by Kyle Swenson
Is this the greatest drunk driving episode ever to grace the pixels of this news blog, no mean holding pen for past booze and car related spectacles of epic stature? When the Society of Professional Journalists finally gets its act together and opens nominations for a Best DUI News Story category, this is a shoe in . . .
We open our scene in central Ohio, in Lancaster, where, from inside the cabin of his State Highway Patrol cruiser, Trooper Patrick Townsend spotted a Jeep speeding up the road last Thursday night, according to the Columbus Dispatch. After pulling over the auto and approaching the driver, the officer smelled alcohol. From behind the wheel, Michael W. Smith of Crooksville, laid it out on the table: “I'm drunk,” he told the trooper.
The 45-year-old driver was indeed drunk, racking up a 0.234 blood alcohol content. He was taken off to the patrol station and told to call someone to bail him out.
About an hour later, Trooper Kari Riebesell spotted a Chevrolet pickup truck swing down the wrong way on an entrance ramp to Rt. 33. The truck then — interestingly — flung itself across the lawn in front of the Highway Patrol post and into the parking lot.
When the trooper approached the vehicle, 68-year-old John W. Wallace was behind the wheel, loopy and discombobulated. He informed the trooper he was there to pick up his son. It was the earlier drunk driver's father, despite the different last names.
Both Wallace and Smith were booked. This being his first drunk driving offense, Smith was allowed to call for another ride and go home. Not so with Wallace. The elder had a long career of boozing behind the wheel on his record; the latest incident brought the knotch marks up to 13. Wallace is currently in custody and faces 10 years in prison.