Tuesday, June 24, 2008

North Pole DUI

A North Pole man is accused of driving a riding lawn mower over several yards while intoxicated and then trying to elude police. Wyatt Lewis, 20, has been charged with driving under the influence and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday morning, Alaska State Troopers were called to Garnett Drive in North Pole about an intoxicated man driving a red Craftsman riding mower over several people’s lawns.

When troopers spotted Lewis, they put on their emergency lights and sirens, but he allegedly led them on a brief pursuit for approximately 200 feet at speed of about 5 mph. As Lewis turned into a backyard on the street, the trooper exited his vehicle and finally got Lewis to stop, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.

Lewis admitted to drinking a few beers and said he did not hear the patrol car’s sirens, according to the complaint. A chemical test found his breath-alcohol content to be 0.184, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 to operate a motor vehicle.

While it is not very common for someone on a riding lawnmower to be charged with driving under the influence, it’s not outside the statute.

“Basically, the law says you’re not authorized to operate any motorized vehicle after drinking,” Trooper Charles Inderrieden said, noting it usually only extends beyond motorists to pilots and boaters.

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