Off the Beat: Life in the passed-out lane

Don't drink and drive Adobe Stock photo

Late at night May 22, a DeLand police officer was sent to a restaurant regarding a male who appeared to be unconscious in a car in the drive-thru lane.

The lawman found a 28-year-old fellow “sleeping at the wheel with the engine running and the vehicle shifted in park.” An open can of Michelob Ultra beer sat in the car’s central cup holder, and “an open case of beer [was] behind the driver’s seat.”

Also, a crushed can of Michelob Ultra was lying on the floor under the steering wheel.

When another police officer got there, the two of them tried to waken Sleeping Beauty. Calling to him didn’t work, so finally one of the lawmen brought the guy to consciousness with a “sternum rub.” (Can you get one of those at a massage parlor?)

When Sleeping Beauty woke up, the police noticed that his breath smelled of alcohol, he seemed confused, and “he spoke in soft mumbles.”

The lead officer asked him what happened, “to which he replied he was waiting for the light and nodded ahead of him.” The police report notes, “there was no traffic light in the drive-thru.”

Sleeping Beauty knew he was in DeLand “but was not immediately aware that he was at the … restaurant drive-thru.”

The lead officer asked him to get out of his car, which he did, and the officer told the guy that he “suspected him of driving under the influence.”

But Sleeping Beauty denied he’d been drinking and refused to perform field-sobriety tests or to give a breath sample, and he again stated that he hadn’t been drinking.

Sleeping Beauty was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence and taken to jail.

Maybe his lawyer can argue that Sleeping Beauty had been at home in bed asleep, when some practical jokers put him in his car and in DeLand. Then the trick drove him to the drive-thrusters strategically placed open beer cans and a case of beer throughout the vehicle, just to create a hilarious but untrue scene for law enforcement to discover. Hey, reasonable doubt, right?

— By Keith Allen, based on local police-agency reports. If you have information about a crime, call Crime Stoppers, 1-888-277-TIPS. You could be eligible for a reward.