This week, we ask Officer William Pelarenos: What’s the Strangest DUI Encounter You’ve Had?
Officer William Pelarenos: Late one night, another DUI Officer had made a traffic stop on a DUI driver. So I pulled up behind the vehicles which were in the parking lane of the street. I turned on my emergency lights and watched the Field Sobriety Tests being conducted on the sidewalk.
An approaching vehicle in the traffic lane stopped at the red light directly next to my squad car. The light changed to green but the vehicle (an SUV) didn’t move. The light changes back to red and then cycles back to green, but the vehicle stays stopped. So I wave this driver on, thinking that he doesn’t know it’s OK to pass the squad cars. The vehicle doesn’t budge, so I walk up to the driver’s side window and tell him to roll down the window. I am about to tell him that he can drive on when I smell the odor of beer emitting once the window is rolled down. So I ask this driver to put the vehicle in park and safely step out. I walk him over to the sidewalk to start Field Sobriety tests. I end up arresting him for DUI while my fellow Officer arrested the first driver for DUI. So I tell the other Officer, “they are coming with us tonight, one DUI driver stopped to watch the Field Sobriety Tests of another DUI driver.”
The tow truck driver pulls up with a flat bed tow truck to tow both impounded vehicles of these DUI drivers. Once he loads up the cars, we leave.
We head to the lock-up with our arrests. I see the tow truck driver two days later and he tells what happened on the way to his tow yard with the two cars. He was driving behind another vehicle on the same street that we arrested the two DUI drivers earlier. He sees the vehicle swerving so he calls 911 on his cell phone to report a possible DUI driver.
While talking to the dispatcher, he sees the car jump the curb and hit a light post, knocking it down. The driver survived the collision but had to be taken to the hospital. The roadway was blocked for several hours due to this post lying across the lanes of traffic. Traffic had to be diverted to a side street until a city crew could safely remove that post.
The tow truck driver tells me. "You guys should of stuck around a little longer, you could of had another one.”
I told him, “Next time, we’ll set up a tent on the sidewalk and process all the arrests right there. How’s that?”
Another strange incident occurred one night with a different tow truck driver. It was a Roadside Safety Check, also known as a DUI Checkpoint. I made a DUI arrest and the tow truck driver hooked the car and drove back to his tow yard. This was late at night, so upon arrival at his yard, he unhooks the car off the back of the tow truck. He goes to unlock the gate, intending to drive the car into the yard, lock the gate and return to the DUI Checkpoint.
Unbeknownst to him, he had been followed by a friend or relative of the arrested subject. While he was unlocking the gate, someone got into the car and drove it off.