The Dangers of Driving While Sober
This is a story that should concern all Americans; whether you occasionally go out and have a drink, if you own a bar or a restaurant, or sell alcohol for a living. If you are on the wait staff at one of these establishments, or even if you are on prescription drugs, the following story should concern you.
I honestly believe that most people in law enforcement are in their profession to serve the general public. These officials try to honor our legal system, want to get criminals off the street, and protect innocent citizens. But what happens when you come across a gung ho rookie salivating over the opportunity to illuminate your wrists with shiny bracelets and read you your Miranda rights? Or worse, what if you happen to be driving down the street while Barney Fife is in the middle of his day dream that he’s Sherlock Holmes? What do you do?
The following events occurred on March 23, 2015 and are absolutely true. I know this, because the person who was arrested is me. I’m fairly tall, I’m 6’2″, 225 pounds, so having one drink should be no problem for me.
On the evening of March 23, 2015, I decided to go out and shoot a little pool. It’s not that I make a habit out of shooting pool, nor do I go out and drink a lot… in fact, I hardly go out at all. On this night, after a long day of being on my feet, working hard, I decided that I would go out with a friend. We went to T’s Country Bar on Highway 16, St. Helena Parish, Sovereign State of Louisiana. While there, I consumed one rum and Coke. It was delicious, it was wonderful, and it was satisfying. So what? That’s not illegal.
After shooting a couple of games of pool and sipping down my rum and coke, I sat outside with my company and chatted for about an hour. So what? That’s not illegal.
After pulling out of the parking lot, I wasn’t even a mile down the road before Louisiana State Patrolman Toye Corkern pulled me over for speeding. Apparently, I was doing 70 in a 55, but being that I had just bought a new car, I merely assumed that the officer was correct. Was I speeding? I don’t know, but it was possible, considering that I hadn’t quite adjusted to the power of the new car.
Officer Corkern tells me why he pulled me over, asks for my insurance, and asked if I had anything to drink, to which I said “yes”. So what? It’s not illegal to have a drink. Officer Corken repeatedly asked if I was on prescription drugs, which in truth, I was not on any drugs, prescription or otherwise. Corkern then asks me to open the back of the vehicle because something “was missing on” the temporary tag and he wanted to look at the back of it. Being fully cooperative, I complied with his request. Officer Corkern then asks me if I would do a road side test. Again, I complied, surely, I was dealing with a competent officer.
What I did not know was this, that after being outside and already feeling cold, after being on my feet all day, being nervous because I never had to do a roadside test before, and being on the incline of the roadside, that I could not walk heel-to-toe for twenty feet without being a bit wobbly. I was wearing Crocs for the first time in my life and I had asked the officer if I could take them off. He told me that I could. I don’t wear sandals so doing a roadside test in Crocs wasn’t the most comfortable situation for me, but neither was doing a roadside test in my socks.
As I started doing the heel-to-toe walk, I stepped on my sock and nearly lost my balance but I was able to maintain it. I looked at the officer and told him that I stepped on my sock. He didn’t say anything, but I was even more nervous at this point. So I continued on and finished the heel-to-toe test without much incident, other than being a little wobbly. I also had to stand on one leg- what an annoying thing to do anytime.
The officer then asked me if I would do a breathalyzer. I have to admit, I was a bit confused by the question. I did not think that I could do a breathalyzer in his car and believed that I would have to go to the station. So I asked him, “Am I being arrested?”. Again, I thought I was dealing with a competent officer who could clearly see that I was sober.
“At this point, yes, you are being arrested” he said, and he proceeded to read me my Miranda rights.