AUSTIN (KXAN) — A University of Texas at Austin student accused of drunk driving crashed into a restaurant on Guadalupe Street early Monday morning, and when confronted by police, said, “I’m a UT student! You can’t arrest me!”
The student has been identified as 21-year-old Esther Shim. University records show she is a junior in the College of Communication.
Two University of Texas police officers were on patrol in the area when they heard the sound of tires squealing and then a loud crash, the department said. The officers found a vehicle had crashed through the front of the Poke Bowl restaurant at 2828 Guadalupe St., near the intersection with West 29th Street, at 2:22 a.m.
The vehicle came to rest inside the restroom of the restaurant and police say the structure of the restaurant had collapsed around the car. The debris kept the car in place, as well as blocking the vehicle doors.
An officer had to use his baton to break out a window, but it was still too dangerous to get the driver out. The UT police department says its officers, risking their own safety, moved debris from the passenger side so the driver could get out.
Austin-Travis County EMS arrived and found Shim only had minor injuries. As the student spoke, officers began to think she may be drunk. UT police say she started arguing with police and demanded an immediate breathalyzer.
When UT police explained that Austin police officers would be responding because the crash happened in their jurisdiction, the student said she was UT affiliated and would only speak to its police department.
Shim then tried to snatch her identification from the officer’s hand, which led police to take her into custody. Officers say when they tried to put her in handcuffs, she “violently pulled away” and claimed they couldn’t arrest her because she’s a UT student.
When asked if she intended to fight with officers, police say she replied, “Yeah!” Once inside a police car, officers say she began to kick at the windows and doors. She was then restrained in the backseat and taken to Travis County central booking, where deputies put her in a restraint chair and wheeled her into an isolation cell “due to her violent behavior.”
Poke Bowl’s owner, Tuan Nguyen, said in an email to KXAN he wants customers to know they are working very hard to get the restaurant up and running again. However, the damage is so bad it may take weeks or even two months to repair.
The restaurant first opened in July.