DUI Tickets

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 24, 2010

Tickets fly, drunk drivers go bye-bye

By Billy Davis

Panola sheriff’s deputies wrote 49 citations, and arrested eight drivers for DUI, following a weekend of roving roadblocks in southeast Panola County, said interim Sheriff Otis Griffin.

The ticket books were busy even after news of the crackdown leaked out of the sheriff’s department.

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The sheriff’s department was responding to residents’ complaints after a teenage driver, returning from Enid Lake, rolled his truck on Bell Road September 12.

The driver, Armando Juares-Reyes, 19, is charged with DUI-second and careless driving after he lost control of the Chevy truck in a sharp, blind curve. He is facing those charges in justice court.

The deputies worked September 18 and 19 on Pope-Water Valley Road and other arterial roads, including Bell, to stop traffic returning from the lake, Griffin said.

Sheriff’s investigator Mark Whitten oversaw the traffic stops, said the sheriff.

In addition to the DUIs, deputies also wrote citations for driving with a suspended license, no driver’s license, no child restraints, expired tags, no proof of insurance, possession of alcohol by a minor, and no seatbelt. Three arrests were made for possession of marijuana.

Chickasaw resident Cindy Shearon said she asked the sheriff’s department to crack down after her husband, Larry, drove into a ditch on Pope-Water Valley to avoid the truck driven by Juares-Reyes.

Other residents asked for a crackdown, too, after the overturned truck marked the third automobile wreck, in the same curve, since June. A one-vehicle wreck on June 23 claimed the life of the driver.  

Juares-Reyes, who was returning from the lake with two passengers, apparently turned right onto Bell Road, where he flipped in the curve about a minute later.

The truck came to rest on its side in the front yard of Jason Moore. Juares-Reyes and a male passenger, who was unharmed, crawled out. The third passenger, a teenage girl, was transported by ambulance from the scene.

Juares-Reyes was caked with mud, from four-wheeler riding, and was bleeding from shards of glass in his arms and back.

The driver told a sheriff’s deputy he drank two beers before getting behind the wheel of the truck.

“That’s the first one and the last one,” replied the deputy. “How many did you have between those two?”

Juares-Reyes registered .18 when he was tested for alcohol consumption, according to a spokesman for justice court. The legal limit is .08 for an adult, .04 for a juvenile.

Cindy Shearon said some residents have complained about the roadblocks, calling it “harassment.”

But she has no regrets about asking the sheriff’s department to crack down on drunk drivers, even if the roadblocks slowed business at Corner Grocery, the convenience store she co-owns with her husband.

The little store is located at Bell and Pope-Water Valley, which was sort of ground zero for the weekend crackdown. The first roadblock, on Saturday, was located a stone’s throw from the store.

“If business was slow because of that, so be it,” she said. “I don’t want to go to a funeral.”