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July 17, 2011

"Man charged with DUI after winning demolition derby"

The title of this post is the headline of this amusing local article from Kentucky sent my way by a helpful reader.   Here are the specifics:

Moments after winning the demolition derby at the Jessamine County Fair Wednesday night, a man ended up being taken to jail. Nicholasville Police say 36-year-old David Warner was drunk, so they charged him with DUI.

Police say during the demolition derby itself, they began receiving complaints about Warner, claiming he was under the influence. As soon as the derby was over, police say they approached Warner as he got out of his car.

Police say Warner was staggering, and having trouble standing up straight. Police then gave Warner a sobriety test. Officers said he was clearly drunk. Warner was immediately placed under arrest and charged with DUI....

Warner talked to NEWSFIRST Thursday afternoon saying he was unfairly treated, and called the charge ridiculous. "I mean, I'm not denying I wasn't drinking by no means, but I was not drunk. I was under the limit," said David Warner.

Warner claims he drank a few beers before hitting the track, to "loosen me up," but he said it wasn't enough to warrant a DUI. "I'm not perfect, but this has gone too far, and I will fight it," he said.

Fair officials say they're discussing their options. That could include stripping Warner of his trophy and prize money.

July 17, 2011 at 03:58 PM | Permalink


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I would have thought DUI would require being on a public road not a closed track. Also, I wouldn't expect /anyone/ to be able to pass a FSB immediately after participating in a demolition derby, getting knocked around like that just doesn't seem like it would be conducive to steady nerves. On the other hand, I would expect that the organizers could set whatever rules they liked and if it was announced before hand that sobriety was required that he could well be stripped of the prize money and title.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 17, 2011 4:08:28 PM

Why "stripped of his prize"? Does being drunk give you an unfair advantage in a demolition derby, like taking steroids to hit more home runs?

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 17, 2011 6:15:21 PM


Because I could see drunkenness being a safety issue to the organizers. So long as that was in the stated rules I wouldn't have a problem with it. If the organizers overlooked the issue and just thought everyone would show up sober that's their problem not his. I know it's pretty amazing, but demolition derby races do in fact have safety rules

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 17, 2011 7:10:13 PM

I was joking, my dear, Soro.

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 17, 2011 9:16:23 PM

Do drunk driving laws apply to driving on private property? He did cause damage, but likely with the written consent of this competitors.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 17, 2011 9:28:46 PM

"I would have thought DUI would require being on a public road"
"Do drunk driving laws apply to driving on private property?"

When I was a teenager, I got a ticket for illegal backing while at a gas station. I was informed by my (parent's) insurance agent that there are two offenses you can commit on a private property... illegal backing and DUI.

What really gets me is that the goal of DUI laws is to prevent dangerous driving that causes damage, while the goal of demolition derbies is to reward dangerous driving that causes damage. Even if this guy was over the limit, what's the problem in this situation? Prosecutors should not pursue this case.

Posted by: anon | Jul 17, 2011 11:29:47 PM

Yes, Anon is correct. The wording of the Kentucky statute is "anywhere in the state."


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 17, 2011 11:49:49 PM

No fair. Looking something up in an actual authoritative source is cheating in this sort of comment-spree.

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 18, 2011 12:34:50 AM

Where is the reasonable suspicion or probable cause? How would you define "bad" driving in the context of a demolition derby?

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Jul 18, 2011 9:17:45 AM

Ha! I love this article. Wondering how someone could tell he was drunk? Isn't running into other cars the goal in a demolition derby?

Posted by: Daniel H. | Jul 18, 2011 3:04:52 PM

Stanley: "How would you define "bad" driving in the context of a demolition derby?"

me: trying to avoid accidents, of course :)

On a serious note, as someone from a rural area where believe it or not, the demolition derby was actually considered wholesome family entertainment, this seems like a really dangerous precedent. While some may see demolition derbies as merely stupid entertainment, I would argue that they serve a useful societal function. There is a certain segment of the population - genreally male and for some unknown reason heavily concetrated in rural areas - who combine a primal urge to destroy stuff with an extremely unhealthy devotion to alcohol. Demolition derbies allow them to destroy stuff in a relatively safe manner. Because we know that drunken idiots are not going to stop being drunken idiots regardless of some rules prohibition alcohol consumption - as if anyone who deliberately be in a bunch of automobile accidents while being sober - preventing them from driving in the demolition derby is going to rechannel their destructive urges into less safe alternatives - likely involving guns or explosives. Thus, in seeking to keep Kentucky safe from evil drunken idiot demolition derby drivers, the police just exposed Kentucky to drunken idiots with guns and explosives.

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Jul 18, 2011 6:42:23 PM

my last post is so poorly written that I sound like a drunken idiot :(

hopefully you can figure out my point.

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Jul 18, 2011 6:52:43 PM

I think they've gone too far for putting him in jail. They should have discussed the consequences before imposing anything on him.

Posted by: Bankruptcy Attorney San Antonio | Oct 2, 2013 9:34:24 AM

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Posted by: Karen | Apr 12, 2014 5:10:37 AM

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