‘Hammered’ Aspen driver four times over limit
A 67-year-old Aspen man arrested for drunken driving Wednesday morning was nearly four times over the legal driving limit when he was tested an hour later, police said.
“He was hammered,” said Aspen police Officer Roderick O’Connor, who tracked down the driver.
Jerry Pearce first came to the attention of police when a driver heading into Aspen called dispatchers at about 10:10 a.m. to report a gray Audi SUV weaving and driving erratically near the Aspen Business Center, O’Connor said. O’Connor was on Main Street when he heard the report, headed out of town and encountered Pearce near the Castle Creek Bridge, he said.
O’Connor said he recognized the car’s license plate from the dispatcher’s report but even without that would have noticed something unusual.
“He had a line of cars behind him,” the officer said. “He was going slower than the (25 mph) speed limit.”
O’Connor estimated there were about 15 cars behind Pearce’s Audi.
O’Connor had to turn around and lost the SUV because of the amount of traffic, though the person who initially reported Pearce’s driving told dispatchers he turned left on Eighth Street. Other officers and a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy began searching the area, and O’Connor said he found the car outside a home on West Francis Street about 10 minutes later.
The officer knocked on the door of the home and Pearce answered, O’Connor said.
“He seemed like something was wrong,” O’Connor said. “I asked him, ‘Are you OK?’”
O’Connor said he caught the odor of alcohol and asked if Pearce had just returned home. Pearce said he had just come back from the Aspen Business Center, but hadn’t had anything to drink since he had returned. O’Connor said Pearce was unstable on his feet, had bloodshot, watery eyes and spoke thickly.
Pearce declined to take roadside sobriety tests, and O’Connor placed him under arrest. He blew into a sobriety device about 11:30 a.m. at the Pitkin County Jail that found his blood-alcohol level was 0.317, nearly four times the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
It was Pearce’s first DUI arrest, O’Connor said.
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