WESTERVILLE – Westerville police arrested a man over the weekend who was found passed out in a pickup truck on South State Street.
Officers found the truck stopped in the turn lane of S. State St. near Parkview Ave. around 9:30pm on Saturday, June 11. They were sent to the area to investigate a 911 caller’s report that a truck was ‘all over the road’ and nearly hit them.
“The brake lights were illuminated and upon activating my emergency overhead lights and spot light on the truck, I didn’t observe any reaction from the driver. As I approached the driver’s side of the truck, I immediately observed a white male inside the driver’s seat bobbing his head up and down. This was consistent with someone who appeared to be falling asleep behind the wheel,” the responding officer wrote in a report. “The driver did not react to my presence or my flashlight in his face. I wanted to ensure there wasn’t a medical emergency occurring so I opened the driver’s side door and I immediately could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside.”
Officers managed to get the 37-year-old driver up. They noted he appeared uneasy while walking.
When asked, the man told police there was a handgun in the center console of the truck. According to the police report, the driver said he was coming back from a bar. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with having the gun, since he wasn’t threatening anyone with it.
State law prohibits anyone from knowingly carrying a firearm in a vehicle after drinking.
The driver was arrested after failing field sobriety tests, charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.. Police said he later tested at a .278 BAC with a breathalyzer. He appeared in court Monday and was released on his own recognizance.