By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW — A drunken 45-year-old Newport man drove his GMC Sierra pickup truck into the ditch the evening of Feb. 9 on Jefferson Avenue near Payne Street, and tried to claim another person was driving and disappeared, a story contradicted by witnesses and surveillance camera footage.
The drunken driver managed to extricate himself from the pickup, which was on its side, then walked over to the nearby Full Moon Bar, which declined to serve him any alcohol.
The man had mud on his shoes and clothing, consistent with being in the ditch after exiting his sideways vehicle. His eyes were glossy and bloodshot, his speech was slurred and he smelled strongly of intoxicants.
The vehicle’s airbags deployed, but the man declined medical attention.
When police officers asked him how much alcohol he had consumed, he said he had only had one drink, but denied being the driver, claiming a mystery woman, known only as “Mary” had been driving, which witnesses and surveillance footage refuted.
The man failed numerous standardized field sobriety tests. A preliminary breath test was administered, and the man had a blood-alcohol content of 0.161, more than twice the 0.08 limit for legally drunk in Michigan.
When his pickup was searched prior to it being impounded and towed, an empty pint bottle of rum was found on the floor in the front seat.
When the man was taken into custody and transferred to the police station, he refused further breath tests, so a search warrant was obtained from a judge for a blood draw at a nearby hospital, after which he was returned to the police station and held.
The man was also cited for an expired license plate on his pickup.