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Another DWI Chair, Another eBay Auction

Motorizedbarstool

What once seemed an isolated criminal incident is fast becoming a national epidemic that threatens the safety of our streets and the moral fiber of our society. I am referring, of course, to the growing problem of drunken men driving modified, motorized chairs -- and of those who try to profit from this criminality by selling those chairs on eBay.

First it was Dennis LeRoy Anderson and his motorized easy chair. In August 2008, the 62-year-old Anderson got in the chair to drive home from a local bar in Proctor, Minn., and quickly crashed into a parked car. When police arrived on the scene, they found his blood alcohol level to be 0.29, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08, and arrested him for driving an easy chair while intoxicated.

Recently, Anderson pleaded guilty to the DUI charge, as we reported here in October. The judge ordered him to forfeit the chair to the Proctor police department, which promptly listed the chair for sale on eBay. But just as the bidding surpassed the stellar amount of $40,000, the auction was called off. Seems lawyers for La-Z-Boy objected to the description of the easy chair as theirs when it was not. Proctor police relisted the chair on eBay without the brand name, where it sold for the far lower price of $11,000.

We do not know whether Anderson's notorious crime was the inspiration for Kile Wygle, 28, to try something similar. Last March, police in Newark, Ohio, arrested Wygle for driving a motorized bar stool while intoxicated. According to the Newark police report, when they responded to Wygle's 911 call and asked him what happened, he answered, "I wrecked my bar stool." He went on to explain that he had wrecked it down the street from his home. When an officer asked if the stool really ran, he said, "Yes, it will go around 38 miles per hour." However, he quickly added, he was going just 20 mph at the time of the crash.

Soon, Wygle's motorized barstool fell to the same fate as Anderson's motorized easy chair -- it was taken by the local police and put up for auction on eBay. This auction might have seemed even more promising, given that Wygle's arrest had been widely reported and had even inspired country music singer Bryan Lewis to write "The Barstool Song." Plus, the proceeds of the auction would go to a good cause -- paying some of the $37,000 in overdue child support Wygle owed.

Unfortunately, the bar stool brought in just $1,125. Not bad for a bar stool, but far less than the $11,000 the easy chair earned. Maybe this signals an end to this epidemic of drunken chair driving.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 14, 2009 at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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