In what is surely a signal that the system is not working to keep habitual offenders off the road, some are saying the case of Kurt Knoernschild, 53, is emblematic of a system run amok.
According to police, Knoernschild first had his driver’s license suspended for driving under the influence more than three decades ago. Knoernschild also served several years in prison for driving under the influence of alcohol. Despite repeated DUI offenses, and jail time served, Knoernschild some how managed to get his license reinstated and get back behind the wheel, only to promptly re-offend and get himself arrested on charges of DUI yet again.
Surely Knoernschild represents the exception rather than the rule to how New York State law works for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, but this does little for those safety experts who rightly acknowledge that DUI offenders represents a serious threat to public safety.
Suffolk Police arrested Kurt Knoernschild, 53, early Thursday after he allegedly ran a red light in Mount Sinai. He was later charged with felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was represented by a lawyer from Legal Aid, which does not comment.
Knoernschild first had his license revoked for driving without insurance in 1979. But that didn’t stop him from driving, DMV records show.
Knoernschild was convicted of drunk driving six times between 1982 and 2005. In addition, police stopped him 11 other times on suspicion of drunk driving. Each time, he refused a chemical DWI test.
“I’ve never seen a driving record with such a consistent pattern of violation,” said Lt. David Geer of the Suffolk Police Highway Patrol.
“It appears, at first blush, he fell through the cracks,” Geer said when asked how Knoernschild had remained on the road all these years.