Why was Robert Mathis arrested and booked for OWI despite being under the legal limit?


Robert Mathis

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- It's the big question on everyone's mind. Why was former Colts player and current coach Robert Mathis arrested, booked, and preliminary charged with OWI if tests showed he was under the legal alcohol limit?

Mathis was pulled over late Monday night in Carmel when an officer says he spotted him driving the wrong way on a one way near Bishop Circle and Windemere Blvd. In this case, police say Mathis' blood alcohol content was a .052 percent, which is below the legal limit of .08 percent.

FOX59 talked to a local defense attorney about why officers decided to arrest him. Essentially, police have the right to make the arrest at their own discretion despite the test results.

"If the officer believes he has probable cause that the person has impairment that is based on consumption of alcohol and/or controlled substances, he can arrest without a test...or with a number that's below," said attorney John Tompkins, who is not representing Mathis in this case.

Officers said they were alerted to Mathis' behavior because he was driving the wrong way down a one-way street. We went to the neighborhood and found it was not a posted one way, but rather an entrance and exit that was divided in the subdivision.

Tompkins says the prosecution will need hard evidence to prove why they charged him so early instead of waiting for blood test results, which could take weeks, and then determine charges.

"They know that there's a huge impact just on being arrested on a person's career and their perception to the public. So we trust prosecutors to use their discretion in deciding when is the appropriate time to file this charge," Tompkins said.

The police report says when officers pulled Mathis over his speech was slow and thick and he appeared lost and confused.

Now this question is at the top of a lot of people's mind: Does this case have anything to do with who was behind the wheel?

"I mean dark-skin people in Hamilton County getting pulled over by the cops- I mean it would scare me to death," Tompkins said.

FOX59's Tanae Howard took that question to Carmel Police.

"What do you guys say to the idea that this was handled this way because it was Robert Mathis, an African-American in Carmel?"

"Well we have a very professional police department and our officer conduct their business regardless of who might be the occupant of the vehicle and in this particular case the vehicle was observed in violation, the traffic stop was conducted, and the investigation was conducted as a result of that," Sgt. DJ Schoeff said.

When asked how much he had to drink that night, Mathis told one officer he had a shot of Cognac and had taken a sleeping aid. He later told another officer he had two shots of Crown Royal and took a sleeping aid around 10 p.m.

Mathis has not been formally charged.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News