NWGA Scanner | July 22nd, 2022
According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on July 3rd, 2022, at 4:05 AM, Deputy Fernandez was sitting stationary on Hill Road and Airport Road, waiting for the traffic light to change, when he observed a 2007 Infiniti M35 run the red light. The deputy conducted a traffic stop and made contact with the driver, identified as Eduardo Gonzalez Mendiola, 18, of Dalton. According to the report, “Immediately when the window rolled down, Deputy Fernandez got the odor of alcoholic beverages coming from the vehicle. Mr. Mendiola stated that he thought the light was still orange when he drove past it. Deputy Fernandez then asked him for his license, and he took a deep breath and sighed. Deputy Fernandez asked him if he did not have a license or what the problem was. He then stated that he only had a permit and that it had expired for several months. Deputy Fernandez requested another unit to come to assist. While the other unit arrived, he began asking the passengers Victor Estrada and Juan Peinado if they had valid licenses. Deputy Fernandez found out that they had been drinking alcohol and wouldn’t be able to drive the vehicle regardless. Deputy Fernandez had Mr. Mendiola exit the vehicle, and Deputy Fernandez continued to smell the odor of alcoholic beverages coming from his breath when he spoke. He admitted to drinking one “Cayman Jack margarita.” During field sobriety tests, Mendiola showed several signs of impairment. Mendiola also stated that he had smoked marijuana and that there was a little bit in the vehicle. Mendiola was placed under arrest for DUI and refused the state test. According to the report, “Once at the Whitfield County Jail, Officer Bryson was conducting a more in-depth search of Mr. Mendiola’s person. Officer Bryson asked Mr. Mendiola if he had any drugs or weapons, and he stated no. Officer Bryson continued with the search and found him to have a black pistol tucked behind his underwear, under his testicles, and between his legs. Deputy Fernandez immediately secured the weapon and took it outside to his vehicle. Mendiola was charged with DUI, no license, traffic control device, crossing the guard line with a gun, and possession of a concealed weapon.