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Thomas Robert Harter Jumps Off Bridge To Avoid DUI Test

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St. Tammany Parish Sheriff
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff

A New Orleans man went to extreme measures to avoid taking a DUI test: He jumped off a 20-foot-high bridge.

On Sunday, Thomas Robert Harter was pulled over by police and asked to take a sobriety test after another motorist reported his car swerving and speeding, according to Newser.

Although Harter got out of the car without being asked, and was waving his arms in the air, police say he was swaying smelling of alcohol and wearing a green St. Patrick's Day necklace. When the officer asked for his vehicle registration, Harter got back into his car and exited again, holding a pile of paper scraps and a stack of CDs, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, still swaying.

At that point, the officer asked Harter to take a field sobriety test and he agreed, before suddenly "bolting" and leaping into the water 20 feet below.

One officer managed to grab him, but couldn't hold on to Harter, who was wearing jeans, boots and a camouflage T-shirt.

Harter fell into the lake and disappeared into the water, which was rough, with winds between 15 and 20 mph, and cold, about 60 degrees, according to Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou.

The southbound lanes were closed for about a half hour as rescuers looked for him.

"We were concerned that the current would just take him away," Dufrechou told the Times-Picayune.

Luckily, Harter managed to grab a utility building at the base of the bridge. He was hauled out of the 60-degree water intact and arrested for what will be his eighth drunk-driving charge, according to WWL-TV.

He was also charged with resisting arrest and careless driving, and booked as a fugitive on outstanding warrants for a hit and run.

He is being held on a $15,000 bond on the alleged driving violations, according to Fox News, but Dufrechou thinks that's better than the alternative.

"He's a lot better off than being crabmeat," he told reporters.


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