Police Make DUI Arrests

February 19, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Officers working selected traffic enforcement over the weekend netted a number of arrests for Driving Under the Influence.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says due to the inclimate weather, Smithville Police were out in force attending to stranded motorists and directing traffic in areas prone to icing.

\"Overnight Saturday, Smithville Police Officers saw 39 year old Melvin Sean West of 115 Sherwood Isle Circle, McMinnville driving his 2002 Chevy Blazer on Highway 56 at a high rate of speed. Upon attempting to stop the vehicle, the driver crossed the centerline numerous times until it was eventually stopped. Officer's contacted the driver, now known as West, and noticed a strong order of alcohol on his breath and also emanating from the vehicle. Officer's also found an open container of beer in the vehicle. Road side sobriety detection tests disclosed that West was intoxicated. A computer check showed that he had been previously arrested for DUI. He was arrested for DUI and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,000 Bond. West's vehicle was seized under the State's Drug & Alcohol Forfeiture Act. \"

Chief Stufano says a second arrest was made for DUI at 5:00 PM when Smithville Police observed 47 year old Christopher Neal Barnes of 101 Trebble Lane in Smithville drive his Nissan truck in an erratic manor in the area of Highway 70 & Highway 56. Officers originally responded to a complaint of a drunk driver leaving the Dairy Queen parking lot. Upon Officer's arrival, they saw Barnes leave the area in a hurried manner and then drive through the red light at the busy intersection. Once the vehicle was stopped Barnes' preliminary field investigation noted that he was intoxicated. A computer check disclosed that this was the 5th Offense of DUI against him. He was also charged with a 4th offense of Driving on a Revoked Driver's License. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $9,000 and his vehicle, a 2000 Nissan Truck, was confiscated under the state's Drug & Alcohol Forfeiture Act.

Meanwhile, charges of DUI 2nd Offense were placed against Mario P. Matias of 586 Colvert Lake Road, Smithville as the contributing cause of a serious accident on Highway 70 on February 7th. The accident caused serious injuries when both vehicles involved left the roadway and flipped. All parties in the Matias vehicle had to be airlifted from the scene due to their extensive injuries. Working in cooperation with both the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, City Officers were at the scene almost 4 hours until the crash was finally cleared. Open containers of beer were strewn about the Matias vehicle. The automobile was totaled after crashing through a guardrail and then traveling over 60 feet down into a drainage culvert.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are actively patrolling our city streets in an effort to curb DUI. Through the use of a government grant Smithville Police are able to additionally supplement traffic enforcement efforts with funding that allows for extra overtime. These grants are available to help cities with extra enforcement at relatively no charge to the citizens. Through the cooperative efforts of concerned citizens, state and federal initiatives and the commitment of local law enforcement we are striving to keep our roadways safe.\"

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