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Judge refuses to reinstate driving privileges for man who plowed through 1999 Oktoberfest crowd

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Posted at 10:32 AM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 10:39:58-04

CINCINNATI -- On Wednesday morning, a court of common please judge denied a motion for a man who wanted his driving privileges reinstated after he plowed over a crowd of people at Oktoberfest in 1999.

Michael Cowperthwaite, then 25, injured 27 people when he drove through festival barricades on Sept. 19, 1999. Cowperthwaite wanted to commute to and from work by car, but Judge Lisa Allen denied the request, saying his offense was too egregious.

Police said Cowperthwaite was first spotted driving recklessly on Walnut Street. He then hit a parked car, turned onto Sixth Street and drove the wrong way, then turned onto Main Street, again driving the wrong way. He drove through the festival barricades on Main Street and struck several people before colliding with an oncoming taxi near Fourth Street.

Those hit suffered fractured and broken bones, but no life-threatening injuries.

Cowperthwaite admitted to drinking Downtown the night of the crash; his blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, police said, and his car contained empty bottles of alcohol.