Many consider Memorial Day weekend the ‘unofficial’ start of summer, and it only took a few hours for the first Boating Under the Influence of the season to happen.
Late Friday night, Zach Cunningham was arrested and charged with BUI & Implied Consent Violation, after he was found to be drunk while driving a boat on Percy Priest Lake, and tried to hide his alcohol from officers as they neared his boat.
According to a report, late Friday night, while patrolling Percy Priest Lake, an officer noticed a vessel underway displaying a bright blue light on the transom of the hull. The light was bright enough that it was hindering the visibility of the stern light. Upon initiating blue lights and stopping the vessel the operator, Zachary Cunningham, immediately left the wheel and hid something in a compartment. He then sat down at the passenger seat.
The officer asked him to come over toward him, and while speaking with him he noticed his eyes were watery and bloodshot and that his face was flush. Per the report, he also smelled a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. The officer asked him how much he had to drink that night and he said “two”. He was then asked him to come aboard the patrol vessel to perform field sobriety tasks. He performed the tests poorly and was placed under arrest for BUI (TCA 69-9-217a).
He was read the BUI Implied Consent form and he refused to give blood (TCA 69-9-217f). After he was read his miranda rights he stated that he knew he shouldn’t have been driving, to the officer. He stated he was just driving the boat back in to the Nashville Shores Marina because his friends were uncomfortable driving the boat around the dam. He also stated that he had a Bud Light to drink and a shot of Jack Daniels and that it was indeed a beer can that he was hiding when the stop was initiated.
Cunningham was booked into the Metro Jail at 12:25 AM Saturday morning (today), and released on the pre-trial-release program just before 3 AM. He will appear in court on 06/04/2018.
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