a message.”

  14. Ratbus says:

    People have previously died because of drunk drivers of cars, trucks and semis. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone dying from any situation with a drunk guy driving a motorized chair.

    Once we have an issue with people dying from drunks zooming around in their chairs, then I say we start throwing the book at those offenders.

    If you’re doing something that has proven to cause death in multiple cases, then the punishment should be pretty harsh.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The problem is so many folks in this country don’t think about the costs of overzealous law enforcement. It’s also interesting that with crime basically flat since the 90s, people think of crime as increasing every year.

    There is certainly room for rethinking some of the knee-jerk DUI stuff. People getting arrested sleeping in cars or walking a bicycle home is just ridiculous. I didn’t believe that kind of thing happened until a friend got arrested outside of a bar sleeping in his car. That’s just ridiculous — unless of course you’re really trying to make sure everyone is a criminal.

  16. ClintonD says:

    Anyone else reminded of the old sketch show Roundhouse that was on Nickelodeon in the early 90s, that had a dad who rode around everywhere in a motorized easy chair?

  17. grimc says:

    RTFA. His 180 days was stayed for 2 years probation. And would it still be an amusing little story if he hit a pedestrian, or caused a car to swerve and splatter some guy on the sidewalk?

    Luckily nothing awful happened, so it remains the haha category. But he got a commensurate punishment. And it is pretty damn haha.

  18. uildaan says:

    I dont agree with it but you can get done on a bicycle, so something with an engine is definitely fair game.

  19. Brainspore says:

    The dark side of armchair travelers.

  20. RustyTrawler says:

    Did anyone read the article? His sentence was stayed – no jail time.

  21. jso says:

    Yeah. I’ve known people who’ve received a DUI on a bicycle. :/

  22. Rob says:

    “So I suppose you’re in favor of removing DWI from the books entirely, and letting drivers of cars, trucks, and semis drive drunk with no penalties?”

    As someone who’s lost family friends due to drunk drivers, I’d prefer people be held responsible for the harm they actually cause as opposed to an arbitrary chemical levels of substances they choose to ingest.

    I think these laws and their enforcement has gone way too far around the bend. “Sobriety” checkpoints used as an excuse for everything but sobriety checks, ticketing people sleeping it off in their car, MADD’s continuing efforts to apparently bring back prohibition… IronEdithKidd has more examples upthread.

    Guilty of an improper chemical makeup, lacking any actual harm caused, strikes me as absurdity at its finest.

Leave a Reply