Impaired New Year’s drivers keep police busy

Local law enforcement netted several motorists for suspected impaired driving during the New Year’s holiday.

The arrests began on New Year’s Eve and continued into the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

Just after midnight on New Year’s Eve, Ruston Police stopped Melba I. Jones-Williams, 61, of Ellenwood, Ga., for an improper U-turn on La. Highway 33. Detecting possible impairment of the driver, a trooper from the Louisiana State Police came to the scene and conducted field sobriety tests. Based on the trooper’s observations, Jones-Williams was arrested and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for a breath test.

Jones refused to provide a proper breath sample and a search warrant was obtained to draw her blood. The blood was later submitted to the state police crime lab for analysis.

Jones was booked for first offense DWI and improper turning. Bail was set at $1,500.

About 11:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve, a Lincoln Parish deputy sheriff found a driver asleep behind the wheel in the roadway on U.S. Highway 167. When the driver awoke, he attempted to drive off but did not realize the car was in park. The deputy was able to remove the keys but Jeff Tatum, 77, of Spearsville, refused to step out of the car and had to be forcibly removed.

Tatum was arrested for simple obstruction of a highway and resisting an officer and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center where a Louisiana state trooper administered field sobriety tests. A breath test indicated Tatum’s blood alcohol content was .123g%. He was additionally charged with first offense DWI. Bail was set at $1,500.

At approximately the same time, another state trooper stopped a car for speeding on U.S. 167 south of Ruston. The driver, Jose E. Cruz, 33, of Hodge, told the trooper he did not have a driver’s license as he was not a U.S. citizen. After administering field sobriety tests, the trooper arrested Cruz and took him to the detention center for a breath test.

The test indicated Cruz’s blood alcohol content was .170g%, over twice the state’s legal limit.

Cruz was booked for first offense DWI, speeding 65 in a 55 zone, improper lane usage, and no driver’s license. Bail was set at $1,750.

At about 2:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a state trooper stopped Rodney E. Cobb, 52, of Dubach, for crossing the center line into the opposing lane several times on La. Highway 821.

After Cobb reportedly performed poorly on field sobriety tests, he was arrested and taken to the detention center. When a breath test was attempted, the testing device indicated Cobb needed medical attention. He was taken to the Northern Louisiana Medical Center when he was checked out and provided a blood sample for analysis.

Cobb was returned to the detention center and booked for first offense DWI and improper lane usage.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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