NWGA Scanner | February 25th, 2021
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on February 13th, 2021, at around 1:47 AM, Officer Bethune was stationary in the area of 933 Market Street (Oyster Pub), catching more DUI drivers and watching vehicles. The officer observed a silver 2018 Chevrolet Malibu leaving the parking lot at an extremely high rate of speed and turn north onto Market Street to continue northbound. As the vehicle made the right-hand turn, it turned completely into the southbound lane of travel with all four tires being to cross the double yellow line. The vehicle then continued northbound for a short distance before correcting itself back into the northbound lane of travel. While attracting to catch up with the vehicle, the vehicle accelerates through the intersection at Walnut Avenue before the light turned green. Officer Bethune reported, “At this point, [I] believed that the vehicle might have been trying to evade me as [I] was attempting to catch up with it due to it appearing to be in a hurry to get through the traffic light as [I] got closer.” The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Due to the erratic driving and the location the driver was coming from, the officer suspected that the driver might have been impaired and requested another unit assist. Sergeant Zimmerman, who was close by, arrived at the traffic stop to assist. Officer Bethune made contact with the driver, later identified as Zachary Washington, 25 of Cartersville, and introduced himself as a Dalton Police Officer and advised him of the reason for the stop. As the officer began to speak with Zachary, he had his body turned towards the officer, making it difficult for him to his passenger, later identified as Coriea Washington. The officer immediately observed a firearm (handgun) sitting in his lap. Coriea’s hands were in close proximity to the firearm. The officer immediately backed up away from the vehicle, removed his department-issued firearm from my duty holster, keeping my firearm pointed towards the ground in a “low and ready” position, never pointing his firearm at either subject and began issuing loud verbal commands for both occupants Sergeant Zimmerman advised dispatch of the situation and also drew his department-issued firearm from his duty holster and held it at a “low and ready” position. Both occupants complied with commands and detained until everything was cleared. Officer Bethune reported, “While [I] was speaking to Zachary previously, [I] noticed that his eyes were red and glassy, his speech was slow and slurred, and [I] detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person/mouth area. [I] then asked Zachary how much he has had to drink, at which Zachary stated that he only had a few drinks.” Zachary showed several clues during field sobriety testing and was determined by the officer to have been operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Zachary was placed under arrest for DUI. While searching Zachery incident to arrest, he started becoming more and more upset, stating that the officer was arresting him to “Meet a quota” and that he could not attend his aunt’s funeral. Zachary started banging his head on the officer’s partition inside the patrol car. Coriea was also determined to be impaired and would not be able to take the vehicle. Due to a separate incident occurring at the Oyster Pub involving threats of using a firearm by an unrelated subject, Coriea agreed to let officers take the 11 bullets of ammunition place into property and evidence to destroy. At the Whitfield County Jail, Zachary agreed to take the state-administered chemical test of his breath using the intox-9000. Zachary registered a 0.192 BrAC Zachary was charged with DUI alcohol 0.08 g or more, failure to maintain lane, and traffic signal violation.