Indy 500: Two-Time Winner Al Unser Jr. Charged With OWI, Allegedly Acted 'Hostile' Towards Officers

Retired race car driver Al Unser Jr. was arrested in central Indiana last Monday and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the Associated Press reports.

al-unser-jr-getty-Gabriel Olsen : Contributor
(Photo: Gabriel Olsen / Contributor, Getty)

The 57-year-old was pulled over by police in Avon, west of Indianapolis, shortly after 1 a.m. when he was recorded going 59 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone and drifting from his driving lane, according to a police report. The officer who pulled Unser over said he was slurring his speech and that his eyes were red and glossy.

Unser initially denied drinking any alcohol before exiting the car, staggering to the back, losing his balance, falling to the ground and rolling down an embankment, the report says.

Blood was drawn after he refused to take a field sobriety test.

"At the police department, Unser Jr. complained about the tightness of the handcuffs on his wrists," the arresting officer wrote in the report. "Tightness was checked multiple times and after continued complaints, I slightly loosened them further."

When Unser complained about the handcuffs once again when he was being taken to a hospital to have his blood drawn, the arresting officer said he stopped and "checked for tightness again to find the tightness of the handcuffs appropriate. During my entire interaction with Unser Jr., he was consistently verbally hostile toward assisting officers and I."

Unser is the son of four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser and the nephew of three-time Indy winner Bobby Unser. Unser Jr. competed in the Indianapolis 500 19 times, winning in 1992 and 1994.


Last week's arrest was not his first; he was arrested in New Mexico in 2011 on drunken and reckless driving charges after Albuquerque authorities said he was driving more than 100 mph while drag racing against another driver.

He pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence stemming from a January 2007 crash on a Nevada freeway, where authorities said his blood-alcohol content was three times the legal limit and he failed field sobriety tests. He lost his driver's license for 90 days, was fine $1,000 and attended a drunken driving school, victim impact panel and alcohol abuse evaluation as part of a plea deal.