WOODSTOCK – A Marengo man charged with drunken driving rode his motorbike in court Tuesday, not to it.
Carl Ahrens, 36, said he rode his Razor MX500 from Judge Thomas Meyer’s bench to the back of the courtroom in an effort to prove that the bike was a toy, not a motor vehicle. It operates on a 12-volt battery.
Despite the demonstration, the judge disagreed, and Ahrens’ license was suspended for six months.
“I think the judge looked at the law, which is extremely broad, and said unless it’s powered by a human, it’s a motor vehicle,” said Ahrens’ attorney, Phil Prossnitz.
By analogy, a Barbie car would qualify as a motor vehicle, he said.
“There’s not a police officer in McHenry County who’s going to let you take a Barbie car down [Route] 47, nor is he going to let you take your Razor 500,” Prossnitz said.
Ahrens said he had been sitting on the bike across the street from his house when an officer approached him, likely after a complaint from a neighbor. He said he was placed under arrest, and the bike was placed in the officer’s trunk.
“I can’t believe I’m in this much trouble over a toy,” Ahrens said. “It goes 4 miles an hour. I plug it in overnight.”
Ahrens also was charged with driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08 percent, endangering the health of a child, improper operation of an off-road motorcycle, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and driving without registration.
Prosecutor Jennifer Gibson said that Ahrens had given his son rides on the bike and that his blood-alcohol level was 0.181 percent.
“I think Judge Meyer made the proper decision,” Gibson said. “I think it shows what a serious offense it is that he was riding his kids around on this motorbike at over two times the legal limit.”
Ahrens said he needed his license for work.
He owns his own siding business, which he fears will be affected by a DUI, and also works at Wal-Mart – where he said they sold the bike.
Prossnitz said that during criminal proceedings, he intended to dispute the idea that Ahrens was operating a motor vehicle.
“You can get a DUI in a Barbie car, so be careful with what you do in any backyard parties,” Prossnitz said.