Man with suspended license now facing charges of felony DUI

SAFFORD – Last Saturday night around 9:00 pm while out on patrol, an officer noticed a vehicle at a local bar that was known to authorities as being owned by an individual whose license had been suspended. Throughout the officer’s shift it was observed the vehicle remained at the bar until around 1:30 am. Later, around 2:00 am the officer was traveling eastbound on 8th Street approaching 8th Avenue intersection when he noticed the same vehicle from the bar heading towards the same intersection. As the vehicle passed the officer, he recognized the driver as the owner of the vehicle, who’s license had been confirmed by dispatch as still being suspended.

The officer turned around and saw the vehicle make an immediate abrupt turn into the nearby gas station on the corner. The officer activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop, and when the officer approached the vehicle, the man driving was already attempting to get out of the vehicle. The officer explained that he reason he had made the stop was due to the man’s license being suspended. The man replied, “yeah, I know”. While the officer was conducting a query of the man’s license and registration, he discovered the man was supposed to have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle and his registration was also suspended. When the officer asked the man if he had an ignition interlock device, the man seemed to sigh and told the officer that he did not. Throughout the conversation the officer  noticed the man’s eyes were very watery and slightly bloodshot and their was  a strong odor of an intoxicating beverage. It is also reported the man’s speech seemed slightly slurred as well.

The man was asked where he was coming from that night, and he stated he was coming to the store to purchase a gallon of milk for his daughter, but did not say where he came from. The officer told the man he did not believe him, and asked the man if he had just left the bar. The man reluctantly answered that he had. When the man was asked how much alcohol he had drank that night, the man reported “not very much.” The man spoke to the officer about his own employment jobs and how he helps people everyday, while the officer acknowledged knowing what the man’s employment jobs were, the man was asked if he felt he was over the .08 legal limit. It is reported the man nodded his head yes. The man then agreed to take some field sobriety tests.

The man felt he had “passed all the tests”, however, the officer informed the man he was still under arrest because of the outward signs of impairment that had been observed. The man was placed in the back of the patrol vehicle and a tow truck was called to the scene. The man was transported to the Safford Police Department where a blood draw was conducted and a mandatory fingerprint form completed. The man was released into the care of his friends and was advised the case was being forwarded to the Graham County Attorney for felony DUI charges, pending lab results.