Friday, April 9, 2010

Martinsville School Board Votes to Keep Superintendent Arrested for DUI; About Those "Three Glasses of Wine"

WISH-TV Channel 8 has a report that the Martinsville School Board has voted to keep Superintendent Dr. Ron Furniss who had been arrested for DUI on March 21st. This part of the story in particular caught my attention:
The sheriff's department says, at the time of the arrest, Furniss had a blood alcohol level of .16, twice the legal limit.

According to the Probable Cause Affidavit, Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy working a DUI project clocked Furniss going 60 in a 35 mile per hour zone on Blue Bluff Road. The deputy stated Furniss failed three different field sobriety tests.

Furniss initially told the deputy he had one drink but later at the sheriff's department, Furniss admitted he had three glasses of wine. Furniss said he drank at Binkley's and the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple and the Coachman in Plainfield. He said he stopped drinking around 11 o'clock Saturday night.
To see the rest of the story click here.

I know that was what Furniss "initially" said to the police and he probably would have been better off not talking at all. However, my problem is with the the false impression the media leaves when it reports blood alcohol levels and claims regarding the effect moderate alcohol consumption has on intoxication.

Let me assure you, you don't get to .16 BAC drinking only "three glasses of wine." Using the "drink wheel" calculator, if Furnass is a 200 pound man and consumed three glasses of win over a three hour period, his BAC would be a minuscule .005. (The story made it sound like he was out all evening.) Even if he chugged those three glasses in 30 minutes, he would only be at .049, still well under the legal limit of .08.

Rather it would take 11 glasses of wine in a 3 hour period to put a 200 pound man at .159, just short of the .16 Furniss was tested at.

The story indicates that Furniss visited three bars and drove from Broad Ripple to Plainfield (no short distance) and then was arrested on his way home in Morgan County. That's a lot of driving while engaging in some serious drinking. Further he was, allegedly, driving 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, which suggests he was so intoxicated he did not know how the alcohol was impacting his driving.

No, someone who tests at .16 is not just a social drinker who just had that one drink too many. Rather it is a sign of someone who is a serious, what I refer to as a "professional", drinker. While I'm not necessarily against Furniss being given a second chance, let's not give out that second chance on the basis that he is just a social drinker who screwed up having that one drink too many. The evidence says otherwise.


M Theory said...

We used to have a cop breathlyzer. I think it would take about 1.5 to 2 bottles of wine to get to .15 or .16.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Depends on the amount of time involved in the consumption, but that sounds about right.

american patriot said...

I'll bet the Martinsville board has a "zero tolerance" policy for drugs or alcohol abuse for its students.

If our legislature really cared about public safety they would pass a law requiring anyone with any type of conviction / diversion program for drunk driving to have special license plates noting that arrest and or conviction.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I so hope that Superintendent Furniss will make an effort to go out of his way to set a good example for the Martinsville students in his charge, so that something good can come from his decision to drive drunk.