Intoxicating situation

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last week, Dallis F. Coomer was in court facing his 10th charge of driving while intoxicated.

Because of procedural errors made by the arresting officer, Coomer's charges were dismissed, though he faces sentencing Monday for driving with a revoked license. The defense attorney said at trial that the officer did not monitor Coomer for 15 minutes before administering a blood-alcohol-content test as required.

The monitoring period is to ensure that the suspect does not do anything with his mouth such as chew gum, drink water or smoke. Even if a suspect belches or regurgitates, the 15-minute monitoring period must start over in case raw alcohol comes up from the stomach and skews the results.

Many are questioning why Coomer wasn't already in jail. It's not as if Coomer hasn't been punished. Though most of his DWI cases are closed to the public, records show he served five years in the Western Missouri Correctional Center for his repeat offenses.

In Coomer's case, it appears as if five years of punishment wasn't enough to steer him away from his addiction. He would have faced up to 15 years had he been found guilty. Coomer told a newspaper after his trial that he was "lucky." We disagree. A man with nine DWIs isn't lucky at all. He's dangerous and irresponsible. And our justice system needs to find ways of getting people like Coomer off the streets.

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