A Minneapolis man was arrested on his third DWI charge in 10 years on Thursday morning just five years after he was charged in an alcohol-fueled shooting at a prestigious country club.
Although Joseph Rice was required to get treatment, his latest arrest is a reminder of how powerful the grip of alcohol can be, especially if there are barriers to sobriety. Unfortunately, money and a life of privilege is no substitute for good behavior -- in fact, experts who work with recovering alcoholics say having all the advantages, including a good lawyer, can keep someone from seeking help.
Rice is best known for being charged with carrying out a drive-by shooting from a vintage Ferrari in December 2008 after six bullets blasted through the front windows of the Minikahda Country Club.
The shooting came after his membership to the club was suspended due to erratic behavior and reports from several staff members who said Rice had threatened to kill them.
Court documents say the episode was related to Rice's serious drinking problem, but he was eventually acquitted. Though the ordeal sounds like the actions of a person hitting rock-bottom, a counselor who works with recovering alcoholics told FOX 9 News that realization comes at different times for different people.
"Sometimes it can get to be where it is life or death," Ryan Sweeney, of Minnesota Teen Challenge, said.
Rice was arrested three times that week -- once for stiffing a cabbie and once for threatening police while refusing to leave the country club. He was eventually convicted of assault and paid more than $3,000 in restitution while most of the charges were dropped, including drunk driving.
None of that seemed to be the wake-up call he may have needed.
"Ultimately, they have to decide that's what they're going to do and what they want to do," Sweeney said.
Rice eventually ended up serving time in the workhouse for violating his probation and even checked himself out of court-ordered alcohol treatment to play in a bridge tournament.
In spite of a court-ordered ignition interlock device, Rice was arrested again at about 3:30a.m. on Thursday after failing a field sobriety test in front of his home. The 67-year-old was booked into Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of drunken driving.
Rice's attorney declined to comment on his client's current legal trouble, saying only that he heard from Rice shortly after he was released from jail.