Motorized Barstool DUI
By: Mike Stetzer
You may be charged with a DUI if you're drunk driving anything - and we mean anything. Even a barstool on wheels.
An Ohio man was recently charged with drunk driving a
homemade motorized barstool on wheels. According to the police report, Kile Wygle crashed his barstool while
trying to make a 180 degree turn and sustained some injuries. He called 911 to report the accident and get
When police arrived, Wygle, a NASCAR enthusiast, boasted
that his barstool could reach speeds of 38 miles per hour and admitted that he
had consumed about 15 beers before the crash.
Wygle built the barstool vehicle using a five-hoursepower
lawnmower engine, which he welded to a frame. He added a steering wheel and hit the road.
The go-stool driver was treated for minor injuries and
charged with OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) and driving with a suspended license. He has requested a jury trial. The wrecked barstool was not impounded, as a
car likely would have been.
There are many instances in which people who are not
actually driving cars are charged with DUI. In most states, a traditional motor vehicle is not necessary for a DUI
arrest. Many other types of vehicles may
still qualify as operating a motor vehicle.
If a scooter, wheelchair, lawnmower, golf cart, or other
mode of transportation has a motor, an intoxicated operator can generally be
charged with driving under the influence. In many jurisdictions, it is the motor, whether gas or electric, that
makes the operation of a vehicle a crime to operate while over the legal blood
alcohol content limit of .08.
In some cases, no motor is required for a DUI arrest. There have been cases of people on horseback
being charged with DUI. There have also
been DUI cases involving bicycles. A man
who was actually walking beside and pushing his bicycle across his front yard
was arrested for DUI in Ohio.
Jeff Brown was walking beside his bike in his front yard
when an officer stopped him because the bike was not equipped with a
headlight. The officer smelled alcohol
on Brown’s breath and asked him to take a breath test. Brown refused and was arrested for DUI.
He was convicted of DUI, his driver’s license was suspended
for six months, and he spent four days in jail. Brown appealed the conviction, but lost. He later investigated the DUI laws in Ohio and found that the laws had
been changed to include non-traditional vehicles and allow DUI arrests on
private property based on MADD statistics.
Many states are enacting stricter DUI laws with tougher
penalties for even first-offense DUI convictions. Laws are also getting broader to include more
types of vehicles and locations, as was seen in the Brown case. If you have been arrested for DUI, consider contacting a DUI lawyer as soon as
possible to discuss your options and defense strategy.