Well, it’s one way to tip the police off that you might be driving drunk.
Wesley Jacque, of Fairfield, California, was suspected to be driving drunk in the early morning hours of November 1st when he plowed his 2004 Corvette into a parked California Highway Patrol vehicle in Northern California.
CHP Patrol Officer Darwin Lee was parked in a construction zone with his emergency lights on while Caltrans workers worked along Interstate 80 in Fairfield, California. It is estimated that Jacque was traveling about 65 miles per hour when he collided into Officer Lee’s police utility vehicle.
Although, the impact caused significant damage to Jacque’s Corvette, Jacque, himself, only complained of pain to his arm. Officer Lee, who was wearing his seatbelt, suffered injuries to neck and back. Both were taken to NorthBay Medical Center for treatment.
Following the collision, responding officers suspected Jacque of driving drunk. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of felony DUI.
Although we don’t know what Jacque’s prior DUI history is, if any, the fact that Officer Lee was injured allows prosecutors to charge Jacque with a California DUI as a felony. California Vehicle Code section 23153(a) “DUI Causing Injury” is a wobbler, which means that the prosecutors have the option of charging it as a misdemeanor or a felony.
In my experience, if prosecutors have the chance at charging wobblers as felonies instead of misdemeanors, they most certainly will.
If convicted as a felony, Jacques faces two, three, or four years in a California State Prison, an additional one year if the court finds Officer Lee suffered “great bodily injury,” a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, between $1,015 and $5,000 in fines, a very lengthy DUI program, status as a California Habitual Traffic Offender, and a five-year revocation of his California driver’s license.