Another Internet Hoax: Raccoon Helps Man Beat BAIID

Posted on in BAIID

raccoon, BAIID, internet hoax, Chicago criminal defense lawyerWhat do you get when you cross an intoxicated Navy sailor, an ignition interlock device, and raccoon? Well, if you believe everything you read on the internet, you get a creative way to start a car and very angry furry passenger. Although highly entertaining, it turns out that the story, like so many others in recent years, was the result of an active imagination, subsequently overshared and under-verified.  Various news outlets have since confirmed the viral account as a hoax, albeit with no small measure of amusement.

All From a Single Image

The story began with a post on the picture-sharing site Imgur, which allegedly showed an incident report originating at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California. According to the report, a Navy petty officer left a bar and needed to start his personal vehicle which was equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). Too drunk to meet the device’s requirements, he supposedly captured a raccoon rummaging in a trashcan nearby, and squeezed its body to provide the breath sample needed by the BAIID to start the car, leaving the animal unconscious. The man, the story continued, left the raccoon in the vehicle and began driving. A short time later, the animal regained consciousness and attacked the driver, causing an accident that ended up with the vehicle in an in-ground swimming pool.

Debunking the Hoax

While the account spread like wildfire around the internet, even being picked up by online news outlets, it quickly became clear that the story was too outrageous to believe. After further investigation, the image of the phony incident report originated on a Facebook page aimed at veterans, which purports to be “just for fun.” A public affairs officer at Camp Pendleton checked even deeper into the case. “I called police records,” she said, “and while they were highly entertained, the confirmed (the story) is absolutely a hoax.”

BAIIDs in Illinois

If such a situation was to actually occur in Illinois, the driver would have bigger problems than a viral internet story. When a BAIID is installed on a vehicle, it includes a camera that documents the face of the individual providing the breath sample. If someone other than the driver blows into the device, the offender required to use the BAIID may face additional suspensions or possible disqualification from the BAIID program.

If you have had your license suspended due to DUI-related incident, do not rely on small mammals to help you get home. Contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney for help exploring your available options for relief. Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel is a former prosecutor who understands the Illinois justice system and is prepared to work with you in seeking a positive outcome in your case. Call 312-629-0669 to schedule a free, confidential consultation and leave the raccoons alone.


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