Trip to store becomes trip to jail for three local

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two Lewisburg residents and a man from Chapel Hill were arrested on alcohol-related charges in Lewisburg on Friday night.

Officer Amanda Newcomb's report states that while she was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of 5th Avenue and West Commerce at about 11 p.m., she noticed a white Cadillac parked in front of the West Side Liquor Store.

"I had prior knowledge that John Weaver drives that vehicle and his driver's licenses are revoked," the policewoman's report continues.

Newcomb saw that a white male was sitting in the driver's seat of the '89 white Cadillac, but she could not make a positive identification, so she pulled her patrol car in to the parking lot of David Jent Realty to observe the car and driver.

"A white male came out of the store and got into the passenger side of the vehicle. The driver then pulled out of the parking lot and headed east towards the square," Newcomb's report continues.

She followed the car and when it turned from 3rd Avenue into Ewing Street she was able to make a positive identification of the driver, so Newcomb stopped the car at the corner of Maple Street and Cornersville Road.

The driver was John Weaver and he told Newcomb that he knew his licenses were revoked but he "just drove to the store and was going back to a friend's house."

Newcomb found Weaver to have a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. His eyes were bloodshot and watery." He "performed poorly on all field sobriety tests," so she arrested him, charging him with the fourth offence DUI and driving on a revoked license. When Weaver refused to submit to a test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of his blood, he was also charged with violation of the implied consent law.

A search of the Cadillac revealed a six-pack of 12-ounce Budweiser beers, and one empty beer car, and also an opened pint of Early Times whiskey with a small amount missing. Weaver's passengers, Donna L. Cook, 46, of Lewisburg, and Bobby G. Embler, 42, of Chapel Hill, were also arrested. They were charged with public intoxication, and Newcomb's report states, "Due to their intoxicated state and fear for their safety, no field sobriety tests were given."

All three were transported to the Marshall County Jail. Weaver's bond was set at $3,500, while bond for Cook and Embler was set at $500 each. They are all due to appear in city court on Monday, Dec. 8.

The following day, Marshall County Sheriff's Department received a call from a woman who was attending a chili supper at the Shiloh United Methodist Church in Wheel. She told them she had seen a gold Chevrolet van weaving as it was driven west on Hwy 64. Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Erwin spotted the van at 5:15 p.m. going south on Hwy 31-A. Erwin saw the van weave across the centerline and onto the shoulder, and he performed a traffic stop between the Celebration Inn and Jabbers. According to Erwin's report, it took the driver about five minutes to get out of the van. The driver was J. Refugio Mondragon-Lopez, 32, of Shelbyville.

Erwin's report continues, "At that time Lopez stumbled and leaned against the vehicle. I smelled a strong odor of an intoxicating beverage on his breath. I observed that his eyes were red and he could hardly stand up. Lopez could not speak but a few words of English. He was speaking in Spanish, however his speech was very slurred. Lopez had no drivers license and was unable to perform field sobriety tests."

Lopez was arrested for DUI and also cited for having no driver's license. He was transported to the emergency room at Marshall Medical Center for a test to determine his blood-alcohol level and then taken to jail. Mondragon-Lopez has a court date of Tuesday, Nov. 4. Lewisburg Police Department also responded to the scene, and Holder's Body Shop Inc. towed the van.