Public Safety

North Liberty man gets drunken driving charge after driving off retaining wall

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CORALVILLE — A North Liberty man drove drunk off a retaining wall early Friday morning, leaving his truck vertical to the ground, police said.

According to Coralville police criminal complaints, an officer responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident around 12:04 a.m. Friday at 2205 E. Grantview Drive. The responding officer said when he arrived on scene, “a black pickup was vertical to the ground.”

Police spoke with witnesses who reported seeing the driver — identified as 57-year-old Donald J. Claffey — fall getting out of the vehicle. Witnesses also said Claffey appeared to be drunk and was seen throwing a can out of the vehicle, police said. An open can of alcohol and a “shooter sized” bottle of Southern Comfort were located outside of Claffey’s truck.

Claffey told police he was driving from Cedar Rapids and stopped to get gas. After driving through the parking lot, he took what he thought was an exit, but was the retaining wall, according to criminal complaints. Claffey showed signs of intoxication and told the officer, “You got me, ok,” police said.

A breath test showed Claffey’s blood alcohol content to be .186 percent, more than twice the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa. Police said Claffey also didn’t have a valid driver’s license.

Claffey was arrested and faces charges of second offense drunken driving, an aggravated misdemeanor; and driving without a license. Claffey was convicted of drunken driving in Ohio in April 2014, police said.

• Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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