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'My Passenger Spilled His Beer,' DWI Suspect Tells Cop

By T.J. Wilham
Journal Staff Writer
          When Christopher Lucero was stopped by State Police for weaving in and out of traffic on Interstate 40, authorities say he had an excuse: His passenger spilled his beer, he told the officer.
        The officer thought it was a joke.
        But next to Lucero, 31, was a half-emptied bottle of Corona in a cup holder, police said.
        And that wasn't even the beer he spilled. That was the one he had popped open to replace the one that had spilled on the floorboard while he went across three lanes of traffic on the interstate, police said.
        Lucero, who was too drunk to perform field sobriety tests, was arrested on aggravated drunken-driving charges, according to court records. It was his sixth DWI arrest.
        "He was so matter-of-fact about it, like it wasn't a big deal," State Police officer Kurtis Ward said.
        According to court records, Ward was patrolling Interstate 40's eastbound lanes near the Big-I at 11:58 p.m. Saturday when he spotted Lucero crossing lanes of traffic without signaling. Lucero was also going 13 mph over the speed limit, police said.
        Ward followed Lucero a short distance and pulled him over near Carlisle NE. The officer noticed the beer in the center console, smelled alcohol and noticed that the driver's eyes were bloodshot, court records said.
        Right away, Lucero blurted out his excuse.
        "I kind of started laughing because normally they are trying to hide the beer, but, in this case, he was using it as an excuse that he was driving bad," Ward said.
        In all, Ward found four opened bottles of Corona in Lucero's car, according to court records.