Our national experiment with prohibition a century ago proved prosperous for bootleggers and caused more problems than it solved. Still, alcoholism can be a serious problem, not only for the alcoholics but for everyone around them.
As the PR campaigns of liquor distillers remind us, those who do drink should do so responsibly. Among other things, that means not driving drunk.
Besides being irresponsible, driving drunk is dangerous for the driver and others on the road. It’s also against the law.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal for everyone, including officers of the law. If anything, there should be an added penalty for law officers driving drunk. They of all people should know better and set an example.
Former U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton set a bad example when he drove drunk on New Year’s Eve and struck another car in the Sonic parking lot in Edwardsville. It wasn’t his first time, either. He pled guilty to drunk-driving in Troy two years ago.
The Edwardsville police who arrested Wigginton Dec. 31 noted in their report that his speech was slurred, his answers to questions inconsistent, and his balance impaired. Needless to say, he failed the field sobriety test.
St. Clair County chief public defender Richard Roustio also set a bad example nine days later when he was charged with driving while intoxicated in Caseyville.
The officer who pulled him over after observing his erratic driving reported that “he had a cigarette in the corner of his mouth and when responding to my questions he would turn his head towards me and exhale, causing smoke and ashes to go into my face. Despite the cigarette smoke, I could smell a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle.”
Roustio refused to submit to standard field tests. After being arrested and taken to the station, he also refused to submit to a breath sample.
Wigginton and Roustio might want to think about giving up alcohol. Whether they do or not, they should stop driving drunk and setting a bad example.