NWGA Scanner | August 6th, 2021
According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, on July 30th, 2021, at around 5:52 PM, Officer Sangphim responded to 2795 Old Summerville Road in reference to an unconscious male behind the wheel of a vehicle. Dispatch advised that the complainant stated that a man had stopped in front of her house and was passed out in his vehicle and appeared to be unconscious. The driver was later identified as Theodore Russell Whittington, 54, of Rome, who stated he went by the name of Rusty. Officer Sangphim reported, “[I] observed Rusty speaking with Fire Dept. personnel. He could barely keep his eyes open and nodded off / lost consciousness while speaking to Fire personnel. Rusty’s pupils were pinpoint. When Rusty would nod off, his eyes would roll into the back of his head, his eyelids would partially close, and his head would fall back onto his shoulders. When Rusty would speak, he spoke in a slow and lethargic manner and then would then nod off again.” While speaking with Rusty, the officer could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside his vehicle. When the officer stepped around to the driver’s side, he could then see in plain view pieces of marijuana in his floorboard, commonly referred to as “shake”. Officer Sangphim reported, “When Rusty stepped from his vehicle he was unsteady on his feet (had already almost fallen when speaking with Fire Dept. personnel, Fire had him sit back down), [I] told him to place his hands on the vehicle to steady himself.” Rusty admitted that he did use marijuana. The officer asked Rusty when the last time he smoked marijuana, and he stated probably about 5:00 PM less than an hour prior. Officer Sangphim reported, “Based on my observations, and previous experience/training on the signs of drugs use it is my opinion that Rusty was under the influence of an unknown drug and marijuana. Given Rusty’s inability to stay awake, his unsteadiness on his feet, and slow, lethargic speech, [I] did not feel it was safe for Rusty to attempt Roadside Evaluations at that time. It was my fear that Rusty would fall and injure himself if he attempted to perform Roadside Evaluation.” While the officer was reading Rusty Georgia’s Implied Consent Notice for blood, Rusty did not seem to understand and nodded off several times while the officer was speaking to him. The officer woke Rusty up and explained to him it was important he stay awake and listen to what he was reading to him. Rusty then refused the state test. Rusty was then transported to the Floyd County Jail, where he was charged with DUI driving under the influence of drugs, failure to maintain lane, and possession of marijuana.