NWGA Scanner | February 15th, 2022
According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on February 1st, 2022, Deputy Warren was traveling southbound on Cleveland highway. According to the report, “He observed a passenger car turning left from Maresca Dr. onto Cleveland Highway and traveling southbound in the left lane. Deputy Warren observed the vehicle failed to maintain the lane multiple times. Deputy Warren saw the vehicle driving with the left tires in the median straddling the yellow line. Deputy Warren continued behind the vehicle observing driving and noticed that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. Deputy Warren paced the vehicle at 63 mph within a 45 zone. Deputy Warren initiated a traffic stop with blue emergency lights. The vehicle continued without stopping, drifted into the right lane, jerked back, and then made an improper lane change onto the right lane. Further ahead of the vehicle, a patrol car was parked in the right lane with emergency lights on. Deputy Warren saw that this vehicle was headed straight for the patrol car, and it didn’t appear that the driver would stop the vehicle. Deputy Warren activated his sirens to alert the other emergency vehicle and the driver. The driver quickly stopped in the roadway right behind the other patrol car. Deputy Warren made contact with the occupants. There were three people in the car.” Deputy Warren spoke with the driver, identified as Gary Lee Epperson, 54, Dalton, and advised him of the reason for the stop. Epperson stated that “they were just trying to go get some (cigarettes) from the store.” According to the report, “Deputy Warren noticed that the driver had left the vehicle still in drive and asked him to put it in the park position. Deputy Warren could smell an alcoholic beverage emitting a strong odor from the vehicle. Deputy Warren also noticed that the driver had constricted pupils. Deputy Warren could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Mr. Epperson’s breath. Deputy Warren asked him if he had (consumed) alcoholic beverages. Mr. Epperson said, “No, [I] probably had some way earlier… probably a Michelob.” Mr. Epperson stated he was nowhere near impaired or wouldn’t be driving.” During field sobriety testing, Epperson showed several signs of impairment and was placed under arrest for DUI. Deputy Spence spoke to the passengers, and they were all unable to drive as well. Epperson was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, where he showed a BrAC of .134. Epperson was charged with failing to maintain lane, speeding, and DUI, Alcohol .08 or more.