From Conway Police Department reports
Special “odor of intoxicants” edition
The story begins, like all great stories, at a Taco Bell just after midnight. A call came into police Saturday morning, Nov. 2, 30 minutes after midnight about a possible - using the formal language of police reports - “intoxicated driver” at the Taco Bell on Prince Street. A man was there, in the drive through, asleep, police were told. An officer arrived to investigate.
The officer arrived and there in the drive though, parked at the menu board, was the as-described pickup, not moving, its driver apparently indisposed. Something of a traffic jam was underway, as cars were trying to maneuver around the truck. The officer turned on his patrol car’s “cruise lights” and worked through the tumult, toward the pickup.
And as he turned on his cruise lights the pickup, as it were, leaped into action, quickly pulling out from its spot in the drive through. The officer followed. He did not have, as he pointed out in the report, any reason to pull the truck over just yet, it’s license plate not having been reported in the initial call, so he followed.
The act of following, however, became difficult as the pickup pulled out onto Prince Street and apparently accelerated, quickly pulling away from the restaurant. The officer continued after it, but realized his patrol car would not go faster than about 35 mph. He checked and realized the car was stuck in first gear. The pickup, on the other hand and by the officer’s estimation, was doing about 50 mph.
The officer stopped, put his patrol car in park, and shifted back into drive. With that his transmission began working properly again and he was able to catch up with the pickup, gaining on it at the roundabout on Western Avenue and Prince Street. The truck, tall with oversized mud tires, was able to more-or-less shorten its transit through the roundabout, making a slight jump over what the officer called the “gore” in the report. As he watched and pursued the truck came out of the roundabout using two lanes, stopping at Donaghey Avenue intersection, straddling the lane divider.
Blue lights and siren here, blue lights and siren, it was time for a traffic stop. The pickup swung to the right and stopped.
As the officer walked up the driver was reaching around the cab - presumably for the license and related paperwork. The officer, safety in mind, open the cab door and ordered the driver to get out.
“I was met with the odor of ethyl alcohol,” he reported.
The driver got out, hands in the air, “and was panicked,” the officer reported. The man was confused, and the officer had to ask him several times to walk to the front of his patrol car before the man did so.
The driver’s speech, the officer reported, was slurred. He, 24, told the officer he had been at Bear’s Den, then asked the officer if the officer would “give him a break.”
How much had he had to drink? The story moved around a bit, finally settling on five 12 ounce beers. The time was 12:15, the man answered confidently to the officer’s question - at 1:36 a.m.
He didn’t know, when asked, why he left Taco Bell without ordering.
The officer told the man he thought the man was intoxicated, and he was going to do a Field Sobriety Test. The man replied that he was, in effect, a brother in arms, and employee of the city via the Parks Department, and did the officer think it would help him to take the test? After some back and forth the man, telling the officer that he, the driver, had “messed up” and “had too much to drink” would not take the test.
Handcuffs at this point, loaded into the car (pun!) and downtown for the breath test. There, a 2:32 a.m., the man blew a 0.18 BAC. His truck was towed, he was booked into jail.
The car sped by. It was on Prince Street and it was 1:25 a.m., Sunday morning, Dec. 3. An officer on patrol spotting it, got behind and caught up, the car getting up to about 45 mph in the 30 mph zone. A turn through a roundabout and the officer caught up, pulling the car over at Tucker Creek and Salem.
The officer, of course, stepped up to the driver’s window. The driver, the only person in the car, told the officer she had misplaced her phone, which had her driver’s license. The officer got her information, noting here that as the woman spoke her words were slurred. Further observation relayed the “strong odor of intoxicants” coming from the car’s interior (where the woman was sitting, try to keep up). Then, the officer noted, he looked and realized the woman plastic bag of what appeared to be marijuana in the car’s cup holder.
She was coming from Little Rock, the woman told the officer. She had been at a Christmas party at a home there.
A second officer arrived and the officer had the woman step out of the car. He grabbed the marijuana and placed it on the car’s roof. He asked the woman to step back to his car and walked ahead in order to turn off his strobe lights. When he turned around the woman, who had trouble getting out of the car, was sitting on her car’s trunk.
The officer had her stand up. She did, but swaying. Here, again, the strong odor of intoxicants was noted. It was Field Sobriety Test time.
The reader can imagine how the test went, going, as it did, as these tests so often go with haphazardly operated cars and early a.m. traffic stops. The woman exhibited clues (“clues” being the language of such matters, signs that the testee did not have the motor control as would be appropriate for a sober person).
Handcuffs came to the fore and she was arrested, then put in the officer’s patrol car for the trip downtown.
Her car was searched. Police found her phone (so there was that) under the car’s passenger seat. On the same passenger seat was a grinder, used for preparing marijuana. A glass smoking pipe was found in the driver’s door pocket. Throughout this the woman, 26, was yelling at the officer about her car being illegally searched.
On the way downtown the woman told the officer “no way” she was “still intoxicated,” asking why he didn’t just give her a field breath test and let her go. At the station she was given a breath test after the mandatory 20 minute wait, where she blew a 0.11 BAC. She was taken to jail, reportedly cursing at deputies the entire time.
Her car was towed for impound, the marijuana and related processed into evidence.