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Sober man gets arrested for DUI in Arizona

Published: Monday, June 10 2013 11:45 a.m. MDT

64-year-old Jessie Thornton was arrested for DUI in Surprise, Ariz., even though he registered a 0.000 on a breathalyzer test.

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A 64-year-old man was arrested for DUI in Surprise, Ariz., even though he registered a 0.000 on a breathalyzer test.

The Daily Mail reports Jessie Thornton was pulled over at 11 p.m. last week by police after they saw him crossing the white line of his lane.

"He [the officer] walked up and he said 'I can tell you're driving DUI by looking in your eyes,'" Thornton told ABC 15 in Arizona. "I said, ‘I’ve been swimming at LA Fitness,’ and he says, ‘I think you’re DUI … we’re going to do a sobriety test.’ I said, ‘OK, but I got bad knees and a bad hip with surgery in two days.’"

Two additional officers came to the scene to conduct a sobriety test.

"At one point, one of the officers shined the light in my eye and said, 'Oh, sorry,' and asked the other officer if he was doing it right,'" Thornton said.

After the test, he was placed in handcuffs and told to sit on the curb. Thornton was then taken to the police station and was given a breathalyzer test.

There wasn't a trace of alcohol in his system. He registered a blood alcohol content of 0.000.

After taking the breathalyzer, a drug recognition expert was called in to test Thornton, and reportedly told the retired firefighter, "I would never have arrested you.” The expert wrote a statement that read “...in my opinion Jessie was never under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” according to Gawker.

By the time the expert cleared him, his car had been impounded and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division had been told of his arrest.

Thornton told ABC 15 it wasn't DUI.

"It was driving while black," he said. "I've been stopped 10 times in Surprise and given four tickets, it's amazing."

Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on June 10, 2013, failed to properly follow our editorial policies. The story was shortened on Oct. 8, 2013 to fall within our editorial guidelines for aggregation.

Michael Smith is an intern in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.

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