NWGA Scanner | February 12th, 2021
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on February 1st, 2021, at around 11:49 PM, Officer Bethune was stationary in the area of West Walnut Ave and Walnut place, watching the traffic on West Walnut Avenue. The officer observed a black 2011 Audi with Tennessee tag eastbound traveling with the right two tires in the inside lane and the left two tires completely over the two solid yellow lines for the central lane. The driver continued to fail to maintain his lane. Officer Bethune reported, “As [I] caught up to the vehicle, [I] observed it moving within its lane of travel from the left side of the lane and back to the right side of the lane.” The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. When the officer made contact with the driver, later identified as Cristian Ramirez, 23, of Dalton, he immediately detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the vehicle along with a faint odor of marijuana. While the officer advised Cristian of the reason for the stop, he observed a Ziploc baggy with a green leafy substance sitting in plain view between Cristian’s legs on his lap. Officer Bethune reported, “As Cristian spoke to me, [I] observed his eyes were red and glassy, and his speech was slow and slurred. [I] also noted that Cristian appeared to have a difficult time speaking and making sense of his words.” Cristian was extremely nervous as he spoke by his body shaking and his breathing is increased. Officer Mefford then arrived on the scene and assisted with the traffic stop. When asked, Cristian advised officers that he had only had one beer. Cristian was advised several times to relax as he started to cry and say that he did not want to go to jail. While walking to the rear of the vehicle, he appeared to sway and had a difficult time standing straight. Officer Bethune reported, “[I] also noted that as Cristian spoke, [I] could again detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person/ mouth area.” During the majority of the field sobriety tests, the officer had to allow Cristian time to compose himself as he was upset and crying. Cristian stated multiple times that he was just high and not drunk. Cristian showed several clues of impairment. Given all the clues up to this point, Cristian was determined to have been operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Cristian advised he wish to take the state test after being read implied consent. During a search of the vehicle, officers located an open container of “White claw” alcoholic beverage in the floorboard of the driver’s seat, marijuana, a digital scale, and five small boxes containing Schedule 1 controlled substance. At the Whitfield County Jail, Cristian registered a BrAC of 0.193. Cristian was charged with DUI-alcohol 0.08 g or more, open container, two possession of drug-related objects, failure to maintain lane, possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.