NWGA Scanner | December 6th, 2021

Rocky Face man arrested for DUI after driving reckless and causing crash in Dalton

According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on November 22nd, at around 7:05 PM, Officer Hill was dispatched to the intersection of the North Dalton Bypass and Pleasant Grove Drive in reference to a two-vehicle crash. According to a witness and the victim, Nissan Murano was driven by Luis Ortega-Yepez, traveling northbound on the Bypass in the far right lane. The witness stated he observed an older model Chevrolet pickup truck identified to be driven by Joey Edward Hudgins, 49, Rocky Face, pass him at a high rate of speed on his driver’s side. He stated that the pickup truck was weaving all over the roadway and barely missed his vehicle by an inch. The truck then passed the witness and slammed into the victim’s Nissan. According to the report, “The victim stated that he spoke to Hudgins and that he was concerned for his health because he was very boisterous and confused.” Officer Hill reported, “[I] noticed that the male (Hudgins) seemed to be having a difficult time maintaining his balance and walking straight. [I] immediately noticed that Hudgins was very distraught and emotional. His speech was slurred and slow. Due to this, it was hard to understand Hudgins. [I] also detected the strong and distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Hudgins’ person.” Hudgins stated that “His heart was hurting,” so EMS was called. Hudgins advised the officer what had occurred. According to the report, the story contradicted the statements of the witness and victim. According to the report, “Hudgins stated that he did not see the gray Nissan Murano and that the Murano slammed on its brakes. Hudgins stated that he then struck the rear end of the vehicle.” Officer Hill reported, “Hudgins repeatedly asked me if he could just go home. [I] asked Hudgins if he had any alcohol to drink recently. He stated that he did not. While waiting for EMS, [I] observed an open can of Budweiser beer laying in the pickup truck.” While at the Hamilton Medical Center, Officer Hill performed the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test on Hudgins. According to the report, “During the interview, Hudgins admitted to drinking a shot of Kentucky whiskey prior to the crash. Hudgins stated that he only had one shot. Hudgins stated that the beer and vodka in the truck belonged to his brother.” On a portable Alco-Sensor, Hudgins tested positive for alcohol with a BrAC of 0.102 gross grams. Hudgins consented to the state-administered chemical test of his blood. At 10: 30 PM, Hudgins was placed under arrest after being discharged. Hudgins was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, charged with DUI less safe alcohol, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, license not on person.