By Lee Hermiston
Iowa City Press-Citizen
A North Liberty, Iowa man has been arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content nearly eight times over the legal limit.
Police Chief Jim Warkentin said 24-year-old Justin A. Clark's blood-alcohol content of .627 percent was the highest he's ever heard of in his career, which spans more than two decades.
"It's just amazing," Warkentin said. "It's just amazing the person was conscious to be that high. Most people don't make it above .3, they end up passing out."
According to a North Liberty police criminal complaint, officers were dispatched to the area of Red Barn Drive at 10:05 p.m. July 29 for reports of a driver who was all over the road, hitting curbs and the vehicle had come to rest in a yard on Stone Creek Circle.
Police said a resident flagged down an officer to point out the driver, who was revving up his motor. The officer approached the driver, identified as Clark, from the driver's side of the car.
Clark was sitting in the driver's seat and was unable to answer any of the officer's questions, police said. He also was unable to get out of the vehicle, walk or perform field sobriety tests, police said.
Police said when they asked Clark where he thought he was, he said he was at home, and when they asked him what day it was, he replied, "Three, but now it is four."
Clark submitted to a preliminary breath test, which showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .486 percent, well over the legal limit of .08 percent, to operate a vehicle in Iowa. Police transported Clark to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where additional tests showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .627 percent.
When he attended the police academy, Warkentin said he was taught that someone with a blood-alcohol content of more than .4 percent is "clinically dead." He said he had no idea what Clark could have consumed to obtain a blood-alcohol content that high.
"Who knows?," he said. "I can't answer that."
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said the highest blood-alcohol content he can recall was from a fatal crash that happened many years ago on Highway 218. The driver had a blood-alcohol content near .5 percent.
"Six is just mind boggling," Pulkrabek said.
Clark has been arrested and faces a single count of drunken driving. A phone number for Clark could not be found and he could not be reached for comment.
Iowa City Press-Citizen