Two More Drunk-Driving Excuses to Cross Off the List [Updated]

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Actually, you really shouldn't have a list like this in the first place, but if you do, these should not be on it.

The first one comes to us from New Jersey (thanks, Grant & Gerald), where two guys tried to blame a one-vehicle crash on the presence of "black ice." There was black ice on the road, in fact. The problem was that they had put it there afterwards.

Police said that one man apparently ran a stop sign in his BMW early Saturday morning and then hit a guardrail. He left the scene and drove to his nearby home. He then had a friend drive him back to the scene in another car, along with two 5-gallon buckets. They proceeded to pour water onto the road (exactly how much is not clear) in order to create the ice.

At this point an officer happened by. He noticed a number of facts that led him to believe the incident might be related to drunk driving:

  • A man was walking around outside on a night when the wind chill was 15 below zero.
  • A car was stopped in the middle of the road with its engine running.
  • A man in the driver's seat of the car denied that he had been driving, although he was sitting in the driver's seat of a car that was stopped in the middle of the road with its engine running.
  • That man was not wearing a shirt. (See "15 below zero," supra.)
  • Skid marks were visible on the road, underneath a layer of ice.
  • The car had two buckets in the back seat that were partially filed with water.
  • Also, both these guys were drunk.

They are due in court on Thursday.

Port Willunga!The second one happened in Port Willunga, South Australia, and yes that does mean you should get excited about it.

I had much more sympathy for this guy, partly because some of his story may have been true. He was charged with drunk driving after failing to stop at an intersection last year, and was convicted. On appeal, he argued (probably seeking a reduced sentence, not acquittal) that he had only been driving because he had cut his hand badly with a chainsaw, and had only been drinking in an effort to numb the pain in his hand.

At first I thought he had cut his hand completely off, and I'm glad he didn't but let's be honest, it would have made the story that much cooler.

The justice hearing the appeal said that according to the defendant, the chainsaw use preceded the drinking, as he had been trying to clear some trees so workmen could fix his air-conditioning unit. (I'm assuming the workmen vouched for this part.) After the injury he called the hospital, but upon being told there could be a 10-hour wait for treatment, "he decided to self-medicate by drinking the gin."

Justice Nicholson said [the defendant] had then become concerned that, if left untreated, there was a serious risk his wound would become infected and he could not afford an ambulance to collect him. “He found a large sewing needle and some fishing line and commenced suturing the wound himself,” he said. “Not having any antiseptic in the house, the appellant used gin to wash the wound. The process of stitching the wound was, not surprisingly, quite painful."

“The appellant therefore also drank the gin which proved to be an effective form of pain relief.”

Note to self: drinking enough gin to provide an effective form of pain relief may also result in a BAC of .175.

The problem seems to have been that he had safer options for getting to the hospital. He testified that he could not afford the $800 cost of an ambulance, but conceded that he could have taken a cab for much less. The judge also suggested he could have asked a neighbor to drive him, or could have asked one of the workmen before they left. (The fact that they supposedly left him there with his untreated gaping chainsaw wound suggests there might be more to that part of the story.) Appeal dismissed.

So, to recap: you can't blame black ice if you put it there yourself afterwards; and don't try to drive yourself to the hospital after self-medicating a chainsaw injury. Or, don't drink until after the chainsaw work is done, maybe.