By Alex Kienlen
Log Cabin Correspondent
From Conway Police
Tuesday night, Sept. 27, just after 9 p.m. and police got a call about a reckless driver leaving a Conway restaurant in an SUV. As a nearby officer drew close to the establishment he saw the described SUV at a stop sign, but with several cars between he and it.
As the SUV pulled out the officer got behind it, still with cars between he and it. As the officer followed, the SUV drifted into the oncoming traffic lane. Blue lights were lit and the cars in the way parted, allowing the officer to gain on the errant SUV. It took awhile to get the SUV’s attention, with the officer using his siren and spotlight before the SUV, finally, pulled over.
The officer walked up to the SUV to speak with its driver. It took a minute, as the driver was slow to roll the window down. And, lo, upon the opening of the window came the "odor of intoxicants" from within the SUV cabin. The driver, 36, told the officer he was having trouble seeing and "was having vision problems," per the report. The investigation continued.
The officer asked the driver how much he’d had to drink. "Three beers," the man replied (slurred speech noted here). The officer asked the man for his ID. "I’m not drunk," the man replied. An officer was called who was trained in observing those who smell of intoxicants and slur their speech. The investigation continued.
The man continued his conversation with the officer, stating "We should have stayed where we were," which was, he disclosed, a campground. He could not recall the campground’s location. The officer asked him about the "we" in that statement, fearful in light of the child seat in the back of the SUV, and the man pointed to the backseat and said "My mom, she’s disabled." The officer checked and there was nobody in the backseat. He asked the man where Mom was. "In the backseat," he replied. The officer checked, again, and there was nobody in the backseat.
When informed of this, the officer reported, the man became confused, then stated, "They all told me to jump in the car and head that way." The officer assured the man nobody else was in the car with him. He then asked the man to step from the car, noting the man had trouble operating the door. This was due to it being his wife’s car, the man explained. With that he got out, and the officer noted the man had apparently lost bladder control recently.
The man took two steps to the back of the SUV and then stumbled. The officer helped him to the back of the car, then searched him. During this the man said he’d had four beers, it was reported. Then he stumbled, then he said three beers. When told he’d been driving on the wrong side of the road, he told the officer he did not know Little Rock traffic.
He was turned over to the officer trained in such matters, who he told he’d had "four or five beers," it was reported. The usual field test of looking, turning and standing was conducted, and the man was a rousing failure at motor control and balance. He also proved unable to give a useful breath sample over six tries.
He was taken to jail and his car impounded.