NWGA Scanner | January 4th, 2022
According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2021, at around 5: 14 AM, while on routine patrol, Lt. Gibson was traveling southbound on GA-3 (North Bypass), and as he began to turn right onto GA Highway 52 (Walnut Avenue) to travel westbound, he observed a white Hummer vehicle in the right lane to go straight across Hwy 52. According to the report, “Lt. Gibson’s attention was drawn to the vehicle because its right tires were on top of the white line as it waited for the traffic signal to turn green. Lt. Gibson also noticed that the vehicle was approximately one car length away from the stop bar.” The deputy stopped the vehicle after noticing the vehicle driving all over the roadway and failing to maintain a lane. Lt. Gibson approached the driver’s side, and made contact with the driver, later identified as Cristal Violeta Ortiz, 42, of Dalton. According to the report, “Lt. Gibson explained the reason for the stop, and Mrs. Ortiz advised that she and her husband, Mr. Ortiz-Leon, were coming from a friend’s house after celebrating Christmas. Lt. Gibson observed that Mrs. Ortiz’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, and he asked Mrs. Ortiz if she had consumed any alcoholic beverages. Mrs. Ortiz stated that she had not consumed any. While Lt. Gibson spoke with Mrs. Ortiz, he noticed that she had put a piece of gum in her mouth prior to getting out of the vehicle.” During field sobriety tests, Mrs. Ortiz showed several signs of alcohol impairment. Lt. Gibson had to stop the test, fearing her falling over. According to the report, “Mrs. Ortiz then stated she had one beer around 10:00 PM, approximately seven hours prior to the traffic stop. Lt. Gibson advised Mrs. Ortiz if this was true, then the alcohol from the beer would have metabolized through her body, and he should not be observing indicators of impairment. Mrs. Ortiz then stated she had “three-ish” the previous evening. Lt. Gibson advised Mrs. Ortiz that there still should be no reason he was observing the indicators of impairment, and he asked Mrs. Ortiz if she was willing to give a breath sample into an Alco-Sensor, a preliminary breath test. Mrs. Ortiz stated she did not wish to. Lt. Gibson then advised Mrs. Ortiz that due to the driving manifestations that he had observed, the validated clues that he had observed during Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, and Mrs. Ortiz admitting to having been drinking prior to the traffic stop, Lt. Gibson was placing her under arrest for DUI driving under the influence of alcohol.” Lt. Gibson then located four small drinking glasses, commonly known as shot glasses, from Mrs. Ortiz’s pocket. Mrs. Ortiz was read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice for Suspects Age 21 and Older, and she agreed to the test. The passenger Mr. Ortiz-Leon was not able to operate the vehicle due to the lack of a driver’s license as well as his level of intoxication. Mrs. Ortiz was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, where she showed a BAC of .161. Mrs. Ortiz advised Lt. Gibson that she had been drinking tequila, not beer, and she was aware that tequila is stronger than beer. Mrs. Ortiz stated she drank too much tequila. Mrs. Ortiz was charged with failure to maintain lane and DUI – Alcohol 0.08 grams or more.