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Last Friday night, 49-year-old Robert Zimmerman of Paw Paw, Michigan was looking to have a good time. Paw Paw (population 3,500), despite being in the heart of Michigan’s thriving wine country, didn’t quite have the night life offerings Zimmerman was looking for, so he drove 10 miles up the road to Decatur (population 1,900).
The ride back was much trickier. He was drunk and riding a 1970 John Deere tractor. After police saw him swerving back and forth across the center lane, he was arrested and charged with driving drunk.
George Jones could pull of the drunken tractor ride. The older, more homeless-looking version of The Dude could not.
In court, Zimmerman tried the “I wasn’t in a motor vehicle” defense, telling the judge at the hearing that he didn’t understand why he was being charged with drinking and driving. The problem with his defense was that a tractor 1) has a motor, and 2) is a vehicle. Already convicted of two previous DUI charges, he could face $5,000 in fines and the loss of his license.
His girlfriend is quoted in the story that it probably wasn’t good for a drunk man with two previous DUI convictions to drive down the highway in the middle of the night on a 43-year-old piece of farming equipment. That’s why hindsight is 20-20. Going into the night, who would have thought this could end badly?