Thomas Robert Harter, 44, was swerving and speeding in a car as he crossed the Causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday afternoon, witnesses told police, before jumping off the bridge to escape arrest.
Harter was swaying and smelled of alcohol, the Causeway’s manager told The Times-Picayune. While officer began to conduct a field-sobriety test, the suspect unexpectedly ran to the edge of the bridge and tried to pull off his daring escape.
Police closed the Causeway’s southbound lanes for about 30 minutes as rescuers searched for Harter. They found him clutching the base of the bridge about 20 feet below, The Times-Picayune reports. Crews threw him a life preserver and pulled him to safety.
Harter now faces charges of DWI, resisting arrest, and careless driving. He also has outstanding warrants for a hit-and-run and reckless driving, according to The Times-Picayune.
Harter’s latest DWI arrest is his eighth, police said. One arrest took place in Pennsylvania in 1992, while the others were in Louisiana in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, and 2009.
Because Louisiana law dictates that DWI convictions stay on a driver’s record for ten years, Harter was charged with a third-offense DWI. If convicted, Harter faces a two-year license suspension and the possible confiscation of his vehicle under Louisiana law.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, don’t hesitate to call Bloom Legal at 504-599-9997 for immediate assistance and a free case evaluation.