The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Man Swerves to Avoid Pink Elephant on I-295

A Delaware man was arrested for driving under the influence on I-295, after he told authorities that he swerved his car to avoid crashing into a "pink elephant."

Samuel Phipps of New Castle was taken into custody last week. This is reportedly his seventh DUI offense, writes The Philadelphia Inquirer. He swerved his car and hit a guard rail while driving southbound on I-295 in Delaware.

But why the pink elephant?

Delaware State Police stated that Phipps claimed he had dipped a marijuana joint in PCP prior to driving. He was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and for failure to have required insurance, said Cpl.John Day of the Delaware State Police, as reported in Delaware Online.

The combination of these two drugs led to the supposed hallucination.

While DUI typically relates to alcohol, drugs can also be a factor in a DUI. Driving under the influence of drugs is a criminal offense. The difference with alcohol impairment and drug impairment is that it's easier for officers to measure alcohol impairment at the time of arrest. Usually, a standard breathalyzer test will give officers an idea of the level of impairment.

Drug impairment, on the other hand, can't be measured through a breathalyzer test. As a result, it's hard to know how impaired a driver is when under the influence of drugs.

Because of the difficulty in detecting the exact amount of drugs in a driver's system, Pennsylvania, Delaware and thirteen other states have enacted "per se" drugged driving laws. These laws make it illegal to drive with any detectable amount of drugs in one's system.

Phipps has been committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution with a $21,00 bond, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

As for the elephant? According to Delaware Online, Cpl. Day claims that to the best of his knowledge, no elephants were running loose near New Castle on Friday night.

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