A New Jersey man this weekend increased the number of incidents in the past few weeks involving drunk men operating heavy equipment in public places to the alarming rate of two.
According to a report from The Jersey Journal, Christopher Russell, 30, was apprehended in Harrison on the night of November 14 while climbing out of a bulldozer in the middle of the street. Police told the paper that they began tracking Russell down after getting calls from concerned citizens reporting seeing the bulldozer in several locations.
Russell stole the dozer from a jobsite near West Hudson park. He told police he took the machine because he was cold and needed a ride to his home in Newark just a few miles away. He found the dozer with the keys still inside, hopped in and started on his way home.
Along the way, he went through the park where, according to the Journal, he “leveled signs, three benches, two steel bollards, a tree, a drinking fountain, fencing and construction materials, and it also damaged a bridge parapet, tore up grass and left a maze of tractor tracks.” And for good measure, he struck a parked car after leaving the park. You can see photos of all the destruction at NJ.com.
When they arrested him, police said Russell smelled of alcohol. He admitted to stealing the dozer and was charged with theft, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and criminal mischief. He was booked with bail set at $20,000.
Apparently heavy machinery has become the go-to mode of transportation for drunk people who believe they are in a tight spot. All the more reason to never leave the keys inside a machine and to make sure your fleet is locked up on any unattended jobsite.
On November 9, a man near Minneapolis was arrested after police found him driving a wheel loader down the street while drunk. He told them he was driving the machine because he thought it was snowing.