SAFFORD – A red Chevy S-10 pickup caught the attention of other motorists last Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:30 PM due to swerving in the lane of travel. The reporting parties were following the vehicle as it traveled westbound toward Safford on Highway 70 near Hollywood Road. Dispatch ran the license plate of the vehicle, but it did not return a valid record. The reporting parties also said that the driver appeared to be falling asleep.
By the time law enforcement caught up to the vehicle it had pulled into the parking lot near Burger King and was parked near Hibbet Sports.
The driver was still in the vehicle with the engine running when an officer approached. As he approached the driver’s side door, the male driver opened the door. The officer noted that the driver was not wearing shoes. The officer told him that people had called in reporting that he was falling asleep while driving. The driver denied falling asleep and told the officer that he was just trying to get off the road because of problems with his front tire.
The driver’s eyelids were apparently drooping and his speech was slow. The driver did not have any identification but gave the officer his name and driver’s license number. He said the he was heading to Solomon, even though he had been driving westbound away from Solomon. Then he told the officer that he was going to the auto parts store to see what was wrong with his truck because he was having issues with his starter.
The officer pointed out that his alleged car problems did not explain his reportedly erratic driving. The officer also pointed out that the pavement was hot and the driver was not wearing shoes. The driver then told the officer that the brakes on his truck were going out.
The driver admitted that he was on Suboxone and used to be a drug addict. The officer asked if he had anything in his pockets. The man reached into his pocket and revealed 4 blue pills, which were later identified as Alprazolam – A prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The driver told the officer that he had a prescription for the pills.
The officer also noticed a dry, white powder on the man’s left arm. The same white powder was also coming out his nose. The officer told the man that he could see white powder coming out his nose. The driver claimed that he didn’t know what it was. When the officer pointed to the white powder on the man’s arm, he started talking about the tattoos on his arm.
The driver initially claimed that he had snorted Suboxone in water, then changed it to snorting Xanax before finally saying the had had snorted Oxycodone. He maintained that he had a prescription for whichever drug he was talking about at the time.
Authorities were able to identify the driver through MVD records and found that his driver’s license had been suspended and was expired.
The man was placed under arrest for driving on a suspended license and DUI. He was transported to the Safford Police Department where he consented to a blood draw. He was released to the custody of his mother.