Two OWI Suspects Try to Disguise Symptoms of Drinking

After being stopped for similar traffic infractions around bar closing hours over the weekend, drivers' efforts to avoid arrest don't pan out.


Two drivers were arrested in the wee hours of Saturday and Sunday after patrol officers witnessed each of them run stop signals and then fail to keep their vehicles in their lanes.

Each also tried a ploy to mask signs of intoxication – one smoking to cover the odor of alcohol, the other claiming his chronic vertigo might make him seem imbalanced – but in the end, both provided breath samples that gave police officers reason to take them off the road.

Smoke screen fails to conceal condition

At 1:43 a.m. Saturday, a 31-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, second offense, after an officer saw him run a stop sign at North 73rd Street on Milwaukee Avenue.

She followed and, after seeing him drift over the center line, pulled him over.

She said the man immediately lit a cigarette and refused to make eye contact with her. She could not smell alcohol because of the smoke, but she said his speech was slurred as he flatly denied having run the stop sign.

Once she got him out of the car and facing her to perform tests, the officer did smell alcohol, and strongly. The driver could barely complete the sobriety tests, performing miserably, and later blew a .16 blood alcohol concentration on a breath test.

He had been convicted of his first OWI in June 2011.

Tosa driver blames balance problems on vertigo, but...

At 2:46 a.m. Sunday, a 48-year-old Wauwatosa man was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, first offense, after a patrol officer saw him roll through a flashing red light at Swan Boulevard and then weave his way down Menomonee River Parkway.

After he veered entirely into the opposite lane, the officer pulled him over. The driver said he had drunk only a couple of beers, and when asked to perform field sobriety tests, he said he would try but that he suffered from vertigo, which might make him lose his balance.

Several times, he stopped the tests and said, “I can’t do it,” and at the end of one particularly poor performance, he turned and put his hands behind his back, ready to be cuffed.

He provided a breath sample, which registered a .12 blood alcohol concentration, well over the limit vertigo or no.


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