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Comedian booked without detention over alleged drunk driving

All News 18:32 April 28, 2016

SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- A comedian has been booked without physical detention on allegations of leaving the scene of an accident after driving drunk, police said Thursday.

Yeongdeungpo Police Station in Seoul said Lee Chang-myung, 45, allegedly hit a traffic light with his Porsche at an intersection in Seoul's Yeongdeungpo Ward around 11:20 p.m. on April 20. He then left the scene before police arrived, they said.

The comedian appeared at the police station nine hours after the accident and denied he had been drunk or intentionally ran from the scene, saying he only left to go to a hospital due to pain.

A blood alcohol concentration test conducted by the police failed to determine whether he had been drunk at the time of the accident. However, police calculated his blood alcohol content (BAC) level using the Widmark formula, an investigative tool to find the BAC for a given person based on a specific amount of alcohol consumed.

Police investigation revealed that Lee and six acquaintances had reportedly consumed six bottles of Chinese liquor, six bottles of Korean liquor and nine 500-milliliter glasses of draft beer at a restaurant over four hours, starting at 6:30 p.m. the day of the accident.

Presuming he drank a bottle of Chinese liquor and a cup of draft beer, investigators calculated his BAC at an estimated 0.16 percent at the time of the accident, a level that would call for his driver's license to be revoked.

Lee's acquaintances at the restaurant reportedly told police that he did not drink. However, analysis of CCTV footage around the neighborhood showed Lee had crossed the road's median and ignored a traffic signal, strengthening the police's allegations of drunk driving.

The police also said Lee had tried to call a designated driver service, a popular practice in Korea when an inebriated person hires someone to drive them home, but was not able to hire one as no drivers were available.

The police plan to refer Lee, a widely known comedian who has hosted KBS TV's "Let's Go! Dream Team Season 2" for many years, to prosecutors after further investigation.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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