After a DUI arrest, suspected drunk drivers have several options. They can take a breathalyzer test or refuse to do so, they can bail themselves out or spend the night in jail, and they can determine how they behave in front of the police.
Rarely, though, do DUI suspects take the ill-advised choice of running from the police. This practice, however, seems to be growing more popular, particularly in the town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
According to a recent report from Sioux Falls’ newspaper, The Argus Leader, local police have had a difficult time with runners, or people who sprint out of the police station while waiting for the results of a blood or breathalyzer test.
The problem is particularly acute in the case of convicted DUI drivers who must return to the police station for a daily blood alcohol test.
After a DUI conviction, South Dakota often orders offenders to participate in a 24/7 sobriety program. For a period of a few months, the offenders must have a blood test taken every day at the police station.
If the individuals pass the exam, they are free to go, and eventually graduate from the program after a certain period of documented sobriety. If, however, the individuals fail the exam, they are immediately placed into jail because they violated the terms of their DUI probation.
One hole in this system in Sioux Falls, though, is that a test-taker must wait in the police department for 15 minutes while the police officer attempts to determine the validity of the initial test.
During this waiting period, the offender waits in the lobby, which is not staffed by a security guard, and the only officer in the room is behind a desk tinkering with blood tests. In other words, it is an invitation for a concerned offender to run.
This occurs fairly frequently in Sioux Falls, according to the report, and recently happened in the case of Brad Lehrkamp. The 28-year-old Lehrkamp was waiting in the lobby and he feared that he had “blown hot,” or failed his blood test.
Lehrkamp’s fears proved accurate, and so, fearing the prospect of going back to jail, Lehrkamp bolted out of the lobby and made a run for it.
His attempt to flee, however, was quickly thwarted when he broke his leg leaping down the police department’s stairs. After being treated at a nearby clinic, a gimpy Lehrkamp was promptly delivered to a local jail.
Of course, dramatic attempts to flee are not the only possible method of escaping South Dakota’s 24/7 sobriety program. Other defendants simply refuse to show up for their appointments, which voids the terms of their probation and also leads to further jail time.
These 24/7 programs have been very popular in many states, because they save the costs of jailing a DUI offender, but also allow law enforcement officials to keep close tabs on people who may act as a danger to others.
The programs, however, also have their critics, many of whom claim that daily blood tests are too intrusive, and that they may not prevent future DUI accidents if they are too loosely enforced.