This is a story rich enough that news outlets struggled to decide which facts to include in their headline. Omaha's NBC outlet, WOWT, highlights that “Flat Tires a Dead Giveaway for Man with 6th DUI.”
KETV, Omaha's ABC outlet, took a different tack, "Police: Driver booked for 3rd-offense felony DUI"
The Omaha World-Herald, the city's newspaper, picked out a different fact, "DUI case: Omaha police arrest man who was driving on 4 flats, had airbag deployed."
The man pictured above is 57-year-old Richard Curzon, an Omaha resident. Officers arrested him late Monday evening after they observed him crossing the centerline in a car that, as the headlines point out, had four flat tires and a deployed airbag. Officers believe that his injuries, shown above, occurred when the airbag deployed.
Before his arrest, Curzon led the officers on a low-speed chase for about 1.5 miles on Omaha's south side. Upon stopping, Curzon continued to be combative. Officers subdued him with a Taser.
After he was subdued, he was taken to a local hospital, where a blood analysis revealed that his BAC was .253. Nebraska's legal limit is .08; those that are arrested three times in the state for DUI with a BAC over .15 are automatically charged with felony DUI.
According to news reports, Curzon is no stranger to DUIs. This is his 6th DUI charge. He has been convicted twice. Four charges are pending, including another Felony DUI that will soon go to trial.
He is also suspected in another hit-and-run case.
In the present case, Curzon has also been charged with felony driving during revocation, felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, bail review, open container and possession of drug paraphernalia.
I would guess the response of most Omahans upon reading one of the above stories this morning is utter disdain. It is stories like these that encourage lawmakers to make already-harsh DUI laws more severe, make the bar for requiring an ignition interlock system lower, and to implement other punitive measures that, while well intentioned, will affect the rights of drivers everywhere.
One aspect that all of these stories ignore is the fact that Curzon probably suffers from an alcohol abuse disorder and needs help. That he continues to be arrested for DUIs is not his failure alone. It is also a failure of a criminal justice system that obviously has not steered him towards the help he needs.
During my years as a defense attorney, I have seen countless defendants similar to Mr. Curzon. Most are burdened by their failure to behave as they desire. Most would gladly accept help if they were steered towards it. Unfortunately, most states fail to push those in Mr. Curzon's position towards the help they need.
It is my hope that, in the future, states begin to look towards solutions that confront the reasons that drivers like Mr. Curzon take the wheel when they should not instead of punishing them until their incarceration keeps them from driving.
If you have been charged with a DUI in the greater Seattle area, including in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties, you need an experienced DUI attorney. I have decades of experience fighting for the rights of those accused of DUI and am also experienced in DUI forensic evidence and a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, do not hesitate to call me for a free consultation at 206-971-0067.