Ronny Hicks, a man from Palm Bay, Florida, was arrested this week and charged with driving under the influence… while he was riding on an electric wheelchair. We have covered a lot of Weird DUI cases here on Crimcourts, from the guy in Scotland on a bouncy ball, to a man not long ago in Punta Gorda who got a DUI on a lawnmower… but this may take the cake. I personally worked on a case for a DUI on a tricycle, a few years back, and this tops it. (EDIT: No, the wheelchair coes not need to be motorized under Florida law.)
The problem with the charge is that the wheelchair is a necessary device for the man to get around. If he can’t be drunk on it… he can’t be drunk. It is a hard case to convince a jury to convict on. However, the incident happened in public, and he was apparently obstructing other people with his vehicle. Basically, any device on wheels is a vehicle under Florida law, and subject to DUI sanctions. Because this is his third offense, he could potentially be facing felony charges.
Also, hope he gets that head wound treated, though he apparently refused treatment at the time of arrest. Read about more WeirdDui cases here.
A man was operating a riding lawnmower today in Cape Coral, when it tipped and fell into a water-filled canal. Quick action by CCPD and public works employees were able to free the man, who had been pinned by the mower in the water. He had to be taken to the hospital. Good work Justin Cave and to the other city employees whose quick response saved the man.
Tyler Anspach, a 25-year-old man from Milton, PA, was arrested for drunk driving on a Cub Cadet lawnmower, along with driving on a suspended license, no registration, and other charges. He has had several DUI related incidents, and apparently thought he’d figured out a work-around with his lawnmower. He was wrong.
The law in Florida is similar to PA… you can get a DUI on any vehicle, which includes pretty much anything on wheels. We’ve seen plenty of riding mower DUIs around these parts. You can also get criminal charge for suspended license on any motor vehicle, and I have seen people prosecuted for that as well in Florida, in spite of how charming Richard Farnsworth and David Lynch made it look in “A Straight Story” (which is based on a true story). It may help that Mr. Straight wasn’t hauling a case of beer and a .2 BAC!