After Erratic Chase, Trucker Tells Police He Took 'Some Kind of Drug' Purchased at a Gas Stationby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/17/2017
After leading several Ohio police agencies on a 30-mile chase Wednesday night, a Michigan truck driver has been charged with impaired driving and several other offenses. Officers say they found the driver barely coherent and he told them he had taken “some kind of drug he purchased at a gas station.”
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The incident occurred Wednesday evening when 63-year-old Barry Demings of Michigan was driving a semi-truck on Interstate 270 near Hilliard, Ohio. The truck belongs to Demings’ employer, Ross Trans and Services, and he was on a delivery job carrying 43,000 gallons of beverage syrup. Around 7:30 p.m., Hilliard police began received calls about a semi-truck driving erratically near the Tuttle Crossing Boulevard exit. Patrol cars soon found the semi dangerously weaving from lane to lane at highway speeds and they ordered the driver to pull over. However, Demings did not comply.
Officers continued to follow the semi watching it swerve all over the road and nearly hitting the median several times. The driving was so erratic that they initially suspected the driver might have a medical problem and their immediate concern was his safety. But as the chase continued for over an hour, the situation escalated and more than a dozen units from Columbus police and other agencies joined in the pursuit. Several units rode ahead of the semi and cleared the interstate ahead, while several more patrol cars rode alongside and behind. (Watch video below)
The chase continued for nearly 30 miles until police used stop sticks to flatten the front two tires on the tractor and some tires on the trailer. However, the weight of the truck made it difficult to stop and police say the driver was able to continue on despite the flat tires. "He was carrying quite a bit of weight in the truck so the stop sticks are actually very good at deflating the tires, but that doesn't necessarily make the vehicle stop," explains Hilliard Police Chief Robert Fisher. Finally the semi-truck gave in and it came to a complete stop south of the I-270 Whitehall-Reynoldsburg exit.
Police say that when they approached Demings still behind the wheel, it was obvious he was in no shape to drive but not because of a medical condition. He had urinated himself, was sweating profusely and was barely coherent nodding in and of consciousness. According to the police report, Demings admitted to officers that he had taken “some kind of drug that he purchased at a gas station." Police obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample because Demings was unable to approve or refuse the test himself.
The blood sample was taken at the hospital and although results from the toxicology report have not been released, on Thursday Hilliard police charged Demings with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, lane violations and failure to comply.