By LIUDAS DAPKUS VILNIUS, Lithuania May 23, 2006 (AP)
— Lithuanian police were so astonished when they pulled over a truck driver and his breathalyzer test registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their testing device must be broken.
Police said Tuesday 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 727 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliters of blood repeatedly on different devices when he was pulled over for driving his truck down the center of a two-lane highway 60 miles from the capital, Vilnius on Saturday.
Lithuania's legal limit is 40 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.
"This guy should have been lying dead, but he was still driving. It must be an unofficial national record," Saulius Skvernelis, the director of the national police traffic control service, told the AP. "He was of high spirits and grinning the whole time he was questioned."
Medical experts say anything above 3.5 grams per liter of alcohol in the blood is lethal for most people.
"A person this intoxicated should be in an intensive care unit, not behind the wheel," said Tautvydas Zikaras, head of the dependence illness center in the country's second-largest city, Kaunas. Zikaras said he had never heard or read of someone being so drunk.
Sungaila, who was slapped with a 3,000 litas ($1,110) fine and the loss of his license for up to three years, told police he had been drinking the night before and tried to freshen up by downing a pint of beer for breakfast.
Lithuania has one of the worst road safety records in the European Union. Last year, 760 people died in traffic accidents in this country of 3.5 million residents. Most were alcohol-related.