NWGA Scanner | August 6th, 2021

Drunk driver arrested after driving erratic in the McDonald’s parking lot in south Whitfield County

According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on July 29th, 2021, at approximately 7:22 PM, Deputy Witt and Deputy Fernandez responded to a possible intoxicated driver in the drive-thru of the McDonald’s restaurant located at 142 Carbondale Road. The call came in to 911 from Whitfield County Fire Department Engine 5. Prior to Deputy Witt’s arrival, Whitfield County Dispatch advised that the vehicle had left the scene and then crashed at 136 Tilton Road. Upon arrival, Deputy Witt met with Firefighter Justin Hutcherson and Christopher Dennis Howard, 39 of Dalton, who was lying in a ditch next to his crashed 2011 Ford Fusion. According to the report, “Deputy Witt asked Mr. Howard how much he had to drink, and Mr. Howard replied, “a little”. Deputy Witt and Firefighter Hutcherson assisted Mr. Howard out of the ditch. Mr. Howard was very unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech, and was sweating profusely. Deputy Witt observed the distinct, strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Mr. Howard’s breath.” The deputy did not conduct standardized field sobriety tests due to feeling that Howard could not safely stand on his own on the road. Howard was read Georgia Implied Consent and agreed to submit to a state-administered test of his breath. According to the report, “Deputy Witt spoke with Firefighter Hutcherson. Firefighter Hutcherson stated that Mr. Howard ran over the curb at the McDonalds three times and nearly struck multiple other vehicles. Firefighter Hutcherson stated that he attempted to check on Mr. Howard and was nearly ran over by Mr. Howard’s vehicle. Firefighter Hutcherson stated that Mr. Howard then ran across the round-about at South Dixie Hwy and Carbondale Road, busting his passenger side front tire. Firefighter Hutcherson stated that Mr. Howard then ran his vehicle off in a ditch on Tilton Road and hit a culvert.” Howard was charged with DUI less safe and with failure to maintain lane. According to Whitfield County arrest records, Howard has been arrested several times for DUI.