GARFIELD COUNTY — A driver who overturned a semitrailer full of apples on state Route 20 at milepost 11 in Garfield County Sunday was arrested following an impairment investigation that led to the discovery of both drugs and paraphernalia.
When he arrived at the accident scene, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eldon Godfrey said, another UHP trooper, Garfield County Ambulance and a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy were already there. Paragonah Fire and Panguitch Fire assisted with the accident, as well.
The driver of the overturned semi was in the back of the ambulance already, Godfrey said. When he went to hand the man a driver’s statement to fill out regarding the accident, he said, he noticed a smell he thought could have been “burnt marijuana” but was unsure at first.
“It’s a little difficult to distinguish sometimes between that and some of the unfiltered tobacco cigarettes,” Godfrey said, “and so I wasn’t real sure at that point whether it was or it wasn’t. But I did notice some indicators in his eyes, as well, that I thought maybe a field test would be something that we would need to do.”
A field sobriety test was conducted and revealed some signs of intoxication, Godfrey said in an interview, but there was nothing major that made it obvious the driver was actively high except the odor.
In a probable cause statement filed by Godfrey in support of the driver’s subsequent arrest, the trooper stated the man failed several of the field exams given to him. He exhibited facial tremors and had dilated pupils, according to the report, and his eyes showed a lack of convergence – meaning he could not cross them.
As the investigation continued into the accident, Godfrey said, prescription anxiety medications were found in the truck’s cab that were not prescribed to the driver, along with a marijuana pipe.
The driver, Wiley Jones, 51, of Pasco, Washington, was arrested and charged with one class C misdemeanor for unsafe lane change; and four class B misdemeanors for possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and driving under the influence, metabolite.
A DUI metabolite means there is the presence of something that is intoxicating breaking down in the system other than alcohol, Godfrey said.
“As far as what he’s been charged with,” he said, “it was a metabolite DUI – not a regular DUI.”
“(It’s) not alcohol in the system, and it’s not necessarily (a drug) currently active in the system, but there is something that is there that shouldn’t be,” Godfrey added.
The overturned, eastbound truck impacted traffic for the duration of the day Sunday, beginning at about 8 a.m., Godfrey said. In the area where the semi overturned, he said, there is a single lane for eastward travelers and a double lane for those heading west – one for climbing, one for regular traffic.
“The truck was partially blocking the eastbound lane,” he said, “and, so, we diverted traffic into the climbing lane and the first westbound lane.”
Traffic flow remained fairly smooth throughout the day, Godfrey said, but the entire eastbound lane was closed as the boxes and boxes of apples were unloaded by hand before tow operators could pull the truck upright.
The operation was still underway after Godfrey returned from transporting and booking Jones into the Iron County Jail in Cedar City, he said, and it went on for hours after he left the scene.
Jones was booked into the Iron County Jail Sunday at 2:09 p.m. and was still incarcerated there as of 2 p.m. Wednesday. Bail is set at $3,260, bondable.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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