DUI a prescription for jail time
By Debby Schamber
Driving under the influence of prescription medications has become a more common occurrence in Orange. “There has been an increase of DUI versus DWI because of an increase of people being on prescription medication,” said Sgt. L.L. Claybar of the Orange Police Department.
According to reports, shortly after 9: 30 a.m. Nov. 3, an officer was patrolling MacArthur Drive when he noticed a gold-colored vehicle pulling out of a parking lot and across several lanes of traffic. Two vehicles slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting it.
The officer pulled over Billie Hoyle, 27, of Orange. He noticed she had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and an unsteady balance. The officer received permission from the woman to search her vehicle. He found a bottle containing a pill that he believed to be Hydrocodone, four Alprazolam, and five Carisoprodol. In the center console of the vehicle, he also found a bottle containing what he believed to be marijuana.
Hoyle was transported to the Orange County Jail. After an interview in the intoxilizer room, she was charged with possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated, possession of a dangerous drug (Carisoprodol), and possession of marijuana.
“The label on the prescription bottle says to not operate machinery or drive, but some people continue to do it,” said Detective Eric Mitchell.
About 12 hours later officers were once again responding to a call about an intoxicated driver. However, this time the driver was pulled over to the side of the road on Interstate 10. According to reports, William Bensler, 20, had pulled over to fix his vehicle’s tire. The tire was missing, and the vehicle was resting on the rim.
When the officer arrived, he saw Bensler get out of his running vehicle and walk to the back of it. The officer also noticed Bensler staggering. Bensler was also found to have slurred speech.
After performing sobriety tests, the officer determined Bensler to be intoxicated by an unknown substance and he was placed under arrest. While conducting an inventory of the vehicle the officer found what he believed to be marijuana under the seat and on top of a Frisbee.
According to reports, about 11 p.m. Sunday, Phillip Price, 17, was at the intersection of 6th and Burton streets when he failed to signal. An officer conducted a traffic stop and noticed Price’s speech to be slurred and slow. He was also reportedly unsteady on his feet and staggered when he walked.
The officer conducted a field sobriety test and determined Price was under the influence of an undetermined substance.
“Some may be more medicinal than drunkenness, but we are still seeing a fair amount of those that are intoxicated by alcohol,” Claybar said.
According to reports about 1 a.m. Sunday, Kevin Christian Stark, 20, reportedly stopped at the intersection of 7th Street and Green Avenue for a non-existent traffic light. In addition, he was facing south in the northbound lane. When pulled over Stark reportedly admitted to drinking alcohol. Stark was unable to perform a field sobriety test and was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Most people think that if a doctor prescribes it and doesn’t discuss driving it must be okay to take their pills and drive? No. It’s a prescription for a DUI arrest. I suffer from back pain and visited an Orthopedic who would give the same old home exercises, anti-inflammatories, and pain medications. I commented to him that he needn’t worry about the pain meds as I have to drive. The Doctor looked at me with a puzzled expression and commented “Oh, I never thought of that?” Well, he ought to. Police all over the country and especially here in Georgia (”what else stupid and over the top can we do to get tough on the unimpaired DUI state-oh yeah we’ve already legislated forced blood draws-can you say vampire cops!”) are arresting and jailing the sick and infirm. They frequently count pills found in cars during DUI investigations. If they find your husband’s pill bottle, then you must be a junkie! Police innocuously will ask are taking any prescription medication? If you answer, you’re under arrest. Workers’ Comp doctor says your ready for work? Not unless you’re driving me, Doc. Be afraid. Be very afraid.