Man faces DUI charge after striking police cruiser
Published 9:37 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
A Hampton man faces multiple charges after police say his vehicle struck a police cruiser when the officer stopped him for driving “erratically.”
Carter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Hughes arrested Joseph Heaton, 31, 3256 Gap Creek Road, Hampton, and charged him with driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, violation of the implied consent law, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the open container law, and violation of the light law.
Hughes was on routine patrol on Highway 321 in Hampton around 8:30 p.m. when he said he was nearly struck by another vehicle.
“I observed a black Mazda pickup truck pulling onto Highway 321 spinning its back tires and swerving, almost striking my patrol car and forcing me off the roadway,” Hughes said. “The vehicle had no headlights on and was driving very erratically.”
Hughes said he began following the vehicle to try to stop it and watched as the driver pulled the pickup truck into the parking lot of a convenience store.
“I pulled in behind the vehicle and activated my blue lights,” Hughes said. “The driver of the vehicle was attempting to exit the vehicle, at which time it rolled backwards into the front of my patrol vehicle.”
Hughes was able to identify the driver as Heaton, and the officer said he “immediately” detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Heaton’s person.
“I asked Mr. Heaton how many drinks he had tonight and he stated to me that he has had several and that I ‘got him,’” Hughes said. “I asked Mr. Heaton what he meant and he stated to me that he had too many and he knew he was guilty of ‘drinking too much and driving.’”
I advised Mr. Heaton that I would still like to conduct sobriety testing for his benefit and he stated that there was no point,” Hughes added.
Hughes said he performed one field sobriety test on Heaton, who performed poorly.
“At that time Mr. Heaton told me to just ‘take him’ and at one point put his arm out for me to handcuff him,” Hughes said.
Hughes said he placed Heaton under arrest and transported him to the Carter County Detention Center. Once at the jail, Hughes said he asked Heaton to submit to testing to determine his level of intoxication and Heaton refused to submit to any tests.