Police Beat: Hammered holiday drivers get nailed

Staff writerJanuary 4, 2014 

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.

Jan. 1: The Tacoma father won no prizes for parenting.

At 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, he staggered out of a restaurant and got behind the wheel of a red and white Cadillac. His two young children sat in the back seat, unbelted.

An officer called to the 8600 block of South Hosmer Street rolled into the parking lot. A frantic bystander flagged him down, pointing to the Cadillac, saying, “Hurry, he’s leaving!”

The Cadillac rolled past the officer, who flipped on the emergency lights. The Cadillac stopped for a moment. The right front tire was flat. The driver gunned the car, forward and reverse, making no progress. The officer stopped him.

The father, 46, could barely walk. He steadied himself by leaning on the car. His words slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and his breath reeked. The officer asked for his driver’s license. The father didn’t have one. He held up a can of Fix-a-Flat, and tried to give it to the officer. He said he hadn’t been drinking.

A records check revealed his license was suspended. He had a separate warrant on a prior drunken-driving offense. A domestic-violence petition filed in summer 2013 said he had a habit of getting drunk and driving around with his children. The petition said he’d threatened to beat his children if they told Mom he was drinking.

The officer asked the father if he knew the children weren’t wearing seatbelts. The father shrugged. The officer asked if the father understood how dangerous it was to drive drunk with children in the car.

“So now I’m an (expletive) for taking my kids to Denny’s?” the father asked.

The officer booked the father into jail on suspicion of drunken driving and reckless endangerment.

Dec. 31: Shortly before 11 p.m., the white BMW zoomed along South Tacoma Way, ignoring the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. An officer parked at South 50th Street watched, followed and pulled the car over.

The driver, 32, said he didn’t notice the speed limit signs. He’d driven past three of them. He said he had no driver’s license. He wouldn’t give his name or his address, and demanded to know why he was supposed to give it. He questioned the officer’s authority to have blue lights on a patrol car.

He said he’d been “traveling,” not driving. He said the roads were designed for commercial use, and since he’d been “traveling,” he didn’t have to identify himself.

The officer said the man had to identify himself, that he was being stopped for speeding, and that if he refused to identify himself, the officer would arrest him.

Three times, the man refused, according to the police report. He said the officer had no legal authority over him. On the fourth attempt, he gave a first and last name, but no middle initial, date of birth or address. His girlfriend was riding in the car with him. She gave the officer her boyfriend’s full name and address.

A records check revealed the man’s identity, and a prior warrant for driving with a suspended license. The officer booked the man into the jail on the warrant and suspicion of refusing to cooperate with an officer.

Dec. 29: The 1992 Jeep rushed along East 25th Street, straddling the center line. It was 1:25 a.m.

Two officers watched from a patrol car. The Jeep drifted into their path. The officer swerved to the shoulder, barely avoiding a head-on collision.

The patrol car pulled a 180 and chased the Jeep, lights flashing. The Jeep careened into a convenience store parking lot in the 1400 block of Puyallup Avenue and nearly climbed the curb before it stopped.

The driver was a 25-year-old man. He leaned back in his seat, seeming to feign sleep. The odor of alcohol wafted from the window. His eyes watered and his words ran together.

He said he had no wallet or identification. He said he’d been mugged and beaten and someone stole his wallet.

Why was he driving so fast? The man mumbled an answer that made no sense.

Did he notice he almost hit the patrol car? The man mumbled again. The officer eased him out of the car.

The man said he’d been partying, got into a fight and got mugged. He said he’d been drinking all night – Smirnoff. He’d driven to a warehouse and tried to sleep in his car. The owner of the warehouse told him to leave, so he drove, and then he woke up in this parking lot, he said.

“I know I had too much to drink and you know I had too much to drink,” he said, but he wouldn’t take a breath test.

A records check revealed a possible arrest warrant out of Port Orchard. The officer found the man’s wallet and driver’s license on the floorboard of the Jeep.

The man said he didn’t know if his license was good; it had been suspended many times in the past. Officers booked him into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of drunken driving.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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