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Jackson man acquitted of DWI; defense was that he drank after accident to keep warm

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Jackson man's testimony that he drank alcohol in order to keep warm after -- and not before -- driving his vehicle into a culvert won over a panel of jurors Wednesday.

The 12-member jury spent nearly an hour deliberating the case against Thomas Drummond, who was found not guilty of driving while intoxicated Feb. 6.

The jury heard testimony from five witnesses total, including Drummond and the arresting officer.

"It was a really curious set of facts. Ones that you don't come across every day," said Stephen Wilson, Drummond's defense attorney.

Wilson called Drummond and his client's girlfriend to the stand during the one-day trial at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse. Drummond told the court he had been out with friends in Cape Girardeau the night of the accident and decided to take a different route home due to bad weather. While navigating icy roads, Drummond testified, he missed a turn, attempted to turn around and drove into a culvert near Route Y and Cape Girardeau County Road 621. Drummond said he wasn't intoxicated when he drove into the culvert but was when emergency workers and authorities arrived.

He was stranded for more than two hours, according to Wilson.

"It was the day before the Super Bowl and he had just done some shopping," Wilson said Monday. "It was 32 degrees or colder out and he had brandy in the car, so he kept warm."

Drummond's girlfriend, Sacha Riney, told the court she received a text message on her cell phone the night of the accident, around 2 a.m., that said he was stuck in a ditch in the country and his phone battery was dying.

Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Jeff McCullough, a witness called by assistant prosecuting attorney Julia Koester, said fire and other emergency personnel arrived on scene around 4 a.m. They found Drummond unresponsive and stuck in a deep culvert at the end of a private driveway. The engine was running and the transmission was in park, testified Jeremy Laurentius, a volunteer county firefighter.

Additionally, McCullough told the court that he administered a few sobriety tests at the scene, although Drummond refused some of the tests. McCullough also said that just after 5 a.m., when Drummond submitted to a breath test, his blood alcohol content was 0.148.

If he had been found guilty, Drummond would have faced a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

ehevern@semissourian.com

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I served on a jury 2 years ago where the driver fell asleep behind the wheel in a parking lot while the engine was running. We convicted him because the law states that he was in violation of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol even though he was parked and asleep at the wheel when the police arrived.

The Jury let this man off because they probably believed there was no way he could have driven off since he was stuck in a ditch. Therefore even though he was "operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alochol" by having the engine running to keep warm, he was not a threat to anyone.

-- Posted by NoDisclosure on Mon, Nov 29, 2010, at 10:23 PM

Drinking brandy to keep warm? Even if this man truly was sober when he crashed his license ought to be suspended for the stupidity of that act.

Drinking the brandy on a freezing night would have greatly lowered his core body temperature and put him at far greater risk for hypothermia and frost bite. A person with clouded enough judgment to believe that brandy would warm him up clearly doesn't have the judgement to be a safe driver on our roads.

-- Posted by Nil on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 12:39 AM

If he drank the brandy to keep warm....then why have the car running with the heater on to keep warm??????

-- Posted by Hookie98 on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 2:36 AM

I wonder if the jurors were the same dimwhits who found O.J. Simpson not guilty?

-- Posted by newman90 on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 8:13 AM

Does this mean that one could drink liquor in the summertime after an accident to keep from dehydrating?

-- Posted by Topo_Gigio on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 8:23 AM

Attorney to Client: "Pay up sucker!"

-- Posted by Hawker on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 8:50 AM

Just went to Case.net and found out that he was a DWI prior offender and saw his home address. I have a feeling now that something is fishy about his story. He had the accident around 2 A.M. which happened on County Road 621 near Route Y. If he had done some shopping like he said he had done how on earth did he take County Road 621 to get home? Typically if you are out at 2 A.M. on Icy Roads a clear mind would tell you to take the direct and safest route possible. Sounds like he was out drinking and was taking the backroad detour to avoid the Patrol. I'm not going to post his address but if you go on the case.net site you will find it. With that given it seems like he was coming from the general direction of the Pilot House rather than Wal-Mart.

If anybody knows a prior offender they always have a backup plan for the next time it will happen. I think Thomas Drummond kept that bottle of liquor in his car just for a moment like this.

