By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Most DUI arrests are rather uninteresting, others have some rather bizarre circumstances, as is the case where the Washington State Patrol arrested Everett, WA Police Lieutenant Jimmy Phillips for suspected DUI. This in itself was not extremely inordinate but what truly struck me as odd were a number of particulars alleged during the incident that made me wonder, “What were you thinking!”
There are certain commonalities manifest in the run of the mill drunk. Every law enforcement officer has heard these excuses and they oddly seem to be taught by a common teacher in Drunk Driving 101, but we would hope that the very ones who see such graduations would not enroll in the course themselves.
The State Patrol alleges that Lieutenant Jimmy Phillips, with Everett, drove his pickup/camper on a freeway near Kennewick while helping himself to shots of Jack Daniels whiskey. He lost control of his vehicle, rolled it, and crashed. Two troopers arrived and investigated, later hooking him up for DUI.
Now, I would like to present to you some of the allegations made during this incident along with commentary on how such events seem to happen with most all accused drunk drivers:
The old “I’ve only had two beers officer.”: The human brain must be hardwired to bring up the “two beers” response when asked how much one had to drink. It is astonishing how common this is, most drivers say it when asked. The lie seems to be inherent with homo sapiens as the statement seems to transcend language, social status and culture.
In this case Lt. Phillips allegedly claimed that he only had “two shots” of whiskey. Troopers claim he blew a .207 on a breath test; two and a half times the legal limit.
“I’ve suffered enough by crashing my car”: When Lt. Phillips was asked by a trooper if he would perform voluntary field sobriety tests he reportedly said, “”Look, the truck and camper are totaled, isn’t that enough?” The arrest report stated that he had watery, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol.
They incriminate themselves so easily: “I’ve had too much to drink,” Phillips said to one of the troopers. “I know that, and that’s why I wound up in the ditch.”
Now, if proven these allegations certainly will constitute a Career Limiting MoveTM, especially of a police manager and twenty-five year veteran. His agency now is conducting an internal affairs investigation and it likely will not go well for him.
But with each of the above mistakes he allegedly made, that he obviously should have known better as a veteran officer to repeat, there was one additional that is truly astounding:
Commit a possible Life Limiting MoveTM: It is usually very ill advised to walk up to a law enforcement officer on a traffic stop while carrying a pistol in your hand. Rookies know this from day one. But, Lt. Phillips seems to have forgotten this most basic rule. He approached one of the troopers carrying a cocked and loaded handgun; causing the trooper to draw his weapon and order Phillips to drop the pistol. When asked why he did this he reportedly said, “I just wanted to give you the gun.”
A word of advice, leaving the pistol in the truck and telling the cops it is inside is much, much better.
So again I must pose the question, “What were you thinking?”
By Darren Smith
Washington State Patrol (photo credits)
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