You want DUIs with that burger? Hardee's workers turn in impaired drivers

2013-02-05T04:30:00Z You want DUIs with that burger? Hardee's workers turn in impaired driversAndrea J. Cook Journal staff Rapid City Journal
February 05, 2013 4:30 am  • 

Sharp-eyed workers at two Hardee's restaurants helped Rapid City police nab a pair of suspected drunken-drivers last weekend after the employees noticed impaired customers at their drive-through windows.

Rapid City police were contacted twice on Saturday after the workers saw what they believed were intoxicated customers driving through the pick-up lane.

Around 3 a.m. Saturday, police were called after Summer Falls, 23, of Rapid City went through the drive-through at the East North Street Hardee's. Falls was later arrested on a DUI charge.

Then, an employee at the North Haines Avenue Hardee's called police just before 10:30 p.m. Saturday after serving David West, 53, of Rapid City, who was later arrested.

Those arrests were part of a busy weekend for local police who arrested 18 impaired drivers over the weekend.

Beyond the tips from Hardee's employees, police made the arrests after a crash and viewing erratic driving, officials said.

Many of those arrested were cited for first-offense DUI. Those arrested ranged in age from 18 to 63. A few had an open alcohol container in their vehicle. An 18-year-old was caught with marijuana. A concealed weapon charge was filed against one driver who had a knife.

All but one of the drivers arrested were Rapid City residents. The majority of the arrests occurred in the late night or early morning hours of Friday and Saturday and into Sunday morning. One exception was the Saturday afternoon crash of a car into a home on North Maple Avenue.

The crash sent the car’s driver, Jamie Tom, 20, and a passenger in her car to the hospital with minor injuries.

Assistant Police Chief Karl Jegeris said it’s hard to pinpoint why officers were so busy over the weekend, unless it was the weekend-warm-up or maybe it was due to more traffic on the roads from the Black Hills Stock Show or the Super Bowl.

"Looking at all of the DUI arrests from the weekend, it doesn’t seem like there’s a common thread,” said Jegeris. "But, it seems to me that the break in the weather after a long period of cold weather has some relevance to crime and alcohol consumption in public places. When the weather breaks, we see more people out and about.”

Several of the drivers stopped over the weekend caught an officer’s attention by speeding or ignoring other traffic laws, according to police spokeswoman Tarah Heupel.

On the weekends and at other busy times in the community, the Rapid City Police Department has two patrol officers who focus specifically on spotting impaired drivers.

“They work the late-night hours,” Jegeris said. The department puts more officers on the streets over the weekends than during the week, he said.

“Our staffing is purposely scheduled strategically with calls for service and crime,” Jegeris said. “So we’re going to have a lot more officers on during a weekend day than we do mid-week.”

Contact Andrea J. Cook at 394-8423 or andrea.cook@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. B-Rock
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    B-Rock - February 07, 2013 4:15 pm
    Perhaps it was the attitude of the police officer that rubbed me the wrong way. I tried telling my story of how I was stopped less than 400 feet from Hardee's before the police even had a chance to observe my driving and how the stop lasted approximately one hour for sobriety testing and repeated demands to search the vehicle, but my comments were censored by RCJ at least three times. I've given up trying to tell the whole story.

    Let's imagine an escalated traffic stop for one second. Imagine that a fast food employee decides to call the police and report that you have just robbed the place with a gun. You get pulled over, dragged out of your vehicle at gunpoint, frisked, cuffed and stuffed into a police cruiser, only to sort everything out an hour later when the police have determined that the report was false. Of course, nothing you say is going to help you in this situation because you're the "criminal." What if the bogus stop results in other charges? Even if those charges are dropped, the police now know who you are and know what to watch you for. Still think you have not been wronged? What if this incident cost you money, would you care then? I once spent $120 in lost wages and spent another $10 for the police report to fight a ticket for a $80 stop SIGN violation. Innocent until proven guilty, but if you don't pay (by taking time off work to attend court), you're guilty by default. Oh, I got that ticket for an accident that occurred at a stop LIGHT. Even if the police officer wrote the ticket correctly for a stop light, I performed the required duties as detailed in the statute. Had the ticket been for careless driving - I would have paid the ticket without fighting it. Stop light or stop sign violation - I was not guilty.

    So the armed robbery example is a bit extreme, but you can't deny that it is possible. Of course, someone who falsely reports an armed robbery is going to be in big trouble. Do you think there was any consequence for the Hardees employee who thought he saw a beer bottle in my cupholder? I had an hour of fun with my friends replaced with an hour of fear and frustration; I paid the price for that employee's mistake and he went home and patted himself on the back for a job well done that night.
  2. NoNewTaxes
    Report Abuse
    NoNewTaxes - February 07, 2013 3:03 pm
    Maybe the stopping of those two drunk drivers saved someone in your family, or a friend of yours. Now do you think the Hardee's employees are bad for doing this?
  3. NoNewTaxes
    Report Abuse
    NoNewTaxes - February 07, 2013 1:40 pm
    I've been stopped for things I was suspected of, but I didn't go away from the experiance with the attitude of " The wronged me." I went away with the attitude that I was glad they were doing their job. I guess it all depends on your attitude in life.
  4. humpty dumpty
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    humpty dumpty - February 07, 2013 1:58 am
    yes, I am ok with getting called in as a drunk if I'm not. I have been before. I was driving tired. cops stopped me, tested me, let me go. no big deal. I will definately go to Hardees more now to show my support.

    my thought-the reason cops had the probably cause is from the witness. the witness will have to go to court and testify. it is the same with a witness in any crime.
  5. B-Rock
    Report Abuse
    B-Rock - February 06, 2013 5:10 pm
    I complain about this because I was falsely accused of having an open container at the Hardee's drive thru in Pierre. So you're not threatened by this because you don't drive drunk, that's great. Are you fine with being stopped and questioned because the untrained Hardee's employee thinks you look drunk? How many bogus calls has Hardee's made to 911 just to bust two drunk drivers?
  6. B-Rock
    Report Abuse
    B-Rock - February 06, 2013 3:42 pm
    If a Hardee's employee had wrongly accused you of a crime, would that change your opinion? I can't applaud them for this very reason. If they want to be police officers, they should join the police force. They have not received the proper training to identify a crime like the real police.
  7. NoNewTaxes
    Report Abuse
    NoNewTaxes - February 06, 2013 3:20 pm
    Anyone that complaines most likely feels threatened by this. Myself I feel fine with it. Get the drunks of the road and save lives.
  8. mythought
    Report Abuse
    mythought - February 06, 2013 10:16 am
    so if some one doesnt like someone can they fallow them around and call police everytime someone messes up?next if a person is parked eating his or her burger how can police have probable cause for giving dui?
  9. DOCooker
    Report Abuse
    DOCooker - February 06, 2013 9:03 am
    Thank you Hardee's employees. I hope more of our fellow citizens step up to make our city safer.
  10. coffeehead
    Report Abuse
    coffeehead - February 06, 2013 7:54 am
    These employees may have saved someones life.
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