Warwick, RI – Officer Matthew Smith was driving south on Post Road past Airport Road at 3 a.m. July 5 when a loud screech and a “large display of sparks” from a passing 2001 Ford Taurus drew his attention, leading to the arrest of the driver on a DUI charge.
Smith quickly realized the screeching and the sparks were due to the missing front passenger’s side tire, causing the rim on that wheel to grind against the road. The officer watched the car turn onto Airport Road, its drivers’s side tires swerving over the double yellow lines.
Smith pulled the Taurus over and spoke with the driver, later identified as Melanie Bertoldi, 25, of 222 Killey Ave., Apt. 11, Warwick. The woman told Smith she had left the Dark Lady in Providence at about 2:30 a.m. She said as she was leaving, she struck something with her car and had believed her bumper was the cause of the “strange sound,” as she drove from Providence to Warwick, according to the officer’s report.
As Smith spoke with Bertoldi, he reported smelling an odor of alcohol on her breath, and noticed her speech was slurred. He also saw her eyes were bloodshot and watery.
Smith checked the rest of the Taurus, noting heavy front end damage to the front bumper and rear driver’s side bumper. Bertoldi told him she had been unaware of this damage as well.
Smith invited her to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which she failed. She ignored his instructions during the vision test, as well as the walk-and-turn, during which she made an improper turn, walked the wrong number of steps and stepped out of line. She also failed to balance on one foot during the one-leg stand, Smith reported.
Smith also found three grams of marijuana in the car’s center console.
Smith arrested Bertoldi and transported her to Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, where she refused a chemical test.
Smith charged Bertoldi with DUI, first offense, blood alcohol unknown and cited her for refusing the test and for possession of marijuana. She was also cited for lane violations.
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