Latest excuse for driving 80 mph in wrong lane? Texting

  • Updated: August 5, 2008 - 7:58 AM

A 25-year-old driver in Cass County offered a lesson Sunday in what not to do while driving.

When pulled over by a sheriff's deputy, not only was he traveling at speeds near 80 miles per hour, but he also said he'd drifted into the wrong lane because he was text-messaging, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Monday. As if that weren't enough, he was arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving.

"This is the kind of traffic event where almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong," said Nathan Bowie, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. "Fortunately, the officer was there to make the stop before anything else happened."

The arrest came just two days after enactment of a state law that makes it illegal for drivers to text-message while operating a vehicle that is moving or in traffic.

The driver was traveling in the wrong lane when he approached the Cass County deputy's squad car on Hwy. 371 near Walker. The driver swerved to avoid hitting the squad car, then took off at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour before pulling over.

"You had the perfect recipe for a crash," Bowie said.

The patrol was part of Operation NightCAP, a twice-monthly operation that focuses on catching drunk drivers. According to the Department of Public Safety, distractions such as texting or talking on cell phones were involved in at least 15 percent of all fatal crashes from 2005 to 2007.

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