Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Don't Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

This, courtesy of the AP:

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Lithuanian police were so astonished when they pulled over a truck driver and his breathalyzer test registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their testing device must be broken.

It wasn't.

Police said Tuesday 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 727 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliters of blood repeatedly on different devices when he was pulled over for driving his truck down the center of a two-lane highway 60 miles from the capital, Vilnius on Saturday.

Lithuania's legal limit is 40 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.

"This guy should have been lying dead, but he was still driving. It must be an unofficial national record," Saulius Skvernelis, the director of the national police traffic control service, told the AP. "He was of high spirits and grinning the whole time he was questioned."

Medical experts say anything above 3.5 grams per liter of alcohol in the blood is lethal for most people.

"A person this intoxicated should be in an intensive care unit, not behind the wheel," said Tautvydas Zikaras, head of the dependence illness center in the country's second-largest city, Kaunas. Zikaras said he had never heard or read of someone being so drunk.

Sungaila, who was slapped with a 3,000 litas ($1,110) fine and the loss of his license for up to three years, told police he had been drinking the night before and tried to freshen up by downing a pint of beer for breakfast.

Lithuania has one of the worst road safety records in the European Union. Last year, 760 people died in traffic accidents in this country of 3.5 million residents. Most were alcohol-related.


Brian Cubbage said...

Wow. He must have been drinking through an IV. That, and he must really be a professional drinker; he must have built up an amazing tolerance.

This reminds me of that story I read about in the '80s of Soviet fighter pilots in Siberia so hard up for alcohol that they drank the window deicing fluid from their planes. Like my old mentor, a recovering alcoholic, once said: After a while, it doesn't matter anymore whether it tastes good, as long as it has alcohol in it.

Tom said...

That's all I can say about that. O yeah, Chris... You can laugh until you cry. That way you get the best of both worlds.

DagoodS said...

My personal best was representing a guy at .43 (43% of his blood was alcohol) The worst part was the sentencing. Probation did an about 10 minutes before we were in court, and noted, “Defendant appeared at his assessment intoxicated.” Yep, he was drunk at his own sentencing.

The cops later admitted to me that he was not driving erratically, and basically they pulled him over ‘cause he was the town drunk.

At that level, he never was sober. He went to bed drunk, and would start drinking immediately in the morning. He could operate and function in society with a high blood alcohol.

Believe it or not, it is often the .15 and .16’s that are bad. They are people unused to drinking much, and get totally smashed, then drive. Those at .30 and up are professional drunks whose body’s have learned to assimilate and operate with that type of alcohol.

Tyler Simons said...


My personal best was representing a guy at .43 (43% of his blood was alcohol)

Not exactly. 0.43% of his blood was alcohol. The dude in Lithuania was blowing about a .7. Unsurprisingly, you can learn to calculate blood alcohol content levels here.

The table, incidentially only goes up to .50, about twenty four drinks. Typical effect? "Death."

Brian Cubbage said...

Tyler-- thanks for that link. I was suspicious of the 43% number. Since alcohol doesn't carry oxygen that I know of, I thought it would be biologically impossible for a creature with a circulatory system composed of almost half alcohol to survive.

Sandalstraps said...

I found this improbable story while surfing Tyler's link above. Makes my story seem a little wimpy!