In order to avoid being arrested for a DUI, many would-be drivers opt to hand the keys to someone who is sober. This strategy, however, only works when the driver is legally licensed, and is not a child.
According to a report in USA Today, a Michigan man began his campaign for “Worst Dad of the Year” by asking his 9-year-old daughter to drive the family’s van after he became too intoxicated to drive.
Sources indicate that Shawn Weimer, 39, recently let his daughter drive his van home around 3:00 a.m., as Weimer rested comfortably in the van’s passenger seat.
Footage from a surveillance video filmed at a gas station near Woodhaven, Michigan shows Weimer telling a station clerk that his daughter was his designated driver.
Allegedly, the video catches Weimer telling the clerk, “Nine years old. Nine. Dad drinking. Listen, we’re leaving, and she’s driving.”
Predictably, the news of Weimer and his daughter’s adventure struck the girl’s mother as very frightening. Heather Hammon, the mother of the young driver, told reporters that she was “mortified” when she learned the news.
While he did manage to escape drunk driving charges, Weimer found himself in court this week facing charges of child abuse and other charges related to his allegedly habitual drinking problems.
And, while Hammon obviously disapproved of his behavior, she did tell reporters that Weimer was otherwise an attentive, dutiful father who always paid his child support on time. In a classy understatement, Hammon said that he “just made a bad choice.”
The two parents separated before their daughter was born, but she visits her father every other weekend. This arrangement may change, though, as the presiding judge forbade Weimer from having contact with his daughter during the court proceedings.
Weimer’s prior criminal record is not perfectly clean, which could hurt his case in court. Sources indicate that he was arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol in 2007 after being involved in a crash.
Despite his apparent affection for his daughter, and his history as a decent father, Weimer may suffer severe consequences for his momentary loss of judgment.
Other drivers, however, should know that planning before drinking and designating a sober driver is usually a foolproof way of avoiding a drunk driving arrest. The key, of course, is to designate someone who can legally drive.
If you find yourself in a situation where a minor is the only possible sober driver, other reliable methods of getting home include taking public transportation, hailing a cab, or calling a friend, regardless of the time of day.
By making sound decisions after you find yourself too drunk to drive, you may avoid serious legal troubles, possible injuries or accidents, or, in the most egregious scenarios, unwanted national press attention.