March 18, 2012

Thomas Harter Took A Flying Leap - Jailed After Jumping Off Bridge To Avoid DUI Arrest

New Orleans, Louisiana (The Weekly Vice) - Thomas Robert Harter, a 44-year-old Louisiana man was jailed Sunday after he allegedly jumped off of a 20-foot bridge to avoid a DUI charge.

Officers then had to rescue him from the chilly waters below.

According to police, an officer pulled Harter over near the Causeway Bridge outside of New Orleans after the officer noticed that he was speeding and driving erratically.

When Harter exited the vehicle and put his hands in the air, the officer smelled alcohol on his breath. When the officer asked Harter for his driver's license, Harter handed him a pile of loose papers and CD's from inside the vehicle.

The officer had just initiated a field sobriety test on Harter when he suddenly ran to the edge of the bridge then jumped off. He landed in Lake Pontchartrain, which was approximately 20 feet below.

Rescuers called the scene found him clinging to a utility structure at the base of the bridge. Temperatures were about 60 degrees that day with wind gusts of up to 20 miles per hour. Harter was thrown a life preserver and pulled to safety.

Detectives soon learned why Harter attempted to flee. This was his eighth DUI arrest since 1992.

Harter was booked into jail and charged with driving while intoxicated, resisting arrest, and careless driving. He is currently being held in lieu of $15,000 bond.

Due to the frequency of his DWIs, he is now facing a third-offense (habitual violators) charge. If convicted, he could face a two-year license suspension and possible confiscation of his vehicle.

Mandi Milenko
The Weekly Vice

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