Cops Charge 14-Year-Old With Driving While High After 5 a.m. Thanksgiving Night Munchie Run
|Steven Duque's Thanksgiving meal was not enough to prevent a disastrous case of the munchies|
Meet Steven Wilson Duque: 14 years old and charged with driving while high on Turkey Day. Stranger still is that Duque appears to be innocent. A toxicology report shows the only thing he was on that night was a mission for some McDonald's. That means one of the county's top DUI cops unjustly arrested a terrified teenager.
"This could uproot how the state goes about proving somebody is under the influence of drugs or alcohol," claims Duque's defense attorney, Scott Kotler. Miami-Dade police declined to comment.
Duque's disastrous outing started normally enough. After dinner in Cutler Bay, he, his younger sister, and a cousin pored through the entire cannabis canon: Friday, Cheech and Chong, and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
Inspired, the trio decided to make an illicit 5 a.m. run to McDonald's. As the oldest, Duque stole the keys to his mom's Toyota Scion.
The only problem was that Duque also drove like Cheech and Chong. He ran a stop sign and cut in front of another vehicle on Old Cutler Road.
By the time he reached Mickey D's at SW 203rd St., cops were right behind him.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God," Duque mumbled. He admitted to Miami-Dade Police Officer Richard Closius that he was 14 and didn't have a license.
"At the beginning, they were laughing like it was all OK," says Duque, whose voice could be generously described as prepubescent. "I was hoping that they would just let it slide and let me go home."
Instead, Closius bore down. "He kept saying, 'Are you on marijuana? I can tell that you are!' " says the teenager.
When Duque admitted to taking a puff a couple of days earlier, the cop put the kid through a battery of tests. Closius's report said Duque's eyelids trembled, he swayed four inches while balancing, and he missed the tip of his nose with his finger. His conclusion: Duque was baked.
The teen was taken to the station. When Duque twice aced the Breathalyzer, cops asked him to piss into a cup. Only then did they call his mom. But the urine sample rained on the cops' parade.
"The kid was clean as a whistle," says Kotler.
The attorney claims the bogus bust could have bigger implications. Closius is one of the county's top drug recognition experts. "What's the value of allowing these experts to testify in court like that?" Kotler asks.
Duque, meanwhile, hopes the DUI charges get dropped -- even if he may still have to deal with lesser charges. (He has a court hearing this Wednesday. Check back for updates.)
The worst part about his extralegal escapade? Cops didn't even let him have a cheeseburger, he says.
"It was all for nothing, man."
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