Police arrested a man after he was seen slumped over the steering wheel of his idling car, stopped on top of a gravesite in the Hoquiam cemetery earlier this week.
Police Chief Jeff Myers said in a press release that it was reported around 7:20 Wednesday evening. A 911 caller said the driver appeared unconscious and was not responding to banging on the door and window at Sunset Memorial Park.
The first officer on scene woke the driver who was identified as a 29-year old Humptulips man; He didn’t know where he was or how he had driven into the cemetery. The officer also noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, including a syringe.
He refused treatment, but failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for being in physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. DUI charges require the officer see the offense. The investigation indicated the driver was using heroin and had passed out behind the wheel.
A search warrant for a legal blood test was secured from the Hoquiam Municipal Court. The blood test was administered and the driver was later booked into the Hoquiam City Jail.
The vehicle was impounded and detectives are currently applying for a search warrant to recover the paraphernalia and any remaining drugs.
The city Public Works crew will check the cemetery today for any damage to the graves or grounds.
Officers continue to find more and more drivers who are under the influence of drugs while operating a motor vehicle. However, for officers on patrol these drivers are much more difficult to detect than someone who is intoxicated on alcohol. We suspect many of these drivers go on undetected until a collision or incident such as this occurs.
As another example, in April a driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated after he injected heroin while stopped at a red light on Sumner Ave at 23rd Street. The driver overdosed with his young daughter in the backseat and was arrested for driving under the influence.
Myers added, “These incidents highlight the opioid crisis and should be a serious safety concern to all citizens on the road.”