A southern Minnesota man with eight previous drunken driving convictions has been arrested again – this time while on a lawnmower.
The criminal complaint filed against Thomas Grothe of Madison Lake, Minnesota, says an officer saw him driving his mower erratically on city streets last month.
The complaint says Grothe, 60, had trouble with his balance, smelled of alcohol, and failed a field sobriety test before a portable breath test showed him with a .28 blood alcohol content. That's more than three times the legal limit to drive.
When asked for his driver's license, Grothe reportedly told the officer he had not had one since 1978.
He's now charged with gross misdemeanors for operating a motor vehicle under the influence and for driving after his license was canceled.
Authorities say Grothe's license was revoked because if he operated a motor vehicle on the highways it "...would be inimical to the public safety or welfare."
Grothe tells the Star Tribune he had just refilled the mower with gas and was returning to finish cutting the grass around a storage unit when he noticed the police officer following him.
"When I stopped at the stop sign I got off to see what he wanted," Grothe told the paper.
Is drunk lawnmower driving a crime?
Minnesota's Driving While Imparied law does not specifically mention lawnmowers. The law does say it's a crime to operate any motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Another section defines a motor vehicle as "every vehicle that is self propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power...."
Convictions on each of the three charges against Grothe could bring up to a year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.