Wauwatosa police made a rare, generous offer early Saturday to an obviously intoxicated driver who was poised to leave a parking lot behind the wheel of his car: Stop right here, officers said, and call for a ride or a taxi and you won't be arrested.
The man's son, who was with him, did call his mother to give them a ride home, but long before she could get there, his dad, a 58-year-old Brookfield man, threw all caution to the wind.
According to the police report, two Wauwatosa police officers were conducting a walk-through at , 10842 Blue Mound Rd., a little before 2 a.m., and the manager told them he had just ejected two men who were highly intoxicated and should not be driving.
He said the two had gotten upset when they were refused further service and had left in a huff only moments before.
The officers found the men, father and son, with the older man at the wheel and just backing out of a parking place. The officers stopped them before they left the lot.
The reporting officer said that the driver was clearly too intoxicated to drive, and he told the man so. The driver insisted he could drive safely but agreed to take a breath test to prove it. It showed an alcohol concentration of 0.21 – more than 2 1/2 times the proscribed limit.
The officer told him he could be arrested for driving drunk even while in the parking lot, but he offered him the chance to leave his vehicle and call for a ride or a taxi since they hadn’t yet taken to the streets.
The man thanked the officers for the break, and his son called his mother to pick them up.
The officers withdrew to a post nearby and waited. Within two minutes, they reported, the vehicle left the parking lot and speeded north on North 108th Street, then west on West Wisconsin Avenue without stopping for a stop sign.
Police followed, clocking the man at up to 50 mph on 25-mph residential streets and blowing through another stop sign even after the officers hit their lights and siren.
The officers were finally able to stop the man at North 112th Street and Potter Road. He failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, first offense.