A Safford police officer on patrol last Sunday at approximately 12:45 a.m, was leaving Walmart when he saw a man coming out of the store with a case of beer. The man looked toward the officer’s patrol car and was very animated while waving toward him. The man got into a work truck and headed for the exit onto Highway 70. While trying to navigate a turn in the access road the man bumped up over the curb and into the gravel. The officer was behind the man when the incident occurred and activated his emergency lights and made contact with the driver as he got out of this truck.
The officer asked the man how he failed to notice the curb. The man said that he was not familiar with the area. The officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol on the man’s breath as he spoke. His speech was slurred and his balance was poor. The officer asked how much the man had to drink and he admitted to having a couple of drinks. The officer asked the driver if alcohol had something to do with him driving over a curb and off of the road. The man admitted that it might have had contributed to the incident.
The officer asked the man to rate his level of intoxication on a scale from 0 to 10. The man answered, “pretty good.” The officer asked what pretty good meant and the man answered, “four.” The man could not find his driver’s license but said that he was from Washington and was in town for work. The officer began to conduct some field sobriety tests but after performing poorly, the man said that he did not want to continue the test and that he just wanted to go back to his hotel room.
After failing field sobriety tests the officer told the man that he was under arrest for DUI. The company truck the man was driving was picked up by a co-worker and the man was transported to the Safford Police Department. As an officer was preparing to draw his blood, the man stopped the procedure and said that he wanted legal counsel first. The man did not have his phone and he didn’t have an attorney in mind to contact. He asked the officers who he could contact but they told him that they could not provide him with a name of an attorney but could help him look one up. He was given a phone book and access to a phone to make a call. The officers told him that if he made contact with an attorney that he would be given privacy for the conversation. The man then told them that he couldn’t read the phone book without his glasses. The officers assisted him while he looked up attorneys and left messages but he was not able to make contact with an attorney.
While the man was trying to contact an attorney, one of the officers obtained an electronic warrant for the blood draw. Approximately 35 minutes after the man’s initial refusal to allow the blood draw, the officers told the man that he was not entitled to further delay and asked if he would consent to the blood draw. The man said, ‘no.” The officer then served the warrant on the man and told him that they were going to draw his blood and asked that he cooperate to make it safer and easier. The man then tried to take back his refusal and give consent but the officers said that the time for his consent had passed.
After the blood draw the man was released from custody and was picked up by the same co-worker that picked up his truck. As he walked past the vial of blood, he told the officers that they just needed to make it disappear.
Charges are pending the results of the blood draw.