Tennessee drivers know that our state hands out harsh penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. So it's not surprising that many people fear the consequences of a DUI conviction.
However, a Nashville firefighter might have allowed his fear of the possible punishments to overwhelm his good sense. He's alleged to have run from police after an officer tried to pull him over for a traffic violation. He reportedly said he ran because he feared a DUI.
According to media reports, the firefighter led police on a high-speed chase from Lebanon to Hendersonville.
The nearly 30-mile pursuit began in Lebanon around 11 p.m. on a recent Thursday night.
The firefighter reportedly told police later that he'd left a Nashville bar before he was spotted in Lebanon by an officer in a cruiser. The officer reported that the 25-year-old firefighter was driving recklessly and that he tried to pull him over.
But the off-duty fireman drove off in his pick-up, reaching speeds of up to 110 mph as he tried to elude pursuers.
Police twice laid down spiked strips designed to puncture tires, but both times he avoided the strips by veering around them.
According to police reports, the firefighter ran several motorists off of roads, though none were reported injured.
Though the firefighter managed to elude his pursuers, he was nevertheless arrested for DUI a few hours later in Nashville.
He faces not only that charge, but 23 additional counts in Sumner County of reckless endangerment, one count of evading arrest and a count of leaving the scene of an accident. In Wilson County, he faces two misdemeanor charges and in Gallatin, he faces another 21 traffic citations.
In hindsight, he'd probably agree it would have been wiser to pull over and face the DUI charge. With the aid of an experienced DUI attorney, the firefighter might well have been able to strike a favorable deal. That will obviously be significantly more difficult in his present situation.
Source: The Tennessean: "Off-duty Nashville firefighter charged after chase," Nov. 29, 2011