A Mixed Week for Non-Automotive DUI Cases

Man with Revoked License takes Lawnmower for a Beer Run

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According to the Belleville News-Democrat, a Belleville, Ill. man has been charged with a DUI. The charge is ordinary, but the mode of transportation involved in the case is not.

Authorities in southwestern Illinois say 49-year-old Dennis Cretton drove his yellow 2007 Cub Cadet riding lawnmower up to a gas station. He appeared intoxicated, and purchased more beer at the gas station. Neighbors called police, who have responded several times previously to reports that Cretton was driving his lawnmower while intoxicated but had been unable to observe the alleged behavior in progress.

In this case, neighbors reported that Cretton was attempting to pass cars traveling through his residential neighborhood.

Cretton's driver's license had been revoked after a previous DUI conviction, and he may have assumed that police had no interest in the operation of riding lawnmowers under the influence. That was not the case, and as police deputies attempted to stop Cretton, using their sirens and emergency lights to signal him off the road. The runaway lawnmower veered into Cretton's lawn and tipped over.

When the mowing blades finally stopped, Cretton was arrested and charged with felony driving under the influence. He made his $10,000 bail and is awaiting a court date.

RUI: Riding Under the Influence

In Georgia, Mark Millican of the Dalton Daily Citizen reports the conclusion to an equally notable case. In April, Gregory Scott Cooley and Jeffery Ray Owen were arrested for riding horses while intoxicated. A Whitfield County grand jury has "no-billed" the case, meaning it will not move further through the court system.

At the time of the incident, both men were found to have twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system as they rode horses near Owen’s property, according to police involved in the case. The Whitfield County District Attorney, Kermit McManus, said that the case boiled down to a "legal distinction" between a vehicle and a horse.

"It was no-billed because it’s not illegal to be intoxicated on a horse," McManus said. "The legal distinction is that the charge of DUI is defined as operating a vehicle. Basically, to be in violation of the driving under the influence statute you have to be in a vehicle. A vehicle is defined as a 'device,' not a horse. A horse does not fit the definition of a vehicle."

Chief of Police Roy Brunson defended the actions of his offers.

"The way we look at it, they put themselves in danger, they put other people in the roadway in danger, and the horses, too," Brunson said. "If they get that horse in front of a car, we've got a serious situation."

Sources: Belleville News-Democrat and Dalton Daily Citizen


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