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Driver Guilty – Drunk Driving a La-Z-Boy?!

11 comments

10/31 – After you read this, look at the Updated Post here.

11/3/09 – Another update! DWI La-Z-Boy Isn’t – Trademark Foul Kills E-Bay Auction at $43,500

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Drinking and driving is always a bad combination, but a Minnesota man has taken DWI in a more casual direction. Dennis LeRoy Anderson of Proctor, Minnesota (near Duluth), pled guilty Monday of DUI … while on a La-Z-Boy recliner!

The 61 year old Anderson had converted a La-Z-Boy recliner with wheels, a lawnmower engine, stereo, cupholders and headlights (see photo). Anderson does auto body work when he’s not making furniture into hot rods.

Unfortunately, he had a lot too much to drink before climbing into his chair, registering a 0.29% blood alcohol content, 3-1/2 times the legal limit! Anderson left the Keyboard Lounge on August 31, 2008, hopped on his La-Z-Boy but promptly crashed it into a real car in the parking lot.

The Star Tribune reported:

Deputy Police Chief Troy Foucault said the chair is "quite decked out." Along with the stereo and cup holders, it is powered by a converted lawnmower
with a Briggs & Stratton engine, a steering wheel, headlights and a power antenna.

Foucault estimated that the La-Z-Boy can top out at 15 to 20 miles per hour. A National Hot Rod Association sticker adorns the headrest.

The chair was impounded and will be sold at the next police auction.

"We have quite a few people calling about buying it," said Foucault, who half-seriously acknowledged that he’s tempted to bid on it, except that "I have kids who would take it out and drive it on the street."

Anderson, with a prior conviction for drunken driving, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.

Driving while drunk is serious business. As my partner Mike Bryant has written, drunk drivers can cause serious injuries to themselves and others.

Notice the ill-advised between-the-legs placement of that steering column/gearshift lever/whatever it is? I gotta think that "second collision" at 15-20mph could have caused more than "minor injuries." Ouch!

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10/31 – Updated Post here.

11/3/09 – Another update! DWI La-Z-Boy Isn’t – Trademark Foul Kills E-Bay Auction at $43,500

11 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    That really is quite the contraption and you wonder what no fault and licensing issues it even suggests. Odd story indeed.

  2. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Interesting story Joe. This is at least the second story I’ve read about motorized chair operators with OWI charges. Dennis should have known better, especially after Kile Wygle, 28 of Ohio was charged with driving his motorized bar stool while under the influence. Wygle attempted a U-turn while speeding down the street in front of his home. I have to wonder if this makes sense from a law enforcement standpoint. Our societie’s relationship with alcohol seems to be one of love and hate. On either the bar stool or the Lazyboy there aren’t any passengers. You can’t drive fast enough to do much harm … and it would be fun to watch them crash. So why the tickets? Maybe they should create these with pedals instead of being motorized.

    You can see a photo of his MBS at the CNN site: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/31/barstool.dui/index.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMg1pE37aGI

    Oh and let’s not forget the landmower operator who is Tased and is on YouTube!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4hkz4slfhI

  3. Mitch says:
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    Why will the chair be auctioned? Anderson should be ticketed and he should have to pay for any damages to the car he hit. But auctioning off the chair doesn’t seem proper. I know numerous DUI/OWI offenders (even repeat offenders) who did not lose their car. What’s the justification for selling the chair?

    Honestly, I repect Mr. Aderson jut for the craftmanship.

  4. Joe Crumley says:
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    Mike:

    Yes, the mind boggles with the legal ramifications. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Joe Crumley says:
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    Steve:

    I have to disagree. While generally, I’m willing to allow people who want to take risks (motorcycling without helmets, skateboarders on railings), we have to draw the line where the risk is spread to innocent bystanders. You even implied as much in your message.

    What if this guy hit a motorcycle? That would do some damage, and could easily kill the cyclist. Hitting a pedestrian with this thing at 15-20 miles per hour could also be deadly. No, I’m pretty sure if these guys want to drive around their back yard or a protected race track on these things, that’s fine, but the law has to keep them off the road, and it makes perfect sense to apply the DWI/OWI/DUI laws!

    Thanks for reading and commenting, and posting the additional material…. very interesting indeed.

  6. Joe Crumley says:
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    Mitch:

    My partner and criminal lawyer associates tell me that forfeitures occur in more serious DUIs on a regular basis. The state says:

    Minnesota’s DWI law provides for vehicle
    forfeiture for a designated license revocation or
    designated offense, which is typically the third
    DWI violation within a ten-year period, though
    with one or more aggravating factors, a person’s
    second-time or even first-time violation might
    qualify as well.

    I have to agree that just on pure creativity and workmanship, the work is impressive. The auction will be interesting!

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. kirkw8804 says:
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    Hey Joe, Lighten up. Why do lawyers take everything so seriously when half of what they do is a sick joke? The guy did no real harm. If it is possible to confiscate people’s property for things that might have happened, we might as well just give it all up, and put the entire nation in jail… Oh wait, you’d probably like that.

  8. Joe Crumley says:
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    KirkW:

    I thought I took a fairly light tone with the story, but despite the initial humor of the situation, people have to be aware and responsible for their behavior. And drinking and driving results in tragedy way too often. I’ll go so far as to say don’t ride a bicycle intoxicated. I’ve seen people killed from getting hit by an out-of-control cyclist.

    I’m not sure why you’re ripping on lawyers. There are good lawyers and bad ones, but they tend to have influence on people’s lives, and I would agree many could be more mindful of that. But you can’t judge all lawyers by what you’ve heard or the actions of a few. But people do.

    I just try to follow the example of great trial lawyers like Abraham Lincoln and the Framers of our great Constitution.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. Facebook User says:
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    so stupid that he was arrested for this. cops seriously need to stop making retarded moves like this.

  10. Joe Crumley says:
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    Wesley

    There is a question here of scale, I agree, but look at the updated post:
    http://stcloud.injuryboard.com/automobile-accidents/dwi-lazboy-attracts-thousands-in-ebay-bids.aspx?googleid=273700
    and you can see this thing is no toy. It could do some serious damage if it hit someone.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  11. D.Moran says:
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    Of course they stole his chair. America was founded by Pirates and has existed by the code ever since. “Take all you can, give nothing back”.