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Drivers Pen In Man Slumped at Wheel on Cowesett Road, WPD Charges 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 — Officer Matthew Smith was called to Cowesett Road at Quaker Lane Oct. 13 at 11:33 p.m., charging the driver of a blue 2016 Mustang with DUI after two drivers found him slumped at the wheel of the car, foot on the brake at a traffic light, and penned him in with their vehicles.

The two women, Emily Burgess, 20, of Coventry and Amanda Fernandes, 33, of West Warwick, had positioned each of their cars fore and aft of the Mustang, they told Smith, in case the man’s foot slipped off the brake, so the car wouldn’t enter the intersection, the officer reported.

The women said they made several attempts to wake up the driver, by banging on the window of his car and blowing their cars’ horns, as the light cycled three times, but were unable to rouse him. The women told the officer the man had likely been at the intersection about 10 minutes.

Smith knocked on the Mustang’s window himself several times and pulled on the car’s door handles, and the man eventually lifted his head, looking around in a confused manner, according to the officer’s report. He noted the car was still in drive, and told the man to put it in park. The man lowered his window and the officer repeated the instruction, and the man let his foot off the brake, causing his car to nearly strike the car in front of him before he regained control and put it in park.

Smith identified the driver as Jason Mathieu, 45, of 76 Woodhaven Road, Pawtucket, after the man fumbled through several cards in his wallet, despite his license being clearly visible among them, the officer reported.

As Smith spoke with Mathieu, he noted the man had a strong odor of alcohol about him, that he had bloodshot eyes, and a flushed face, he reported. Mathieu didn’t appear to be aware he had fallen asleep for more than a brief time, and said he hadn’t been drinking, and hadn’t taken any medication that night.

During a series of sobriety tests, Mathieu demonstrated a lack of smooth pursuit in his vision, was unable to maintain heel-to-toe cadence during a walk and turn, and could not safely balance on one foot. After, Mathieu told the officer he had in fact been drinking that night.

Smith arrested him on a DUI charge a second time, placing him in handcuffs and transporting him to Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, where he registered a .203 blood alcohol level twice after a four minute interval.

Smith charged Mathieu with DUI, first offense, .15 or greater, and was scheduled for a hearing on the charge in Third District Court Nov. 15. He was released at 2:05 a.m. to a sober adult.

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 WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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