Dunlap Commissioner drives lawnmower instead of car after DUI troubles
"What I say to my critics is go listen to brother Dave Gardner the comedian, he said 'When a man is down, kick him,'" says an unapologetic Dunlap City Commissioner Dan Barker, who admits to driving his lawnmower around town after two of his vehicles were seized by police.
"Since his DUI conviction we've arrested him for driving on revoked, says Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth, who says he was unaware of the multiple sightings of Barker around town, driving his riding lawnmower.
A quick sampling of customers at the Dunlap Post Office recognized the photo of Barker, driving down Rankin Avenue Monday.
"Its Dan Barker, he's a nice guy," smiles Reece Hobbs of Dunlap.
"George Jones driving around on his riding lawnmower?" guesses Tracy Newman sarcastically.
"Utilizing a lawn mower as a mode of transportation as you would a car, to drive from point a to point b is against the law," says Chief Huth, who says his department has received no complaints of Barker's law mower use, but says his officers will now be on the lookout.
"Does he not need a tag for that ride?" playfully asks Tracy Newman.
Barker says he still plans on driving his Husqvarna, "But I'll turn on the mower so I'll be mowing on the side of the road as I go," laughs Barker.
But when I suggested to him that walking, or biking may be a more legally acceptable mode of transport, he quickly embraced the option.
"Maybe I'll ride my lawn mower and my trailer up there today and go get that bicycle."
Chief Huth says driving a lawn mower on city roadways would earn the violator a class C misdemeanor ticket.
Barker has two court appearances set for July, next week in Knoxville for a DUI arrest that was reduced to reckless driving, and later this month in Dunlap for his most recent driving on a revoked license charge.
Barker says he has served on Dunlap's City Comission since 1989 and blames much of his legal trouble as the handiwork of political opponents.