Source: Sherman Publications

Drunk driver had no valid driver’s license for nearly 20 years

by Susan Bromley

February 08, 2012

An Ortonville man who turned his car upside down in a swamp next to M-15 in December was driving with a blood alcohol content of .20 percent, two-and-a-half times the legal limit, and hasn’t had a valid driver’s license in nearly 20 years.

Douglas George Bowman, 49, was arraigned Feb. 3 on one count of operating while intoxicated, third or subsequent offense, and one count of driving while license suspended, second or subsequent offense, by 52-2 District Court Magistrate Elizabeth Chiappelli.

Bowman has five prior convictions for drunk driving, seven prior convictions for driving on a suspended license,13 administrative suspensions or revocations on his license from the secretary of state, as well as three suspensions for failure to appear in court. His license was suspended in September 1992, and expired in March 1995.

None of this stopped him from driving, however, and on Dec. 10 a Brandon deputy responded to Rite-Aid, 10 S. Ortonville Road, to assist fire department medics with an injured person, later discovered to be Bowman. He was bleeding above his left eye, his clothes were wet and icy, and his hair was frozen. Bowman was disoriented, had slurred speech and smelled of intoxicants.

As he was warmed and treated, he said he was in a car crash, but was unsure where. He said the car was flipped on its roof in a swamp and no one else was in the vehicle. He was taken to the hospital and the car was located unoccupied, upside down and barely visible in a swamp on the west side of M-15, south of Grange Hall Road and north of Granger Road. Beer cans and other debris was inside and next to the vehicle.

Bowman was interviewed and said he was drinking at a local establishment and was driving home when he blacked out. He woke up trapped in the car and freed himself. He told the deputy he was probably going to prison because he had no valid driver’s license and had been previously charged with drunk driving. The deputy told the man he was lucky to have freed himself from the vehicle.

Bowman was arrested Feb. 2 by members of the OCSO Fugitive Apprehension Team at his residence in the 2400 block of S. Ortonville Road.

Operating while intoxicated, third offense is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. However, in 2001, Bowman served just 30 days in the Lapeer County Jail after being convicted of OWI, third offense. Bowman’s history of drunk driving dates back to at least 1984, when he was first convicted of operating while intoxicated in Pontiac. His second OWI conviction came in 1987 in Rochester, and was followed by an OWI conviction in 1993 in Clarkston, at which time he was also convicted of driving while license suspended. Several more convictions for driving while license suspended followed, most recently in Waterford in 2010, and Bowman was convicted of operating while intoxicated, second offense in 2004 in Clarkston.

“This is a prime example of why enhanced penalties are necessary for those who drive drunk and put the rest of us at risk,” said Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Pete Burkett. “Between the state police, Brandon deputies, firefighters responding to take him to the hospital, and the man hours spent to bring this case to prosecution— drunk driving is not a victimless crime. It costs thousands to taxpayers, even in an incident where he didn’t hit another vehicle or pedestrian.”

Bowman remains in the Oakland County Jail at press time with a $50,000 cash or surety bond, with 10 percent allowed. A pre-exam conference was scheduled for Feb. 10 in front of 52-2 District Court Judge Kelley Kostin.