Man takes late-night drive through golf course after taking Ambien

Bainbridge Island police have asked for a state re-evaluation of a 90-year-old island man's driving skills after he took a near-midnight drive across Wing Point Golf Course.

According to a Bainbridge police report on the incident, the man took Ambien, a prescription sleeping aid, and later got into his car and proceeded to take a drive just after 11:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.

The man had intended to drive to his daughter's house, which was approximately a mile away.

While en route, the man got confused and drove onto a pedestrian path that led through the Wing Point Golf Course. His car damaged the course as he drove through, and he finally exited onto Wing Point Way. The man then struck a road sign and knocked it over while turning off Wing Point Way onto Alder Avenue.

The man eventually made it to his daughter's home, where police found him. He admitted to striking the sign.

Ambien is a prescription sleeping aid that has come under criticism after varying reports of users sleepwalking, sleep driving or performing other tasks in a daze while on the drug. In many cases, the users report being unaware of their actions. The Food and Drug Administration has blamed the drug for causing some incidents of sleep driving.

The Bainbridge Island police report did not fault the man or Ambien for sleep driving, and officers did not cite the man for the incident. Police, however, sent a report to the state Department of Licensing that asked the agency to have the driver re-evaluated.


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