“I Only Had 2 Beers…” He Said (Drunk Driving in a Stolen Car)

Drunk driving in a stolen carDrunk driving is a crime. But sometimes it’s also a symptom that a lot of other things have gone terribly wrong. When a Michigan man was picked up recently for driving erratically, a routine OWI arrest revealed a nest of unsavory details, reminiscent of that time one lifts up a pile of damp newspapers in the basement and finally sees what’s been living underneath.

Dennis Priest was stopped in Bay City because he idled his Pontiac Grand Am at a stop sign for a logn time, turned without using his signal and hopped the curb while turning. Those are three warning signs of intoxication.

Priest claimed he just had two beers, but his speech suggested otherwise, and a breath test indicated that his blood alcohol level was .17 – “super drunk” level.

It got worse. Priest was found not to have a valid driver’s license. He was also not the owner of the car. A text message on his phone said – and we’re not making this up – “About to come out to you to the stolen vehicle (sic).”

It’s hard to imagine how the suspect could make things worse than drunk driving in a stolen car, but according to news reports, Priest told the officer that he’d remember him and would one day deal with him.

License Suspensions Don’t Work

This case is so extreme that it’s hard to draw any lessons from it, except that it proves that revoking a person’s license won’t prevent someone from driving. Therefore, it won’t prevent someone from drinking and driving, which is why ignition interlocks are a vital measure for OWI offenders to keep them from reoffending.

Ignition interlocks, of course, can’t keep anyone from stealing Pontiacs or threatening cops. But it’s best to tackle social problems one step at a time. Ignition interlocks have been proven to reduce the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road, and thus prevent alcohol-related road fatalities.

Let’s use technology to keep as many OWI drivers sober as possible. The police will needs their hands free to deal with the occasional person who’s drunk driving in a stolen car.