Laurel police chief stops alleged drunk driver

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Laurel Police Chief Richard McLaughlin discovered more than he had bargained for when he stopped to help a driver with a flat tire Monday morning.

In talking to the driver, 28-year-old Thang La Khual, McLaughlin noticed the man had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, police said.


McLaughlin called for back-up, and a police car was sent to join him at the intersection of Route 198 and Route 197, according to police.

Police said McLaughlin became more suspicious when Khual, of Laurel, handed him a temporary driver's license, which, according to the chief, is typically given to suspected drunk drivers before their cases are adjudicated.


Police transported Khual to the College Park barracks for a sobriety test, and discovered through a case search that he had been charged with a DUI on April 22 for allegedly driving under the influence at Laurel Bowie Road and Contee Road at 1:44 a.m.

On Monday, Khual blew a .36, 4 1/2 times the legal limit, according to police.

Police said Khual told them he was on his way to work when he pulled over because of the flat tire.

McLaughlin said he hoped Khual's story would inspire others not to drink and drive.

"He shouldn't have been driving," McLaughlin said in a statement. " People have died with that much alcohol in their systems. Maybe this time, he'll get the message—if you drink and drive, you will get caught."