That’s Some Awesome Drunk Driving

An article in Newsday earlier this week tells of an amazing misadventure in the same stretch of Fire Island where I used to live and work:

A Center Moriches man who was arrested after trying to drive his truck onto the Fire Island boardwalk Monday in Cherry Grove told police he missed a mainland turnoff that was 13 miles behind him, police said.

Matthew Minkel, 52, was charged with drunken driving after police found him at 5:45 a.m. trying to navigate his 2002 Nissan Frontier from the beach onto the boardwalk, where motor vehicles are prohibited.

Minkel told police he was driving west from Moriches Inlet and missed the turn to the William Floyd Parkway, 13 miles away, police said.

Minkel was arraigned in Central Islip district court and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Now to appreciate what this feat entailed, you have to understand that Mr. Minkel:

  • Had to drive some five miles along the beach from Moriches Inlet to Smith Point;
  • Where he missed the turnoff, a large pavilion, and sundry other structures; then
  • Drove another seven miles of beach alongside the so-called “Fire Island Wilderness” (Congress said so, it must be true) to Watch Hill;
  • Where he apparently overlooked another developed area;
  • Drove another mile of beach to Davis Park, missing a whole damn community; then
  • Drove several more miles past the smaller settlements of Water Island and Barrett Beach;
  • Then passed the large community of Fire Island Pines;
  • Before finally coming awry at Cherry Grove…

…all without getting stuck in the sand or driving into the ocean!

With DUI skill like that, you wonder if he’s not originally from Wisconsin.

The more expectable outcome

At least this guy can blame the overshoot on alcohol. I’ll never forget two apparently sober guys who stopped me at the Route 58 traffic circle in Riverhead, NY, just past the final exit on the Long Island Expressway, asking “How much farther to Kennedy Airport?” When I found out they were coming from Newark NJ, I had to break it to them gently that they’d overshot their exit by some 70 miles.

Or what about the middle-aged woman who flagged me down at the Herring Cove Rotary at the bitter end of Cape Cod, asking directions to a church where she was due at a wedding in 20 minutes? Sorting things out, it became clear that the address she was looking for was in Providence, Rhode Island, not Provincetown, Massachusetts: a little matter of 120 miles off-course.

And then there was the friend who absent-mindedly missed an Interstate turnoff while driving from northeast Ohio to Brooklyn, NY, and only realized his error several hours later as he approached the outskirts of Philadelphia; and another dude I know who, it is rumored, missed the only intersection for light-years around and drove- totally sober!– halfway to Fairbanks when he was heading to Anchorage…

Nah. That last one’s just not credible.

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