NWGA Scanner | December 8th, 2021
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on November 6th, 2021, at approximately 2:05 AM, Officer Mullinax was patrolling the area of West Walnut Avenue when Sgt. Bowen advised via the radio that he observed a grey Dodge Ram truck driving recklessly near the area of South Hamilton Street and West Morris Street. Sgt. Bowen lost visual, but shortly after, Officer Mullinax observed the truck turning westbound onto Walnut Avenue. Officer Mullinax reported, [I] could tell that the truck was driving at a speed too fast to make the turn safely. As the truck made the turn, [I] could hear it accelerate, and the tires began squealing. The truck also entered the oncoming turn lane on Walnut Avenue. The truck continued to accelerate, driving westbound. Based on my training and experience, [I] estimated the truck was doing approximately 90 mph at this point. [I] also observed the truck cross into the center turn lane multiple times.” As the officer attempted to stop the truck, he observed the truck accelerate again, then brake for the curves. After making an erratic lane change, the truck then braked very abruptly and came to a stop just east of Morton Drive. The officer approached and made contact with the driver, identified as Manuel Soto Ortuno, 27, of Dalton. When asked why he was driving so very recklessly, he said he was upset over his girlfriend. Officer Mullinax reported, “[I] could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person. [I] also observed his eyes were very glassy, and his speech was slurred. [I] asked Manuel how much he had to drink. He said he drank two 320z beers.”
Sgt. Bowen then administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. He got 6 out of 6 clues for impairment. According to the report, Manuel would not cooperate with any further tests. He then refused the state testing. In the pouch on the driver’s side door, officers located a “Twisted iced tea,” an alcoholic beverage, in a brown paper bag. Manuel was transported to the Whitfield County Jail. While being booked into the Jail, Manuel fell onto the floor and started having a seizure. After requesting EMS, Manuel’s condition began to worsen. He went completely unresponsive for a few minutes. While in the ambulance, Manuel began to get physically aggressive with EMS and broke some of the restraints. According to the report, During the incident at the jail, one of the jailers located a folded up one dollar bill in Manuel’s wallet, which contained meth. On November 29th, 2021, Manuel was booked into the Whitfield County Jail, charged with possession of methamphetamine, DUI-less safe, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, failure to obey traffic lights, open container, too fast for conditions, and laying drag.