This week, we ask Officer William Pelarenos: Have you had any humorous encounters with drunk people?
Officer Pelarenos: Yes, but many of these encounters were humorous to us as police officers; not necessarily humorous to the intoxicated individuals that we encountered.
One DUI driver had called his wife to bond him out and take him home. I walked him out of the lock-up and up to the front desk where she was posting the cash bond. While signing the paperwork, she begins berating him about his drinking. The guy turns around and tells me that he doesn’t want to bond out, that he wants to go back to his cell. I tell him "Sorry you’ve been signed out, you gotta go with your wife.”
One other night, a DUI arrestee called his wife for bond money but she refused to come the police station to bond him out. I told him wait 20 minutes, then call her again. This time, she told him off again and hung up on him. He didn’t have enough money to bond himself out but he did have enough cash for a cheap motel. I released him on his own recognizance and drove him to an inexpensive motel so he wouldn’t have to spend the weekend in jail.
On another occasion, I was in the lock-up when the patrol officers arrested a bridal party at a bar for attacking the bartender and waitress. It seems that the bar was closing and the bartender cut them off, which usually doesn’t go over well with people that are already drunk. Four members of the bridal party were arrested--the groom’s brother, the bride and two bridesmaids. Oddly enough, the arresting Police Officers were actually married to each other. So, a husband and wife team arrested a bridal party. We called it a ‘family affair’ at the lock-up.
One time I was the breathalyzer operator for an arrest that one of my fellow DUI Officers had made. This wasn’t the man’s first DUI arrest--he had a very bad driving history. Anyway, his BAC registers over twice the legal limit. Once the breath test was completed, he wanted to use the wash room. Unbeknownst to us, he picks up the breath ticket (print-out of the breath test results) and swallows it. We are looking around for it but can’t find it. This guy isn’t saying a word, he has a complete poker face on. I get tired of looking around for the breath ticket, so I just hit the ‘last test’ key on the breathalyzer machine and it prints me out another copy. The look on his face completely changed. His whole world fell apart at that moment, as a matter of fact, I printed out four more copies of the breath ticket, just to be safe.
Most people are unfamiliar with the term “functioning alcoholic.” It refers to people who drink heavily everyday but still perform everyday functions such as going to work, taking the kids to school, grocery shopping, etc. I ran into one of these "functioning alcoholics" on a hot July afternoon, several years back. He was definitely under the influence of alcohol and he was coming from the grocery store. He had groceries in the car such as milk, ham, onions, carrots, etc. I placed him under arrest. His vehicle was towed and impounded with all its contents. His BAC level was twice the legal limit. He then asked me about the impoundment of his car. I told him that he couldn’t get the car until tomorrow and that I had good news and bad news for him. The bad news was that in that kind of heat, by the next day, the milk sitting in the car would be spoiled. The good news was that in that kind of heat, by the next day, the ham would be done.
If you've enjoyed these stories, please look for my new book, which consists of a dozen of my DUI arrests. It is currently at the publisher for editing and copyright, and should be available by early November. Watch this column for more information as it gets closer to release.
Got a DUI question for Officer Pelarenos? Ask him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on Twitter, William Pelarenos, @policeproject1.