Pills prove too relaxing for driving

Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – Sometimes there is such a thing as too relaxed, as a 38-year-old resident recently found out.

The man was driving his silver Chevrolet Venture north on Prospect about 5 p.m. June 22 when an officer saw him run a stop sign at Caryn, then drive up over the curb while turning east onto Greenfield Road.

After stopping the van and beginning to approach it, the officer realized it was in reverse. He asked the man to shift it into park, but received a blank stare and no response. The officer then reached in, put the van in park, took the keys out of the ignition and put them on the roof.

When asked where he was coming from, the man’s response was slow and slurred, and he could not answer the question.

Police said a bottle containing 30 pills of Soma, a muscle relaxant, was visible in the vehicle. The prescription had been filled earlier in the day for 90 pills.

The man told the officer he had had nothing to drink, but that he did take one of the prescription pills about eight hours earlier for back pain.

A second officer noticed the man’s slurred speech and slow movements. He asked the man to step out of the van and take some field sobriety tests, but, while being patted.

He could not follow the tip of the officer’s fingers with his eyes or lift his leg six inches off the ground, nearly falling over when asked to keep his leg pointed outward while counting to 30.

A preliminary breath test detected no alcohol present in his blood, but the man then was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and the van was towed.

Two vials of his blood were drawn about 8 p.m. at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center.