This last August, a South Dakota man received his 16th (that’s right 16th) DUI conviction. Robert Groethe, 60, of Rapid City received a two year prison sentence for his 16th DUI conviction (19th arrest) with a blood alcohol content level of 0.247 percent which resulted in the collision of a parked car outside of a casino. Groethe’s DUI history goes back to 1977. Since then Groeth has racked up 19 DUI arrests, 16 DUI convictions, with 11 of the 16 convictions for felony charges.
As I was reading this article, I began wondering what the record was for DUI arrests and/or convictions.
Surprisingly, South Dakota may have been home to a potential record holder. Appropriately nicknamed, “Mr. DUI,” Jerry Zeller is rumored to have racked up an astonishing 30+ DUI arrests. Officials are unsure of the actual amount. It seems that the only thing that was able to keep Mr. DUI from driving drunk again was his death in 2008. Zeller fell asleep with a lit cigarette which caused the house fire that eventually killed him. Rumor has it that alcohol played a part in the incident.
In May of 2012, an Albuquerque man was arrested for the 20th time. George Toledo, 62, allegedly had two flasks in his possession when he was arrested, one of which was empty. A witness stated that when officers pulled Toledo from his car, he urinated on himself.
In August of 2009, a New Mexico police dashboard camera captured the DUI arrest of Delano T. Vigil. The video showed no apparent sign of intoxication as Vigil was coherent and walking. However, it was later determined that Vigil’s blood alcohol content was an almost five times the legal limit at 0.392 percent, enough to kill some people. Even more surprising was that the arrest marked Vigil’s 22nd DUI.
A Virginia man was given seven years in prison for his 25th DUI arrest in May of 2012. Tracy Michael Decker was arrested after arguing with an employee at a toll station. If that wasn’t bad enough, Decker’s BAC was 0.28 percent, he had open alcohol containers in his vehicle, and had two 4 year old children without seatbelts in the back seat.
Looks like Mr. DUI, Jerry Zeller, takes the cake. Let’s hope that record stays the record because, joking aside, nobody wins with any DUI arrests.