Crime Watch 8

Al Unser Jr. avoids jail with OWI plea deal

DANVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will avoid jail after taking a plea deal in connection to an OWI charge in May.

Unser pleaded guilty Monday to operating while intoxicated with endangerment, a class A misdemeanor. As part of the plea deal, the other charges against him — improper lane usage on three (or more) lane roadway and speeding — were dismissed, online court records show.

A Hendricks County judge on Monday sentenced Unser to 365 days in the county jail, with two days jail credit and 363 days suspended.

Unser will have 363 days of probation and complete a victim impact panel and 480 hours of community service.

Unser’s license has been suspended for 365 days, which began May 20. The court has granted Unser specialized driving privileges for 365 days.

Unser was previously arrested for drunk driving in Nevada in 2007 and New Mexico in 2011.

May 20, 2019 OWI arrest

According to court documents, an Avon officer spotted Unser’s Volkswagen Beetle doing 59 mph in a 45 mph zone just after 1 a.m. May 20 on Ronald Reagan Parkway and U.S. 36.

The officer said Unser had “red and glossy eyes, slurred speech, and detected an odor commonly associated with alcoholic beverages emanating from his vehicle and person.”

Unser told the officer he had not had any alcoholic drinks that night.

The officer asked Unser to step out of the vehicle. Court documents state that Unser got it, staggered to the rear of the vehicle, leaned against the trunk, stepped toward the shoulder at the direction of the officer, lost his balance, fell to the ground, then rolled down an embankment.

After helping him up, the officer again asked Unser if he had been drinking, who again said he had not.

Unser refused field sobriety tests and was placed in handcuffs. Unser also refused a chemical test, so a warrant was sought for a blood draw.

After getting the warrant, he was taken to Hendricks Regional Hospital. After the blood draw, he was taken to the Hendricks County Jail.


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