For police officers, there is a lot of opportunity for a drunk driving arrest to go awry. You’d hope that stopping and arresting these drivers would be as simple as taking the keys away and putting them in the back of a squad car, but more often than not these arrests are dangerous for the police.
These days, police officers arresting drunk drivers put their lives on the line every time they attempt an arrest. Take Officer Noah Leotta for example: the Maryland police officer was struck and killed by a drunk driver while on the side of the road during a routine drunk driving checkpoint. The death of Officer Leotta wasn’t an isolated event either: other police officers have also been injured or killed that way, and still others have been crashed into while in their squad cars.
A recent case in Torrance, California shows exactly how dangerous drunk driver arrests are becoming for police officers. A drunk driver, driving with her airbags deployed, was weaving erratically on the wrong side of the street when police gave chase, finally blocking her way with their squad cars. Instead of stopping, she drove straight toward them and crashed into their squad cars while they were trying to get out. To stop her, they felt they had to shoot.
It should have been one more drunk driving arrest in California, but the driver died at the hospital from her injuries and several officers were injured as well. It’s another tragic outcome that resulted from someone making the choice to drink and drive, and it does go to show that there are no routine drunk driving arrests anymore. Every time someone gets behind the wheel he or she is a danger to others, and more often than not the people in real danger are the police officers who are trying to stop them.
The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock brings you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact of – or fallout from – drunk driving.