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Lawrence man faces charge for pedestrian under the influence

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PUI? I’ve heard people joke about getting a ticket for walking under the influence, but here is a recent case where that actually happened.

A 64-year-old Lawrence man charged with “pedestrian under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” a misdemeanor traffic charge, recently made his first appearance in Douglas County District Court.

About 12:30 a.m. May 16 on U.S. Highway 24/59, the man was under the influence of alcohol and walking in the roadway when he was struck by a vehicle, according to officer’s notes on the ticket on file with the court. The officer noted a “strong odor” of alcohol upon making contact with the man. Following the accident the man was transported to a Topeka hospital. Approximately two hours after the incident, a breath test given at the hospital showed his blood alcohol content at of 0.076 (the legal limit to drive in Kansas is 0.08), according to the ticket.

In case you were wondering, it appears walking on a highway while inebriated enough to be a “hazard” is the key difference between being a pedestrian under the influence and just a drunk person on foot. Here’s the state statute:

8-1543. Pedestrians under influence of alcohol or drugs; misdemeanor. A pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree which renders such pedestrian a hazard shall not walk or be upon a highway except on a sidewalk. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

Sgt. Kristen Channel of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office declined to share more information about the initial incident, because it’s now a court matter, she said.

The man was supposed to go to court in June but failed to appear. He was arrested on a bench warrant before his first appearance on July 28, when he pleaded not guilty. His case is scheduled for a bench trial Tuesday morning. According to jail records, he remained in jail this week.

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.

Comments

Louis Kannen 6 days, 11 hours ago

I would respectfully submit that this Up-standing ( prior tense ) Pillar of the Community should actually be charged under Kansas' more appropriate TSF ( Trip-Stumble-Fall ) and IVC ( Inappropriate-Vehicular-Contact ) Statutes...why bounce him around through the Courts when he's obviously already been 'bounced around' enough...

Francis Hunt 6 days, 9 hours ago

You might think it's funny but he was a hazard. Someone could have been killed if the driver swerved to avoid the drunk OR the drunk could have been killed and some poor person driving along minding their own business would have to live with that. Not quite sure why the ljworld continues to put a spin of humor on their lights and sirens stories. I was hoping the jokes regarding crime would stop when Conrad left, but hey, whatever it takes to sell papers. Don't forget everyone of these incidents you laugh about or make light of affect real people. Glad you can get a chuckle at their expense. Decide if you want to do a humorous "stupid criminal" column or if you want to report the crimes but quit confusing the two.

Clark Coan 6 days, 5 hours ago

Many could be arrested for that crime in downtown Lawrence after midnight on a Saturday night. But I don't think cops walk a beat in downtown Lawrence anymore. In fact, I haven't seen any bike cops for some time either.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 days, 9 hours ago

When someone is so drunk they are having a hard time standing straight or having a problem finding the ground, then they are a hazard. If his stumbling into the street is what caused the accident, then he should be at fault, not the driver.

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