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Kent County sees rise in "super drunks"

12:31 AM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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KENT CO., Mich. (WZZM) - More people are being convicted of being "Super Drunk," according to one Kent County Judge.

So what's the difference between drunk and "Super Drunk" when you're pulled over? If your blood alcohol level is .08, police consider you legally drunk, but if you are at .17 or above, you are "super drunk" under the law.

A "super drunk" conviction carries with it higher fines and court costs, strict driving restrictions, and possibly more jail time.  Penalties Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald Johnston says he is handing down more lately: "I don't go a week without seeing at least one."

An example, 50-year-old Timothy Meyering is facing a sentence this week including six months of jail time for crashing his car into a tree near a Fulton st. house last November. His children were also in the car, and his BAC was at .46. "The average human being dies when they get more than .4," continued Johnston.

Keep in mind, Judge Johnston only handles the felony cases of "super drunk driving," (the repeat offenders). Meaning, even more "super drunks" are seen by other judges, handling their crimes as misdemeanors.

Johnston doesn't enjoy seeing the increase of these cases, but says it means West Michigan is adjusting well to the two year old "super drunk" law. "It's a good news scenario because it means, by virtue of us seeing these cases, that the police are doing their job, they're making the arrests, (and) the prosecutors are taking their roles seriously."

Arresting these "super drunks" has been easy according to Lt. Chris McIntire of the Michigan State Police Rockford Post. Especially since more funding has allowed troopers to keep a sharper eye.

"(Some of my) guys are just looking for people that are drunk. They're not taking calls, they're not going to accidents, they're out there just looking for people that are drunk and targeting people that are drunk."

McIntire offers a warning of zero tolerance: "Eventually, you're going to get caught. You may not get caught tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but you'll get caught."

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