It’s not unusual to get questions from drivers who want to know why they have been arrested for DUI if they were not actually driving a car. Truth is you can be arrested for driving under the influence while operating a variety of motorized vehicles, including a snowplow, or sitting in your car with the capability to operate a motorized vehicle.
Snowplow driver facing DUI charges
Just ask a West Virginia Department of Transportation worker who is facing a driving under the influence charge while operating a state snowplow. According to the West Virginia Gazette, as reported by the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department, Thomas Keith Henderson of Elkhorn was arrested late Wednesday night after he was stopped for a traffic violation while driving his snowplow on Burke Mountain near Keystone.
According to Deputy R.L. Jones, the officers stopped the snowplow because he was operating the snowplow with a broken headlight. At the time of the snowplow stop, the officers detected alcohol on Thomas Keith Henderson’s breath and noted his eyes were bloodshot and “glassy.”
Thomas Keith Henderson submitted to a blood concentration test and was found to have a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of 0.9%, which is twice the level for a snowplow driver who is operating a vehicle with a commercial driver’s license. The Department of Transportation confirmed Thomas Keith Henderson was employed by the DOT but refused to comment further on the impending snowplow DUI case.
Thomas Keith Henderson has also not provided any comments about his case. A telephone listing for Henderson in the Elkhorn area couldn’t be found.
Lessons learned in West Virginia
Confusion remains about DUI laws. This is to be expected because laws vary substantially by state. In recently years, however, we have seen some standardization in the legal drinking age, and the legal blood alcohol concentration levels for commercial and noncommercial drivers. More education needs to be done to ensure drivers understand that operating a motorized vehicle can include vehicles other than automobiles.
Updated Justin Bieber DUI case
In an update to the Justin Bieber DUI arrest. The Daily News has reported that Bieber’s toxicology report indicates he was not intoxicated by alcohol at the time of his DUI arrest but did have traces of marijuana and prescription medication in his system during his alleged drag racing DUI in Miami Beach. The toxicology report indicates his urine contained THC and Alprazolam, also known as Xanax.
This is not news. At the time of the DUI arrest, Justin Bieber admitted as much to police by telling them he had consumed pot, alcohol and prescription medication before getting behind the wheel.
According to police reports, the singer “reeked of marijuana” while sitting in a patrol car shortly after 4:30 a.m. last Thursday. “Yeah, we were smoking all night at the studio,” he allegedly confessed, according to the DUI Test Report obtained by The News.
His breathalyzer test which he provided at the police station registered 0.014 and 0.011, below the legal limit for underage drivers. Beiber will be arraigned on Valentine’s Day, but he has already filed a not guilty plea.
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