Utica police say man was driving stolen motorized wheelchair while drunk

By Lauren Podell, Local 4 Reporter, @Local4Lauren, lpodell@wdiv.com
Published On: Jun 05 2012 06:14:55 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 05 2012 07:30:46 PM EDT

He was arrested on a busy road in Utica.

UTICA, Mich. -

Raymond Kulma, of Sterling Heights, was arrested in Utica on suspicion of drunken driving, for the 7th time.

Kulma was not drunk behind the wheel of his car. Utica police arrested him while he was operating a stolen motorized wheelchair.

"He has quite the history and quite the drinking problem,” said Utica Police Chief David Faber.

Kulma, 55, had a blood alcohol content level of .241 at the time of the arrest, three times the legal limit. Chief Faber said the arresting officers conducted several sobriety tests, Kulma failed every one.

Watch: Uncut: Dashcam video from wheelchair driver's arrest

"I guess he thought he would go for a little ride," said Chief Faber.

Kulma was arrested May 27. Utica police were called to an assault on Greeley Street at a senior living complex. The stolen motorized wheelchair belonged to James Konkel, who lives in the complex. Konkel and Kulma had gotten into a heated argument. When police arrived to question the two men, they found Kulma driving the wheelchair down the road.

"I never thought someone would steal my chair, that’s why I left it outside," said Konkel.

Konkel said Kulma had been living with his brother in the senior complex, when Konkel left his apartment to meet up with a friend, that’s when Kulma started calling him names.

"He threw a punch so I threw one back, but then I left, and police found him on my wheelchair,” Konkel said.

Man has prior alcohol-related arrests

Raymond Kulma has six prior operating while under the influence charges. One in Florida in January of 1984, three in Sterling Heights in April of 1985, February of 1994 and June of 1994. Kulma also was arrested for drunk driving in Bloomfield Hills in December of 1988 and Mt. Clemens in April of 1998.

Kulma’s license was suspended 4 times and revoked twice.

"Sounds like he needs to spend some time in jail, maybe he’ll learn his lesson,” said Konkel.

Konkels motorized wheelchair was impounded and brought in for evidence but later returned to Konkel who did not want to press charges.

A warrant for his arrest was issued, Kulma now has 10 days to turn himself in, said Utica police.

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