October 23, 2009 in Nation/World

Drunken driver crashed recliner

Man gets jail time after motorized La-Z-Boy impounded
Paul Walsh Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
 

MINNEAPOLIS – The operator of a La-Z-Boy chair converted into a motorized vehicle – complete with a stereo and cup holders – has admitted that he crashed the piece of furniture after leaving a bar in Proctor, Minn., extremely drunk.

Dennis LeRoy Anderson, 61, of Proctor, pleaded guilty Monday to hopping on the chair on the night of Aug. 31, 2008, after visiting the Keyboard Lounge, then crashing into a more traditional vehicle in the parking lot. Anderson’s blood-alcohol content was 0.29 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.

Deputy Police Chief Troy Foucault said Thursday that the chair is “quite decked out.” Along with the stereo and cup holders, it is powered by a converted gasoline-powered lawnmower, a steering wheel, headlights and a power antenna.

Foucault estimated that the La-Z-Boy can top out at 15 to 20 miles per hour. A National Hot Rod Association sticker adorns the headrest.

The chair was impounded and will be sold at the next police auction.

“We have quite a few people calling about buying it,” said Foucault.

Anderson admitted to police that he had been drinking at home, was leaving the bar and had drunk eight or nine beers that day before getting on the La-Z-Boy and crashing it into a Dodge Intrepid parked outside, Foucault said. Anderson was treated at the scene for minor injuries and given a field sobriety test, even though he pleaded several times with the officer to “give him a break,” according to the police report.

“He failed everything,” Foucault said, leading to Anderson’s arrest and seizure of the chair. The officer on the scene checked Anderson’s driver’s license and determined that it had been revoked because of a previous drunken-driving conviction, according to police.

Anderson, who does auto body repair work out of his home, was sentenced Monday to 180 days in the St. Louis County Jail or at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center and was fined $2,000. The jail time and half of the fine was stayed for two years of supervised probation with conditions that include a chemical dependency assessment, random testing and 30 days of electronic monitoring.

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