Diabetic Ind. trucker cleared of drunken driving
Trucker Tim Buselt said he should have stopped driving when he started to feel ill. He was pulled over and arrested before he could get to a truck stop about a mile or so away.
The Associated Press
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Prosecutors have dropped a drunken driving charge against a diabetic trucker who insisted his erratic driving wasn't caused by alcohol but an emergency medical condition.
The Monroe County prosecutor's office dismissed the DWI charge during a hearing Thursday at which 48-year-old Timothy Buselt of Bloomington pleaded guilty to reckless driving. The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/XH1M8B ) a judge ordered him to pay more than $200 in court costs and public defender fees.
Buselt was arrested in October 2010 and charged after a motorist reported a tractor-trailer weaving along State Road 37.
He has maintained since then that he was sober and that his driving was affected by what's called diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition caused by lack of insulin and high blood sugar. The condition's symptoms include excessive thirst, nausea, weakness, fruity-scented breath and confusion.
"The symptoms that present may appear to be impairment," Stuart Baggerly, Buselt's public defender, told a Monroe Circuit judge. "There's an odor to the breath that could be mistaken for alcohol. That resulted in a false-positive breath test. That is our position."
Buselt said he should have stopped driving when he started to feel ill. He was pulled over and arrested before he could get to a truck stop about a mile or so away.
After his arrest, Buselt said he went to a doctor, who took him off pills to control his diabetes and prescribed four daily insulin shots.
Buselt was fired by Bestway Express and the state suspended his commercial driver's license for six months after the DWI charge was filed. His license was later reinstated, but no trucking firms would hire Buselt.
Buselt, who now works at a fast-food restaurant, hopes he can return to life on the road now that the criminal case is over. He has an application pending at another trucking company and is hopeful he'll be hired.
"I've had to wait for all of this to be over," he said.
After Thursday's hearing, Buselt said he deleted his lawyer's number from his cellphone and leaving the court building.
The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
Find more news and analysis from The Trucker, and share your thoughts, on Facebook.