Cops charge Serpas' son with DUI

Friday, October 8, 2004 at 1:00am

When Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas learned his son had been arrested on DUI charges early Thursday morning on 21st Avenue South he had two words to say: "Book him."

Dustin Christopher Serpas, 26, was arrested on DUI charges by Vanderbilt University police after he was found passed out in his car with the driver's side door wide open, engine running and lights on.

"On my approach to the vehicle I found a subject passed out in the driver's seat with his hands resting on the steering wheel," Vanderbilt University Police Officer Joe Evans' affidavit states. "After a few minutes I was able to awake the subject. The subject smelled strongly of an alcoholic type beverage on his breath.

"As the subject exited the vehicle he was very unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his eyes were dilated and bloodshot. Subject performed very poorly on the field sobriety tests and could not answer questions without me having to repeat them several times. Subject stated that he had been drinking alcoholic beverages earlier at the Boundry restaurant."

Dustin Serpas refused to submit to a breath/blood alcohol test and his bond was set at $2,000. He was released after a pre-trial hearing.

"First and foremost I want to apologize to the Vanderbilt Police Department," Chief Serpas said at a news conference Thursday.

"A police officer's job is tough enough without the son of a police officer acting a fool," he said. "My son is a grown man. He made a poor choice. He made a choice that put himself and others at risk."

Local attorney Mike Fox, a.k.a. DUI Mike, said state statute defines driving under the influence as both driving and being in "physical control" of any vehicle.

"The key phrase is 'physical control,'" Fox said of similar cases. "Physical control means that you don't have to be driving."

Fox said he believes that persons should not be penalized for making the right decision not to drive by getting the same punishment as if they did drive in that condition.

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