WALDPORT — An Oregon State Trooper patrolling Highway 34 on New Year’s Eve spotted an abandoned car facing the wrong way in the middle of the westbound lane, but it was the half-empty pint of Fireball whiskey “in plain view in the passenger seat” that spurred further investigation.
“The owner admitted to recently driving the vehicle and leaving it on the highway,” reported Trooper David Wertz, who went to the address of the car’s registered owner. “The driver admitted to drinking alcohol prior to driving but insisted he had no alcohol to drink since leaving his vehicle.”
After consenting to a field sobriety test, the driver reportedly “performed poorly” and was arrested and taken to Lincoln County Jail, where he consented to a breath test, rendering a result of .12 percent blood alcohol content.
Driver Michael Paul Walter, 56, of Depoe Bay, was lodged in in the Lincoln County Jail on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving. His vehicle was declared abandoned and towed from the scene.
According to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, motorists will fail a DUII field test if their blood alcohol reading is 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers under 21 years old, any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream constitutes a failure of the sobriety test. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04 percent.