A 21 year-old New Jersey man was arrested recently on West College Avenue after he was reported staggering and stumbling while cars whizzed past, just a few feet away. When Penn State police confronted him, he reportedly told them he was "of alcohol" when he meant to say he was "of age." Officers say he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and became verbally combative when confronted.
According to the Centre Daily Times, his blood-alcohol turned out to be 0.264 percent -- substantially more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Due to the man's alleged degree of intoxication and combativeness, the officers called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Such a high blood alcohol content can result in serious physical consequences, including possible alcohol poisoning.
When the man was placed in the ambulance, however, he pushed past an offer and out of the vehicle. The officers told him to sit on a stretcher but he refused. One officer then swept his legs out from under him in order to get him to lie down.
That's when the man allegedly kicked one of the officers in the face -- as well as in the chest and stomach several times. According to the police, photos were taken and one showed a muddy boot print on the right side of the officer's jaw.
That wasn't the end of it. Police say he also kicked at a nurse and a hospital security guard who were trying to get him into bed.
The man has now been charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest and aggravated assault. His bail was initially set at $5,000, but unknown new information presented at his arraignment resulted in that being raised to $10,000, unsecured. He is scheduled for a March 7 preliminary hearing.
It's easy to be amazed, amused or outraged when we see reports like this. The level of intoxication described here is quite dangerous -- and it's relatively common among inexperienced drinkers, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It also tends to impair judgment.
Unfortunately for young men like this one, most judges see intoxication as a choice so impaired judgment generally isn't viewed as an excuse for unlawful behavior.