Repeat drunk drivers in Mo. and Ill. could fill Busch Stadium – twice

ST. LOUIS - We're surrounded by thousands of repeat drunk driving offenders, some who have cleaned their records. The Fox Files found how some are hiding and why they're able to drive under the radar.

Doug Robinson appeared to be a victim when Fox 2 News first spotted him during flood coverage last May. He hit the back of a semi and drove into the overflowing Meramec River.

"I thought I was going under," he said at the time.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested him for DWI after catching up with him. Troopers said he'd driven drunk before. Joseph Hayes had 10 DUIs in 13 years. He has a pile of mug shots and several prison sentences, but his most recent arrest got him probation.

Repeat offenders are sometimes public officials, like Maryland Heights Councilman Gavin Park. Creve Coeur police said he struck a parked car two weeks ago.

An insurance company's safety consultant, Phillip Grindstaff, struck Michael Knudsen on Interstate 270.

"He couldn't walk," Knudsen said. "I had to carry him back to my car because he kept falling over."

The police report states a Des Peres police officer feared the accused drunk driver "might stumble into traffic."

At the time, Grindstaff worked for Travelers Insurance.

"He basically consulted companies and people about safety, which is ironic because you would think somebody in his position and his job, he would know about drinking and driving," Knudsen said. "After he hit me, he had another four DWIs within less than a two-year time frame."

Some of the reports have disappeared from court records, including Grindstaff's arrest from hitting Knudsen. It's because of deals with judges and prosecutors.

Grindstaff still has his Missouri driver's license, even though his record shows it's been revoked four different times. The Fox Files found tens of thousands of drivers with repeat DUI convictions. Many remain driving to this day.

In Missouri and Illinois combined, more than 87,000 drivers have three or more DUI convictions.

Missouri reports more than 48,000 with three or more convictions, while Illinois reports almost 39,000.

Knudsen hoped to stop Grindstaff from driving drunk again. He sued him for damages but lost.

Grindstaff's attorney said Knudsen couldn't prove he was hurt.

"I think his exact words was from his attorney was that he had a bad day and that you know he just found out some bad news, he overdrank, so we shouldn't punish him for his one-time mistake," Knudsen said.

As for Jason Hayes, a 10-time drunk driver, he got probation in his 2014 criminal case. He avoided jail time in exchange for having to wear an ankle bracelet and take the medicine Vivitrol, which is designed to reduce craving. Court records indicate he's stayed out of jail since then, making it his longest stretch without a mug shot in two decades.

Meanwhile, Grindstaff no longer works for Travelers. The company had no comment to question about whether it backed Grindstaff in his fight against Knudsen's civil lawsuit.