A witness advised a Gainesville Police Department officer that a vehicle struck the rear end of a parked truck. The witness stated the front right of the vehicle was damaged, had a flat tire, and that a Caucasian female was the driver. A second witness advised that he saw the same vehicle with heavy damage park in the parking lot, the defendant exit the driver’s seat, and another female exit the passenger’s side. The witness said the defendant and the passenger walked away from the area without leaving information on the damaged vehicle.
Multiple officers searched for the defendant and one officer located her behind a local bar, vomiting and with another female. The officer escorted her back to the vehicle but she could barely stand. The officer had to catch her as she stumbled forward so that she would not fall down. The officer noted that the driver had a very strong odor of alcohol coming from her breath, slurred speech, and was difficult to understand. The second witness positively identified her as the driver.
The defendant completed field sobriety exercises. During the horizontal gaze nystagmus exercise, the driver lacked smooth pursuit, onset prior to 45 degrees, and had a distinct nystagmus at maximum deviation. During the walk and turn, the defendant could not maintain the starting position, failed to touch heel to toe on every step, turned improperly, took the wrong number of steps, and used her arms for balance. The defendant had to put her foot down for balance on the one leg stand. The defendant did not perform satisfactorily on any of the exercises. She was unable to stop vomiting and was transported to the hospital. Following implied consent, the defendant was offered the opportunity to have a blood alcohol test rather than a breath test due to her condition. The defendant refused a blood test.
The defendant retained Meldon Law and we were able to make contact with two employees of the bar where the defendant was found, who did not witness the accident but were positive that the defendant was not driving. We were also able to make contact with the alleged passenger, who freely admitted that she was the driver. After speaking with the officers in this case, the State dropped all charges against our client.