ST. LOUIS It was cold, past midnight and Thomas Drummond's car was stuck in a ditch in rural Missouri. He used his dying cell phone to text his girlfriend, but forgot to tell her where he was.
What to do? Drummond nipped at a bottle of brandy he bought for a party, then dozed off until help arrived.
Police arrested Drummond for drunken driving but last week a jury in Cape Girardeau acquitted him of the charge -- agreeing he drank only after he drove into the ditch.
"This is something that doesn't happen all the time," Drummond's attorney Steven Wilson said on Tuesday. "It's an odd set of circumstances."
Wilson explained that Drummond was driving home on an unfamiliar road, missed a turn, tried to turn around, and ended up in the ditch. He walked to a nearby farm and tried to get a tractor started to pull his car out, but failed.
Drummond testified he wasn't drunk before the accident but was inebriated by the time rescuers arrived two hours later.
He could have been sent to jail for a year and fined $1,000, but the jury believed his story and set him free.
(Reporting by Bruce Olson; Editing by Jerry Norton)