Keith Shoeder, 64, of Wisconsin is no stranger to the law, particularly when it comes to driving while drunk. However, one of the things that makes him different from many other people who are arrested on this charge is that he was recently convicted of his fourth offense while on a riding lawnmower.
You’re Drunk, It’s Time to Mow Home
It was in 2017 when a deputy received information that Shoeder was at a bar in Pine Lake. Shoeder had an active warrant at the time, and the deputy was going to pick him up. However, when he arrived, he found that Shoeder was driving his riding lawnmower down the street in Rhinelander. The deputy turned on his lights, but Shoeder did not pull over until after he had driven through a condominium complex, over the grass, and into the trees.
The deputy had to get out of his car to apprehend Shoeder on foot. While the suspect denied that he had been drinking, the deputy noted that the man’s eyes seemed glazed over and there was the scent of alcohol on his breath. It was found that his alcohol concentration was 0.119. In Wisconsin, 0.08 is considered intoxicated.
Shoeder said that he shouldn’t be convicted of drunk driving because he was not actually behind the wheel of a vehicle. He says that his riding lawnmower should instead be considered an ATV. While it would still be against the law to ride an ATV while intoxicated, the punishments are not as severe. He was sentenced to three years of probation and 120 days in jail. In addition, his driver’s license was revoked for two years.
However, Shoeder wanted to appeal the case, still believing that he would be able to convince the courts that the mower was more akin to an ATV than a car or truck. He tried to say that even though the mower did not have a seat that needed to be straddled to ride, which is a characteristic of the law describing and ATV, that other manufacturers have made these types of step-through models in recent years.
The court said that regardless, they had to “defer to their legislature’s choice” when it came to what was and was not an ATV. He went on to discuss the fact that because Shoeder used the riding mower to go from the bar to a public roadway while intoxicated, it would still be considered a drunk driving offense.
Ultimately, the courts concluded that the conviction should stand. While that was not good news for Shoeder, it was also not the last time that he would have run-ins with the law in the same county. He had been in trouble for failing to report a boating accident, hit and run of an unattended vehicle, and disorderly conduct.
Prior to all of these problems with the law, Shoeder had owned a marina in the area until he sold it in 2018.
Not the Only Lawnmower Man
You might think that most people with common sense would not throw back a few beers and maybe have a couple of shots before heading out onto the streets on their mower. However, you would be wrong. These types of cases happen with more frequency than one might imagine. There have been cases in Florida, Pennsylvania, and other locations around the United States.
Those who might be thinking about drinking and getting behind the wheel of any vehicle need to think again. Not only is it against the law, but it is dangerous for them and everyone else on the road… and even the lawn.