SAFFORD – A man told authorities he was going to see a movie last Saturday night when he allegedly stopped in the middle of the intersection.
Authorities were called to the intersection of Highway 70 and 20th Avenue at approximately 10:30 p.m Saturday night for what was initially believed to be a traffic accident. Upon arrival, however, it was discovered that there had not been an accident, but a man driving a pickup had gone through a red light and stopped his vehicle in the middle of the intersection. Apparently, the truck and driver were still in the intersection when authorities arrived. The driver was removed from the vehicle and placed in the back seat of a patrol vehicle. The truck was moved off of the roadway by a deputy and later towed from the scene.
One witness said that he had a green light to turn left onto Highway 70 from 20th Street, when a silver truck, heading east on Highway 70, pulled into the intersection and stopped. Another witness showed officers a video she had taken on her mobile phone of the silver truck driving in the continuous left turn lane on Highway 70. She said that the truck was weaving all over the roadway, which prompted her to video the driver’s behavior.
Authorities found an open container of alcohol in the man’s truck, which was later identified as a 40 oz bottle of Hurricane Malt Liquor. The bottle was half empty but still cold to the touch. The driver of the truck smelled of alcohol, his eye’s were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred. Officers asked if he had been drinking and he said that he had a few beers earlier. After failing a field sobriety test, he was placed under arrest and transported to the Safford Police Department.
At the police station the man reportedly admitted to drinking a 12 pack of Budweiser after work, sometime around 5:00 p.m. He said that he was coming to Safford to watch a movie and did not feel the effects of the alcohol. He was cited for DUI and creating a traffic hazard and released to the custody of his daughter.
The video taken by a witness showed the man’s truck driving in the continuous left turn lane on Highway 70 near Bashas. The truck pulled back into the inside lane and was weaving. As the truck approached the intersection of Highway 70 and 20th Avenue, the light turned red and cars turning left onto the highway from 20th Avenue started to go. The truck is seen driving into the intersection against the red light and stopping in front of opposing traffic. The first vehicle making a left turn onto the highway was forced to swerve around the truck to avoid a collision.
Charges are pending the results of a blood draw.