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CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (CBS) — A Naperville man has the dubious distinction of being amongst the first to be convicted under a strict new drunken driving law in Michigan.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, new legislation known as the “Super Drunk” law took effect in October of last year in Michigan.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
The legislation imposes harsher penalties on motorists convicted of driving with blood alcohol levels of 0.17 or greater.
Drivers can be sentenced to as much as six months in jail under the new law. Those found guilty of driving with blood alcohol levels between the legal limit of 0.08 and 0.17 can be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail.
One of those who ended up facing the strict new penalties was Charles T. Ryan, 49, of the 600 block of Staunton Road in Naperville, was sentenced to seven days in the Cass County, Mich., Jail in southwest Michigan, after being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Ryan was arrested about 2:30 a.m. May 15, after he drove his Chrysler 300 car off a roadway and onto the lawn of a house in Silver Creek Township near Cassopolis. Cass County Prosecutor Victor A. Fitz said Ryan’s blood alcohol level at the time measured 0.23, or nearly three times over the threshold of intoxication.
The car came to a halt within a few feet of the home’s exterior gas main, Fitz said Tuesday. Ryan was found slumped over the wheel of his sedan.
Fitz said the homeowner and a companion approached the car to see if there were injuries. Trial testimony indicated they found an “inebriated and belligerent” Ryan behind the wheel.
Fearing Ryan might restart the car and drive it into the side of his house, the homeowner switched off the ignition and took Ryan’s keys from him, Fitz said.
Ryan failed all five sobriety tests administered at the scene by county sheriff’s deputies, Fitz said. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
A jury of six on Oct. 11 needed only 30 minutes to convict Ryan of a charge of operating with a high blood alcohol, Fitz said.
The Naperville Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.