Tiger King subject Erik Cowie is facing some legal trouble following a recent run-in with the law. The former head zookeeper at Joe Exotic's former Oklahoma Zoo GW Exotic Animal Park was arrested and booked for driving under the influence after he was recently involved in a multi-car crash in Oklahoma.
News of Cowie's arrest was confirmed to TMZ by law enforcement sources, who told the outlet that Cowie was driving under the influence when he crashed his vehicle into another car on an interstate highway in Oklahoma. Police responded to the incident last month and reported that neither party involved in the crash suffered injuries. However, when authorities responded to the scene, Cowie "reeked of booze," TMZ reports. A field sobriety test was conducted, which Cowie "bombed," and he reportedly confessed to having two beers before driving. His blood alcohol content registered at 0.11. Police arrested Cowie and transferred him to jail, where he was charged with driving under the influence. According to TMZ, Cowie has since pleaded guilty to the charge and will be sentenced on May 25.
Cowie became one of several people who shot to sudden stardom following the March 2020 debut of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. As Tiger King viewers know, Cowie is not the only subject of the Netflix docuseries facing legal trouble. Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted with eight counts of falsifying records after he violated the Lacey Act, nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, and two counts of murder-for-hire for his plot targeting Carole Baskin. Addressing Exotic's charges during April 2020 The Tiger King and I, a Tiger King special episode hosted by Joel McHale, Cowie voiced no support for his former boss or his pleas for an early release.
"It's been in the back of my head. I think about it a lot," Cowie said on the controversial topic of Exotic's zoo euthanizing animals for no apparent reason. "A lot of times when we put cats down, they used me because just my appearance or my voice [meant] I could get a cat up the side of the cage where we can dart it and tranquilize it. Those cats trusted me up until the end. Sometimes, I swear they're like 'Dude you let me down.'"
Asked about Exotic's prison sentence and whether he believes he should be released, Cowie strongly said, "No. Not no, but f– no." Cowie added during his appearance, "Twenty-two years doing federal time – that guy's gonna die in there. Good riddance." Exotic has made several pleas for a pardon but remains behind bars at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.