This Santa did not dine on your milk and cookies, and he seemed to be enjoying some time off after the busy holiday season. So how did Santa end up on the “naughty list”? It’s January, all the presents have been delivered, and Santa needed some time to unwind.
A man legally named Santa Claus was arrested after police in Idaho said they saw him driving on the wrong side of the street on Syringa Avenue.
Mr. Claus, a resident of Spokane, Washington, had been drinking at a bar in Idaho before getting pulled over in his PT Cruiser for driving on the wrong side of the road.
An officer activated his lights, and Claus pulled over near Polston Avenue and Albert Street.
Santa Claus Arrested for Drinking and Drivingsummary=Should have just called one of his designateds, Dasher or Dance…https://t.co/I4TRvdBvEK— Ashraf Mozayani (@TSUForensic) January 27, 2016
The police report reads, “It should be noted, while speaking with Santa. I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot.”
That's his real, legal name, and you've GOT to see his photo! https://t.co/04ErLlUXje— 102.7 KORD (@kord1027) January 27, 2016
KREM-TV in Spokane, Washington, reports that 67-year-old Claus was initially booked on one count of DUI. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving. He paid a $700 fine.
Post Falls PD recently arrested a man named Santa Claus on suspicion of DUI. pic.twitter.com/v552SKopvA— Mark Hanrahan (@KREMMark) January 25, 2016
The officer who pulled over the 67-year-old Claus wrote, “It should be noted that the vehicle was still in the wrong lane of travel.”
Claus told police he wasn’t from around Post Falls and wasn’t familiar with the streets, according to police documents.
I know I'm old fashioned, but Santa should only be driving drunk between Thanksgiving and New Years. https://t.co/SkFvGnXKXp— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) January 27, 2016
He’s known for spreading Christmas cheer to drivers in Spokane. KXLY reported that last Christmas he took his own time to bring smiles to the Division Street drivers.
Claus said, “Just trying to do my little part you know. Things are getting so fast and crazy and I see a lot of people trying to get back to slowing things down and getting back to how things used to be.”
Not this time, though. Court records showed Claus admitted to having three or four beers at Moon Dollars Bistro in Post Falls. His jolly round belly was large enough to require that the officers use two pairs of handcuffs.
He later agreed to submit a breath test. Court records stated the two samples read 0.130 and 0.119.
Police noted he was cooperative throughout the arrest.
But humor apart, drunk driving is a serious issue. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), drunk driving, or impaired driving, is the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including those prescribed by physicians.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver. An estimated 32 percent of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
Being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impact your life in ways you may not be aware of, including loss of employment, prevention of employment in certain jobs, higher insurance rates, serious financial setbacks, personal and family embarrassment, and possible incarceration.
So next time the Santa asks you to be good, remind him of his name on the “naughty list.”
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]