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Caputo Charged With Reckless Driving; Wakes Up, Says "Huh?"

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<em>"This is complete and utter crap."</em>
"This is complete and utter crap."


Mike Caputo apparently will make legal history this afternoon by being charged with reckless driving for sleeping in a parked car. Go ahead and read that last sentence again and then click on the link if you think I'm making that up. Guys, I know bagging a Husker with beer on his breath can be heady stuff for law enforcement, but if you can't make the DUI stick, maybe it's just time to dismiss charges and move on? I mean, Lionel Hutz could get this thrown out in a matter of minutes.

Now, I have a sick mind at times (much more often than that according to some), and I'll admit that Caputo's dwarvish physical qualities bring out the worst in my imagination whenever his name hits the news even if it's just a team preview. And I also have to admit that upon hearing of his DUI, my first instincts were not those of most people, which to tend to work along the lines of: "Act holier than thou about drinking? Check. Rattle on about letting down the team? Check. Rave about the blood he'd spill on the highway while sleeping in a parking lot? Check. Call talk radio and be a haughty ass about the whole thing? Check."

I had different thoughts.

The first was basically:

"Caputo on a Bender? Yes!! Is there a place in Lincoln that serves mead? Were there other 5'6"300 pound guys with him like a whole band of Gimli's? Did he go to Sandy's and smash a bunch of tables with a war hammer? Sandy's - I bet the joint that came up with Elk Creeks could get some mead for my man. Of course they could! Did the cops pull him over on a war horse? Better yet, did he lead law enforcement on a chase through the streets of Lincoln on his war horse, screaming obscenities behind him as he charged through Centennial Mall?"

These thoughts flowed unbidden, and I found myself giggling uncontrollably before I could remember to put aside memories of my own Viking-like drinking days in Lincoln, and set to getting as judgmental as humanly possible about the mere presence of alcohol in a college student of legal age. When I found out he was sleeping in a parked car in the U-Stop lot, it seemed sad and anti-climactic. But only because I'd rested my eyes in the occasional U-Stop lot myself years back. And not always in a car.

"BUT THE CAR WAS RUNNING!!" you might shriek. And I have no doubt that there are probably some articles out there detailing the night that Knut Thorssen of Rosalie, NE, passed out in his idling El Camino, but then unconsciously popped it into drive and proceeded to slaughter 6 nuns out for a 2am stroll and two head of prize cattle which escaped their fences.

I'm sure this happens on occasion. I'm also sure that there are several times as many incidents of sober people who jam on the gas insead of the brake and blast through garage doors or go careening down the PCH. If they were 80's era Audi owners and recent Toyota owners, they file class action lawsuits, so judges can tell them to put their foot on the right pedal next time. No one arrests them for sitting in the car before they do it.

Drunk folks sleeping one off aren't of the flailing, flopping, wild movement variety. Try waking one of us up sometime. It's a struggle for us to make that feeble, waving motion with the hand to leave us be, let alone come up with the motor skills to pop cars in gear, jam the gas and get after it .

So my conclusion? Other than a drunken rampaging dwarf would have been much, much cooler? Caputo was sleeping in a running vehicle and had a BAC of .103 which is only .03 above the sensible legal limit (yes, many states, including NE, have been pressured by MADD (1) to bring it down to .08 despite the lack of studies that show any significant prevention in alcohol-related accidents by doing so). I see a guy who wanted a burrito, had a couple too many and decided a nap might be a better idea than mowing down a burrito and trying to weave home tired and buzzed.

The running engine part? A check of weather shows it was about 38 that night. I'd probably want to run the heater too.

Now am I saying he deserves a pass? Nope. Hopping in the car buzzed is always a no-no, but in my humble opinion, he had caught himself and was trying to do the right thing. And stay warm unfortunately for him. To be sure, there's some stairs to be run, some calisthenics to be knocked out and some flecks of Pelini spittle to be wiped off the cheek as the screams echo through the Hawks Center. In the end, he may have wished had chosen a few days in jail and the loss of license.

But my favorite center should be allowed to suit up for his last game. And Mr. Hutz should dust off his inner stand-up comic while combatting the reckless sleeping driving charges.

"Mr. Caputo, don't you worry. I watched Matlock in a bar last night."

(1) - Ah, the good old angry mothers. A few problems with MADD these days, not the least of which include: 1) there are no more mothers on their board, 2) they ran off their founder because she's only in favor of preventing drunk-driving deathsand isn't on board with the current MADD agenda which is 3) a return to prohibition. That's right, their ultimate goal is to make alcohol illegal again. Because, you know, that worked out so well before. Check this and this from my buddies at MDM for more details on these clowns.