COVID-19 Drunk Driving Defense

Wanted man arrested for drunken driving, violating stay-at-home order, cops say

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LaPorte County Sheriff’s DepartmentProvided

A wanted Michigan City man was arrested Sunday for alleged drunken driving and violating the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order, according to the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. 

Wilbert Bureau Jr., 61, faces three counts of operating while intoxicated — including one that is a level felony 6 for having a prior OWI on his record. The other two OWI charges are class C misdemeanors, the sheriff’s office said.

Wilbert also faces charges of violating Gov. Eric Holcomb’s no-travel order during the coronavirus pandemic, a class B misdemeanor. 

The office said LaPorte Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Epple was eastbound on U.S. 20 west of the Ind. 2 interchange at 11:43 a.m. Sunday.

There, he saw a vehicle driving eastbound on U.S. 20 pass Epple’s fully marked squad car at a speed above the posted limit, police said. 

While traveling behind the vehicle, Epple checked his squad car computer to find the license plate was expired and the registered owner — Bureau — had a suspended driver’s license, police said.

Epple initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 6500 East block of Ind. 2. It was then that Bureau was identified as the driver, who had an active warrant, police said. 

Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Phillips arrived to assist with the roadside investigation. Capt. Derek Allen said Bureau was allegedly found to be driving under the influence. 

Bureau was taken into custody and eventually transported to the LaPorte County Jail for the latest offense and an outstanding, unrelated warrant in a domestic violence case, police said. 

Bureau remained housed in the jail Monday and is being held without bond, police said.

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