In a typical DUI case, the suspect is apprehended by police officers who are wearing uniforms, or are otherwise obviously licensed police. Rarely are people suspected of DUIs arrested by civilians.
A recent incident, however, in Bassett, California illustrated what happens when good Samaritans take the law into their own hands.
According to a recent story in the San Gabriel Tribune, the suspected drunk driver—a man in his mid-40’s whose name has not yet been released—tried to flee the scene of a crash on a California freeway but was thwarted by concerned citizens.
The driver had caused a crash around 5 a.m. that clogged morning traffic on the 605 Freeway for more than an hour, according to logs from the California Highway Patrol.
The crash involved the driver’s Honda Pilot and another vehicle and, despite the driver’s high level of intoxication, the crash did not cause any serious injuries, according to an interview with CHP Officer Luis Mendoza.
In the interview, Officer Mendoza said that the drunk driver tried to flee the scene immediately after the accident. In addition, Mendoza admitted that he could not verify some reports that suggested the driver tried to steal another car when he was running away from the scene of the crash.
According to Mendoza, other drivers “saw him kind of staggering, walking away from the scene.” When they tried to hold in place, the drunk driver reportedly became “a little aggressive.”
Despite the driver’s aggressive stance, one passerby was able to handcuff the man with flexcuffs, and then forced the man to sit down. Once the man was handcuffed and seated, several citizens kept an eye on him to ensure that he wouldn’t try to flee again.
Of course, after all this effort, the driver remained uncooperative when police arrived, as he refused to take a sobriety test and did not answer the officers’ questions. Nevertheless, because of his behavior and other obvious signs, the police concluded that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When CHP officers arrived, the suspect was not cooperative and refused to submit to sobriety tests, the officer said. Officers determined he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Now, the driver will face potential fines, a suspended license, or even jail time as a result of his transgression. If he had injured any of the other motorists, or if he had injured a police officer, the possible sentence he would face would be much worse.
And despite the courage of the other drivers who detained the drunk man, people who are not trained police officers are typically discouraged from taking the law into their own hands, particularly if the situation involves a dangerous person.
Of course, this advice didn’t stop a few brave motorists in California from detaining an obviously inebriated driver.