"Before this one, the most I'd seen was six [DUI's per person]. Nine is extraordinary," says Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer.
Prosecutors and police alike are reeling: Nine DUI arrests, all belonging to the same man-- 45-year-old convicted criminal Wayne Zimmerman. Jackson police made that ninth arrest early Thursday morning. They say they found Zimmerman driving a moped into oncoming traffic.
"This certainly is in the top realm I've encountered [of DUI's]," says Jackson Police Deputy Chief Matt Heins.
Zimmerman has a laundry list of prior offenses besides his eight previous DUI's, including larceny, arson and assault. He's already been in prison four times.
When the police picked up Zimmerman, they say he was driving westbound in the eastbound lane on Ganson near the fairgrounds. Police say he told them he was looking for his 40 oz. beer that he'd dropped along the way. But with eight prior offenses, you have to ask yourself: what was he doing still driving, out in the streets?
"I can't really answer that," Blumer says. "I can say we'll try our best never to let it happen again."
Heins echoed the bewilderment.
"How it's feasible he'd be out in the streets after having nine [sic] arrests, I don't understand that. And I can't begin to answer that question. We can arrest them, but after that, it's in the hands of the judge."
Prosecutor Blumer says he'll pursue life in prison for this habitual criminal. And though the details of the case may sound absurd, Heins says, "It's really not funny to laugh at it, because the guy could have been hurt or killed, or he could have hurt or killed someone else."
It may be even more absurd that others like Zimmerman may also be slipping through the criminal-system cracks.