From Conway Police Department reports
The lightness of being
Police were called to a city park about a situation relative to a baseball game. The caller said his ex-wife was there to pick up their child, but, he told the officer, she appeared to be under the influence. The woman showed up and was staggering while trying to force their son into the car, police were told. It was Monday, Sept. 25, about 9:30 p.m.
The reporting officer arrived, a second officer shortly after him. The reporting officer spoke with the caller while the second officer went to the woman in question, still in the parking lot.
The caller told the officer the woman, his ex, was at the game, during the course of which she was staggering and a couple times looked like she was about to fall asleep. She was a consistent drinker, he told the officer, and she had the habit of taking Xanax “and various other pills.” The officer had the man wait while he went over and spoke with the woman.
The woman was leaning on her car’s open door when the officer walked up, her feet crossed in such a way that the officer suspected she was having trouble with her balance. They spoke during the course of which the officer noted a wift, a smell, a faint aroma across the ballfield parking lot. The officer reported the “odor of intoxicants” from the woman. The investigation continued.
The woman told the officer she assumed the man called them as a way to harass her due to her not being willing to lower the child support payments. She, the officer reported, would wander in her conversation, not staying on topic long. She would begin speaking about the situation at hand, then start asking the officer about possible mutual friends and acquaintances who worked on the force. These changes would come with little warning and no prompting. A child was in the car seat in the back of her car.
The officer decided to try some field sobriety tests to check on the woman. Nystagmus kicked it off, but she had trouble keeping her eyes still while following the finger. She said this had to do with various things, including the bright lights on the ballfield and her bad hip. The walking test she didn’t do so well. The standing test, well really that had to go with an alternate test due to the woman having a hip problem. She did okay on that test, save for “swaying and talking excessively,” the officer reported.
The final test, a new term for Police Beat, was the Romberg test. The test, named after a German neurologist who died in 1873, is a way to check if a person’s balance is appropriate for one who is or is not under the influence. It works like this: It’s presumed we need three senses to balance, sight, knowing where our body is in space, and knowing what our balance is in space. When used to test for drunk driving, the subject stands, tilts their head back, closes their eyes and is asked to guess when 30 seconds have passed. With the eyes closed, one of the three senses are removed and the “knowing where” and “knowing what” are left. If one of those isn’t working correctly, as, say, might happen when under the influence, the person would stagger and likely fall. (While not stated in the report, the officer was no-doubt close in case the woman lost her balance.)
More trivia: In clinical terms, as the Romberg test is used at times to check senses for other reasons than inebriation. If, in that setting, the person loses balance, they are said to be “Romberg positive” or to have demonstrated a “Rombergism.” Romberg’s name is also used in identifying a type of skin disease, and a type of hip joint problem. He is remembered as being innovative in his study and understanding.
During the Romberg test the woman swayed, her eyes fluttered, and she, after 24 seconds, opened her eyes and began talking “about something unrelated.”
The officer told her she was in no shape to drive. She, at the officer’s prompting, called her boyfriend to come get her and the children, which happened, they locking her car and leaving it until a more sober time.
It was Monday night, nearly Tuesday morning, that Sept. 25 at 11:27 p.m. when the reporting officer found himself called to a scene. A second officer was engaged in a traffic stop on a car with five people in it and the reporting officer was there to - in that formal language of police reports - assist.
The officer arrived and noted the car where the five were seated had a heavy odor of marijuana. Due to this, the officer who pulled the car over was going to have everyone get out so she could search the car. She got two of the three men out of the back seat, as they came out on the driver’s side. The reporting officer was left to get the other man out. He, buy the car’s passenger side door, opened it and asked the man to get out and step to the rear of the car.
The man got out, pulled his pants up, but began to step around the officer. The officer instead took a step back and told the man, again, to go to the back of the car.
The man tried to run. The officer grabbed his arm and there was a struggle, during the course of which the officer was hit (stating in the report this may have been accidental). With this the man was free (as it were) and took off running. The officer pulled out his Taser and told the man to stop, but to no avail. Another officer was arriving and tried to block the man with his patrol car, but the man got around it.
The chase was on. A second officer tried to block the runner’s path with his car, but the man made it around. The man ran around a parked truck and hid in a bush, but was quickly spotted by the officer who continued to chase him. When the man realized he was still being chased he stood up to run again but his pants had again fallen down and he tripped, falling to the ground.
He was held there with the threat of a Taser, and a second officer joined to put the man in handcuffs. He was then cuffed and stuffed. The officer checked, and where the man had been hiding at the bush was a small bag with marijuana in it.
The man, 21, was taken to jail.