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Driver Locks Self in Car at Traffic Stop, Arrested for Obstruction, DUI

The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.

Warwick, RI – Gregory Santos, 46, of 142 Vera St., Warwick, could’ve unlocked his car, stepped out and performed some field sobriety tests when an officer stopped him for speeding and suspicion of DUI March 20 on Warwick Avenue.

But he didn’t do that, so officers broke his window, pulled him out, and arrested him, ultimately charging him with DUI, blood alcohol unknown, resisting arrest, obstruction of an officer, and possession of amphetamines. He was also cited for speeding, possession of marijuana and refusing to submit to a chemical test, according to the report.

Officer Randy Francis pulled over the black 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis Santos was driving after watching him travel at 47 mph in a 35 mph zone, swerving over the double yellow line three times near Church Avenue on Warwick Avenue, the report states.

Francis approached the driver, informing him that he’d been pulled over for suspicion of DUI and for speeding. Santos denied driving over the speed limit, and denied swerving, he wrote.

While Francis spoke to Santos, the officer reported a odor of alcohol on Santos’ breath, and informed the driver he’d be required to take a series of field sobriety tests.

In response, Santos locked his doors and rolled his window up, leaving only an inch wide opening. The driver also asked for Francis’s supervisor, according to the officer’s report.

Francis called Sgt. John McAniff to the scene, and Santos remained locked in his car, asking the officer, repeatedly, “Am I being detained? Am I free to leave?” despite having been informed by Francis that he was being detained and asked to perform sobriety tests.

This exchange between Santos and McAniff repeated for about 5 minutes. McAniff finally informed Santos he was under arrest for obstructing an officer, but Santos refused to open his car, instead repeating the questions, “Am I being detained? Am I free to leave?” according to the report.

The officers informed Santos that if he didn’t open his car, they’d break a window to make the arrest. Santos made no move to let the officers in, and McAniff instructed a third officer, Matthew Smith, to break a window.

Smith used his baton to break the rear passenger window, allowing Francis to unlock the car’s doors. McAniff and Francis then had to pull Santos from the vehicle, as he made no move to get out and then hung on to the interior resisting their efforts, according to the report.

Once the officers had handcuffed him and placed him in a cruiser, they again asked him to perform a series of sobriety tests. Santos refused.

A search of Santos’ vehicle yielded a small clear screw-top container of hashish oil, a prescription bottle with no label containing 9 orange pills later identified as dextroamphetamine, 50 mg, and 2.7 grams of marijuana.

The officers transported Santos to the Warwick Police Headquarters, where he repeated his questions in response to the officers’ inquiries, also refusing to submit to a breath test.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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