Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A teen from Richton Park was charged with a DUI after police were dispatched on March 4, 2020, to investigate a report of a subject who had driven off the roadway and was asleep behind the wheel, according to police. According to the complainant, the driver kept waking up and falling back asleep, according to police.
Upon arrival at the reported scene at Westwood Drive and Norwood Boulevard, an officer found a gray Toyota Avalon stopped along the Northeast curb on Westwood Drive in the curve of the roadway just West of Norwood Boulevard. The car was stopped on top of the curb facing southeast and had apparently driven off the roadway while traveling east on Westwood Drive, according to police. Three tires were on the grass easement while the passenger rear tire was on the roadway, according to police.
The officer discovered that the Toyota was still running with the key in the ignition and the vehicle gear shifter in the “Drive” position, according to police.
The driver and lone occupant of the vehicle was asleep in the driver’s seat, according to police. He was later identified as Lawrence C. Whiters, 19, 5312 Imperial Dr., Richton Park.
The responding officer discovered that the doors of the vehicle were locked, so he knocked on the window in an attempt to wake Mr. Whiters, according to police. This caused Mr. Whiters to briefly awaken and move around, according to the police. He grabbed his shirt and face. However, it did not appear as if he was fully conscious at the time, according to police.
The officer gave repeated instructions to Mr. Whiters to unlock the driver’s door or lower the driver’s window, but Mr. Whiters kept hitting the lock button instead, according to police.
Eventually, Mr. Whiters was able to lower the driver’s window, according to police. The officer asked Mr. Whiters if he was okay and if he knew where he was. Mr. Whiters replied that he was okay and stated that he was “down the street from the police station,” according to police. The officer asked him why he had driven off the roadway. Mr. Whiters allegedly replied with “a very slurred and confusing statement,” allegedly saying something to the effect, “Yeah, I’m pulling up to the station of the police department,” according to the report.
During this time, the responding officer detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the interior of the vehicle through the open window, according to police. Plus, the car was still in “Drive,” according to police. That, along with the odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the vehicle led the officer to believe that this created a dangerous situation, according to police.
Therefore, the officer reached inside the vehicle, unlocked and opened the driver’s door, turning off the engine at the ignition, according to police.
At the same time, Mr. Whiters allegedly put on his seatbelt then reached for the ignition and tried to restart the car which would not turn over as the vehicle was still in “Drive,” according to police.
The officer spoke further with Mr. Whiters who said that he was at a relative’s home in Park Forest near the police department, according to police. The officer asked for his driver’s license but Mr. Whiters allegedly reached into his pocket and retrieved $20 cash and tried to hand the cash to the officer while stating, “Twin nation,” according to police. The officer asked several more times for his driver’s license or identification but Mr. Whiters allegedly kept trying to hand the officer the money instead as well as loose change from one of his pockets, according to police.
When asked for his name, Mr. Whiters provided and spell his last name correctly but he allegedly misspelled his first name as “Lawern,” before correcting himself, according to police. When the officer asked him several times for his date of birth and home address, Mr. Whiters only repeated “C,” his middle initial, according to police. When asked if he had been drinking alcohol or smoking or ingesting narcotics, Mr. Whiters allegedly stated that he was being pulled over by the officer in the co-ops, according to police.
The officer told Mr. Whiters that he was going to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to ensure that Mr. Whiters could safely operate a motor vehicle, according to police. After administering the tests, the officer transported Mr. Whiters to the Park Forest Police Department.
At the station, Mr. Whiters asked for an attorney and no additional tests or interviews were completed.
Mr. Whiters was charged with DUI-Alcohol, consumption of alcohol by a minor, improper lane usage, and unlawful transportation of open alcohol. Mr. Whiters posted $100 plus his Illinois driver’s license as bond and was assigned a court date of March 27, 2020, at the Markham Courthouse, according to police.