Accused Mendocino County drunk driver argues he was escaping 'angry women'

A 60-year-old man was found not guilty of driving drunk after his defense argued it was necessary for him to get behind the wheel to escape from two angry women, a Northern California district attorney said. 

Thomas Houston, of Ukiah, claimed he drove off with a blood alcohol level of .11, which is above the legal .08 limit, when his wife caught him having an affair, the Mendocino County DA David Eyster said in a statement about the case. 

Houston's defense presented the argument that the risks of driving under the influence at that time were lower than the danger to himself if he had faced "two angry women," according to the DA's statement.

"I've heard the necessity defense before. It's rarely successful and never in that context," Eyster said. 

The argument is usually used by people pulled over while speeding on their way to a hospital, Eyster said.

"While the prosecution argued the law of necessity is not intended and has never been applied to such a factual situation, the trial judge nevertheless allowed the jury to consider the necessity defense as possibly justifying the under-the-influence driving," the DA's statement said.

Houston was acquitted Feb. 3 after a 4-day trial.

He was arrested Aug. 14 by the California Highway Patrol. Houston told the arresting officer that he was parked on the shoulder of a road for two hours to avoid his wife, Eyster told KTVU.

Houston's defense attorney has not responded to KTVU's inquiry.