When police come upon an accident involving a DUI in Los Angeles, they may sometimes find that all the vehicle’s occupants have exited the car. That scenario can make it more difficult for the officers to figure out who was actually driving at the time of the crash. Thinking to confuse police (or maybe because they are confused themselves), the car’s occupants claim that someone else was behind the wheel.
But when Bernard Michael Drivdahl of Benson, Minnesota, stated that another driver was responsible for the destruction his car left behind, the police were pretty sure they could discount his story. For one thing, the 59-year-old Drivdahl was apparently alone when they picked him up. In addition, Drivdahl said that the person driving the vehicle was Jerry Springer.
TwinCities.com reports that on May 29th, an officer who suspected Drivdahl of driving under the influence began chasing his vehicle through the town. Speeds reached 70 miles per hour during the pursuit. Drivdahl eventually drove through several front lawns, crashed into a parked pickup and then hit not one but two homes. The damage could have been worse, however; the car broke a gas line in one home.
The officers found Drivdahl’s car still in gear with the wheels spinning. The driver, who was pinned into his car by the steering wheel, quickly claimed “I wasn’t driving. Jerry Springer was driving.” Since the police found no trace of Springer, they charged Drivdahl instead, booking him on felony fleeing a police officer, driving after cancellation (of his driver’s license), driving while impaired and reckless driving.
Blood tests measured Drivdahl’s BAC at 0.13. Jerry Springer has not commented on the incident.
Trying to evade a DUI by fleeing from police isn’t a good idea in any state. In California, Vehicle Code 2800.2 permits a police officer to file charges as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony penalties for reckless evading can include up to three years in state prison.
Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group has been an effective Los Angeles DUI defense attorney for nearly two decades; he and his team can help you identify an appropriate strategy.