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Campus police handles a case of driving while under the influence and makes an arrest

Taylor Reisdorf

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March 25, 2020

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The following information was obtained from UW-Eau Claire Police Department records.

At 6:10 p.m. on March 17, a Field Training Officer (FTO) — accompanied by a trainee — was parked in the Haas Fine Arts loading zone. They saw a white Mercedes car heading eastbound on the 100th block of Water Street.

The officer observed that the vehicle had a generic dealership advertisement where the front license plate should have been. The vehicle didn’t have proper registration displayed on the front of the vehicle.

After running a records check on the vehicle’s rear registration, it was determined that the vehicle’s registration expired in Jan. 2018. The officer pulled out of the lot and followed the vehicle.

There were three vehicles in front of the squad car, the one in question was in the middle. The FTO and trainee had their windows rolled down slightly, and both could smell an odor of marijuana as they followed behind the vehicles.

The officers noticed the sunroof of the Mercedes was open, and couldn’t determine if any of the other vehicles had open windows. There were no pedestrians around at the time.

The officers followed the vehicle to E. Tyler Avenue, and turned on their emergency lights as the vehicle pulled into a driveway on this street. They stopped behind the vehicle, and the male driver of the Mercedes exited the car. The FTO ordered the subject to get back inside the car, and he did. There were two other passengers in the vehicle who didn’t exit.

The trainee made contact with the driver and identified him. The front passenger of the Mercedes rolled his window partway down, and the FTO noticed a mild odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

The FTO saw the driver move his right arm near the car’s center console, and then heard the console close. He ordered them to stop digging around in the vehicle.

Then the FTO had the driver exit the vehicle. While speaking with the subject, the FTO could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the subject’s person. The FTO again asked what was in the center console. The subject said he placed spray in it, but also that there was marijuana in the console.

The FTO asked if the subject had been smoking and driving, and the subject denied doing so. The FTO then explained he could smell marijuana while they were driving behind him. The subject said he and the two passengers had smoked a joint about an hour prior to the contact.

The FTO performed a pat down of the driver’s person, and no items of interest were found. He then had the driver perform standardized field sobriety tests.

The subject’s eyes tracked properly and his pupils were equal in size. The FTO noticed a lack of smooth pursuit in both of the driver’s eyes, and could smell the odor of intoxicating beverages coming from the driver’s breath during the test.

The subject successfully completed the walk and turn test and the one leg stand. The FTO then asked how much alcohol the driver had consumed. He said he had one 16 ounce can of beer, as well as one mixed drink, at the Wigwam at around 2 p.m.

The FTO arrested the driver for operating a motor vehicle with a restricted controlled substance. The trainee then performed a search of the Mercedes. She found a bag of marijuana— containing 4.2 ounces — and a glass pipe in the center console of the vehicle. The two passengers were told they were free to leave.

The FTO issued the driver a uniform traffic citation and brought him to jail with a $937.50 bond. He also issued a written warning for non-registration, failure to display vehicle license plates and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.