Hugging a Witness Won’t Get You Out of a DWI

Hug-dwi-witnessIf you saw a drunk driver on the road, would you report him?

What if he hugged you?

A bit of affection made no difference to an alert driver in Abilene, Texas recently. The motorist in question (gender not reported) recently saw a man stopped on the highway median with his Chevy Tahoe. The motorist stopped to help, and smelled alcohol on the man’s breath.

The man apparently wanted to signal that he was not in distress. He hugged the motorist, got back in his Tahoe, and drove away – on the median. He managed to hit a guard rail before being stopped by police. As he refused a sobriety test, he was arrested.

Refusing the sobriety tests in Texas puts the alleged offender in a double bind: he faces the standard criminal penalties for DWI, and in addition, he faces administrative penalties for refusing the test. As this was at least the man’s second offense, he will have at least a 2-year license suspension. Hugging the DWI witness will not be considered a mitigating circumstance.

We can’t praise the DWI witness highly enough: he or she spotted a motorist in distress and, upon detecting alcohol, reported the drunk driver. There’s no telling how much mayhem the driver could have caused had he been allowed to continue.

When you see a drunk driver, the proper response is always to call the police. An intoxicated driver is a danger to himself and others on the road. Each year ten thousand people lose their lives to drunk drivers. How many of those drivers were seen getting into their vehicles? How many DWI witnesses said it wasn’t their business.

It’s very much their business, and yours. And if they hug you, that makes no difference. It’s time for tough love.