Repeat DUI Suspect Violated Ignition Interlock Requirement

More trouble for an Omaha man arrested for his fourth DUI offense. Not only was he busted for driving over the limit, he was also arrested for not using a device that would help keep the public safe while he's on the road.

Most of us just get in our vehicles, start the engine and drive, but if you've had your license suspended for drinking, starting your vehicle can be a little more difficult.

Ignition interlock devices give suspended drivers another chance to get behind the wheel. It’s like taking a breathalyzer test every time you drive and where you drive is limited.

At 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, police noticed a car driven by Josuha Wheeler making an improper turn at the intersection of 42nd and Center, so he was pulled over. Wheeler had an ignition interlock device requirement on his driver’s license, but he didn’t have the device on the car he was driving.

The police knew that the minute Wheeler surrendered his license. “Looks like a regular driver’s license, the difference is it’s got a purple strip across it on the back,” says Katie Parys of LifeSafer. “Our restrictions are listed, such as school, work, probation activities.”

Parys has been installing engine interlock devices for 15 years and says it’s a felony to tamper with or violate its use. “You most likely will be seeing jail time from what we’ve seen from other clients who had this happen to them.”

Wheeler is not the first person who tried to beat the interlock system. Parys says the system works and it’s hard to get around. “Everything is recorded so if you try to do anything to beat the system when they come in we do a download, we review it and we're able to call, so we send all these reports to the DMV and their probation officers."

Ignition interlock violations can actually add time to the offender’s use of the device. Experts tell us people have been sentenced to anywhere from six months to 15 years of interlock use and the offender must pay the cost, about $65 a month.

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