Avon police arrest 2-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. on OWI charge
AVON, Ind. – Avon police arrested two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. on an OWI charge.
Unser, 57, was booked into the Hendricks County Jail at 3:21 a.m. on Monday.
According to court documents, Unser was clocked going 59 miles per hour (mph) on Ronald Reagan Parkway a 45 mph zone. The officer who pulled him over noted Unser had red and glossy eyes and slurred speech. The officer noted the smell of alcoholic beverages.
Unser initially told the officer he had not had anything to drink that night. Court documents show Unser rolled into an embankment after losing his balance and falling down.
He again said he’d not had anything to drink and refused to take a field sobriety test. He was then arrested.
He refused a chemical test as well, so Avon police got a warrant to take a blood draw, which was done at Hendricks Regional Hospital.
The officer also noted Unser was “consistently verbally hostile” toward the officers involved in the investigation.
Unser faced similar legal problems in the past. He made headlines in 2002 when he was arrested after an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend. He also has previous drunk driving arrests in 2007 and 2011.
Unser has been very vocal about his struggles with alcohol. In fact, just a few weeks ago he spoke with Hope Academy students to share his story of addiction as a recovering alcoholic. He said drinking was a demon he faced, and he hopes others will learn from his mistakes.
Harding Steinbrenner Racing, where Unser is listed as an executive consultant, released the following statement:
The entire Harding Steinbrenner Racing organization is saddened to learn of Al Unser Jr.’s arrest on an OWI charge. Alcoholism is a disease and a continuing battle for those struggling with it. At this time, we do support Al in any way that he needs. All additional questions should be directed to Al’s legal counsel, James H. Voyles.