Hampton woman charged with DUI after Friday morning crash

Published 9:30 pm Friday, June 12, 2015

wreck web

A Hampton woman was arrested on multiple charges after striking a utility pole with her SUV early Friday morning.

Maria Bell, 32, 106 Robert Ave., Hampton, was charged with driving under the influence, unlawful drug paraphernalia, violation of the implied consent law and possession of Schedule II drugs as a result of the single-car accident.

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Elizabethton Police Department officers were dispatched the intersection of Rogosin Drive and West G Street shortly before 8 a.m. Friday. Once on the scene, officers found a silver Ford SUV sitting in the grass at the intersection with heavy front-end damage and Bell in the driver’s seat.

EPD Cpl. Sarah Ellison discovered Bell had been travelling west on G Street when her vehicle left the right side of the road and struck a utility pole, completely severing it and leaving a portion of it in the roadway. Bell told officers she was having stomach pains from the flu, but was OK. However, Ellison said she appeared to be under the influence, talking with thick, slurred speech, having lethargic movements and being unsteady on her feet.

“Bell advised that an elderly lady came into her lane of travel and she had to swerve to miss her,” Ellison said. “Witnesses advised that no other driver was near Bell to have caused the actions Bell described.”

Bell consented to field sobriety tests, and Ellison said she nearly lost her balance on numerous occasions. The testing was stopped because of her “high level of intoxication.”

Bell was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. She was read the implied consent advisement and refused to have the testing completed.

During a search of the vehicle before it was towed, Sgt. Lincoln Orellana found a straw portion with residue on it. During the booking process at the Carter County Detention Center, staff found a plastic cigarette bag in Bell’s shoe containing two portions of Oxymorphone.

The Elizabethton Electric Department responded to the scene to repair the pole and traffic was restricted in the area while repairs were made. The pole was completely severed, with a portion of the pole laying the roadway and the other portion dangling from the power lines overhead.

Repairs to the pole took around two hours and left between 12-14 customers without power, EED General Manager Rob Toney said.