Erin Brockovich, the environmental activist who was made famous by the movie in which she was portrayed by Julia Roberts was arrested on Friday, June 7th for operating a boat while intoxicated.
Edwin Lyngar, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said that a game warden noticed that Brockovich, was having difficulty mooring her boat at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor. Breath tests later indicated that her blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit.
“She was not sure how to maneuver the boat into the dock,” Lyngar told The Associated Press. “It’s a simple thing if you can think clearly. But if you add alcohol and unfamiliarity of the area, it can all cause serious problems.”
In a statement issued Sunday, June 9th, Brockovich stressed that she did not operate the boat in open waters and said “there was no public safety risk.”
She continued, “That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake, I know better and I am very sorry. After a day in the sun and with nothing to eat it appears that a couple of drinks had a greater impact than I had realized.”
At a time when we slap on the sunscreen and head to the rivers, lakes and, in California, the ocean, Brockovich’s incident reminds us that drunk driving is also illegal if it takes place behind the wheel of a boat in California.
California Harbors and Navigation Code section 655 states:
(b) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.
(c) No person shall operate any recreational vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more in his or her blood.
It seems that she’s going to have to take some time away from saving small California towns from toxic waste to defend a different legal matter.