NWGA Scanner | March 30th, 2021

Tennessee man charged with DUI after 911 calls from concerned motorists on I-75 in Whitfield County

According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on March 20th, 2021, at around 4:25 PM, Whitfield County detective responded to Interstate 75 northbound in reference to BOLO regarding a vehicle failing to maintain lane. 911 advised that the vehicle was a white in color Ford pickup truck with a Tennessee license plate. A few moments after entering the interstate northbound, the detective noticed a white in color Ford F-150 displaying a Tennessee Tag. Another detective witnessed this vehicle driving erratically—the detective who was behind the vehicle and witnessed the vehicle failing to maintain a lane. The vehicle continued to drive all over the roadway swaying to either side of the middle lane of travel. The detective initiated a traffic stop on the right emergency shoulder inside Catoosa County just before the weigh station. The detective made contact with the driver, identified as John Robert Hawco, 64, of Sparta, Tennessee. The deputy explained to John that multiple people had called 911 regarding his vehicle being all over the roadway. John apologized and advised that he was simply trying to return home. The deputy immediately detected the odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle. The deputy asked John if he had been drinking, and John simply stated again that he was attempting to return home. The detective contacted Lieutenant O’Mahony and asked for his assistance with the traffic stop. While awaiting assistance, the detective who originally witnesses the driving contacted the detective who had the vehicle stopped. The detective advised that he was extremely fearful that the driver of this vehicle would strike another, potentially causing a fatal DUI crash. Deputy Halpin and Deputy Bryson arrived to assist with the traffic stop and made contact with John. John was asked to exit the vehicle and asked if he had been drinking, to which John denied. John immediately refused any and all testing stating that it was wrong to accuse him of drinking. Whitfield County 911 advised that John’s Tennessee driver’s license returned revoked for DUI. While outside the vehicle, the detective detected an odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from John’s breath and noticed that he was also very unsteady on his feet. His speech was also reported as being slurred. John was transported to the Whitfield County Jail charged with DUI, failure to maintain single lane, and driving while license is revoked.