You don’t have to drink and drive to catch a DUI nowadays. You just have to be Jessie Thorton, apparently.
The 61-year-old retiree was arrested and charged with a DUI, even though his blood alcohol level came back a 0.00. And no, there was no glitch in the Breathalyzer test.
The reason he was arrested? The officer told Thorton:
“I can tell you’re driving drunk by the look in your eyes.”
Here’s how it all went down. Thorton was pulled over around 11 p.m. on his way to pick up his ER nurse wife. Officers in Surprise, Arizona said they witnessed him crossing the white line in his lane. That’s when this happened:
“He (the officer) walked up and he said ‘I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes,'” Thorton told ABC 15 in Arizona.
Thorton, who had been working out at a nearby LA Fitness, told the officer his eyes were bloodshot because he’d been swimming at the gym’s pool.
“He (the officer) goes, ‘Well we’re going to do a sobriety test.’ I said, ‘OK, but I got bad knees and a bad hip with surgery in two days.'”
The officer then made Thorton take a sobriety test.
“At one point, one of the officers shined the light in my eye and said, ‘Oh, sorry,’ and asked the other officer if he was doing it right,'” said Thornton.
Thornton said he was then placed in handcuffs and told to sit on the curb.
“I couldn’t even sit on the ground like that and they knew it and I was like laying on the ground, then they put me in the back of an SUV and when I asked the officer to move her seat up ’cause my hip hurt she told me to stop whining,” said Thornton.
At the station, his BAC test came back with all zeroes and a drug recognition expert was called in to examine Thorton. Of course, the expert determined that Thorton was completely sober.
“I would never have arrested you.” The expert wrote a statement, saying, “…in my opinion Jessie was never under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
But it was too late. Thorton’s car had been impounded and the Arizona MVD had been notified. His license was suspended and he was ordered to take a drinking and driving class.
Thorton was eventually released from custody to his wife. The DUI charge was later dropped, but Thorton has filed a notice of claim against Surprise for $500,000. “This is a case of D-W-B, driving while black,” said Thornton’s attorney Marc Victor.