-- Posted by NoDisclosure on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 8:53 AM

Why the Jury did not base their decision on the true facts of this case is anyones guess. Way too much emphasis on "reasonable doubt" would be my guess! There is no way this man could have been that intoxicated by by "sipping" on his bottle, that he allegedly purchased at Wal-Mart, while he patiently waited for assistance after his stupid driving blunder.

If he is a "repeat offender", well....he will again be a "repeat offender"! We all need to pray that when that time comes, he does not involve others, and worse yet, injure or kill someone!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by arrestthem on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 9:09 AM

I'm glad to hear this guy didn't let some bad weather and ice on the roads keep him from having a good night out with friends until almost 2am all the while staying completely sober but yet oblivious to the bad weather in the area.

-- Posted by TheArmySarge on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 9:48 AM

Sorry, I am going to have to call BS! Man you are still a LOSER and always will be. I call DRUNK and I always will. Please note: Thomas Drummod, this does not prove your innocents to us. We declare you GUILTY!

-- Posted by Hot Dog on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 9:55 AM

He Was Drunk at the time of the accident.

What bunch a idiots did they pick for that jury?

1. Q: If the car was in running condition and the heater worked, then why the 'need' for alcohol. (which would do the opposite anyway)

A: Because it was a lie.

2. Q: If he was proposing that he was in danger due to the cold weather, then why make a phone call to the girlfriend and not someone that could more immediately help him?

A: Because he didn't want the law to come out just yet and he wanted to tell the girl that he wouldn't be home until the morning and not to worry.

-- Posted by Amy P on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 11:44 AM

Plenty enough reasonable doubt here for a Not Guilty. Maybe the guy is unpleasant or a previous offender or even driving drunk, but law is not hearsay or speculation, it is facts. And the simple fact is that a reasonable person could have reasonable doubt of his guilt, given the (lack of) evidence. And that's all it takes.

Kudos to the jury, and I hope to God the bulk of you morons never end up on one.

-- Posted by bearded_sage on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 11:48 AM

The Honorable Flake L. McHaney often referred to jurors as "monuments of marshmallow" who talk tough in the coffee shops and bars only to turn to marshmallows when sitting in the jury box.

-- Posted by Acronym on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 11:49 AM

Man who's his attorney? I've got to get that guy if I ever get in trouble.

-- Posted by wolfwoman on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 1:35 PM

johnlaw484, you are correct. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated is not allowed.

But last time I checked you are suppose to be innocent till proven guilty and it's up to the PA to proof he was operating this vehicle under the influence.

Nobody witnessed him operating under the influence so the not guilty is the only logical verdict.

-- Posted by interesting on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 3:15 PM

This is a good one for the dumb criminal pages as well as the not so smart jury that aquitted him.

If I was in an accident, I'd definitely be calling 911, not my husband. He would be the second call. And did he have the receipt from Walmart to prove his just bought it? And everyone knows you can't by alcohol at Walmart after 1am, so let's hear another one.

I'm with Amy P., he was drunk.

-- Posted by Wildnsyko on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 3:41 PM

Outstanding! Congrats to Tom.

-- Posted by uberfan20 on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 4:47 PM

This story was reported in the news in New Zealand today.

-- Posted by downtownstuff on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 11:16 PM

Seems to me that Steven WIlson is a POS himself. Must make him feel good to get up in the morning and know he is taking money from people and lying to judges and juries.

As for Thomas Drummond i know you are a POS because i looked at your criminal record on casenet. Obviously you got lucky this time because next time you will get a jury that isnt full of dumb *****!

-- Posted by Jax12 on Wed, Dec 1, 2010, at 12:26 AM

INTERESTING you must have been on the jury!

-- Posted by Jax12 on Wed, Dec 1, 2010, at 12:27 AM

It's making National Headlines...once again Southeast Missouri is the butt of the joke. I heard that the case was a slam dunk until the token black guy disagreed. Yep Mr. Drummond was black as well.

-- Posted by NoDisclosure on Wed, Dec 1, 2010, at 8:53 AM

Who was his Attorney?

-- Posted by timexx on Wed, Dec 1, 2010, at 5:47 PM

Oh Sorry I see Stephen Wilson! Cool! I like that guy!

-- Posted by timexx on Wed, Dec 1, 2010, at 5:50 PM


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