Warwick, RI – A Warwick and North Kingstown officer on a joint drunk driving task force arrested stopped a swerving driver on Oakland Beach Avenue Sept. 5 at 1:04 a.m, ultimately arresting him for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Warwick Sgt. Stephen Fernandez, on joint DWI patrol with North Kingstown Sgt. Eli Mulligan, were travelling north on Oakland Beach Avenue in a Warwick cruiser when they approached a silver 2005 Chevy pickup in front of them slowly drifting to the right of the road, nearly striking the curb before drifting to the other side and nearly passing into the oncoming lane, according to the policeman’s report.
Fernandez turned on the cruiser’s emergency lights, intending to get the driver to pull over. Instead, the driver slowed to 10 mph and continued driving.
Fernandez finally used an air horn to gain the driver’s attention, and the man pulled over, striking the curb in the process, according to the report.
Both officers approached the driver, identified as Felipe J. De La Roca, 40, of 119 Pender Ave., Warwick. Fernandez asked for his license.
Instead of producing his license, Fernandez reported, the driver began mentioning people he knew in the department, and told the officer he was “…a veteran and should not be bothered,” according to the report.
Fernandez asked De La Roca if he’d been drinking, to which the driver replied that the policeman was “a very bad man,” according to the report.
A series of field sobriety tests did not go well for De La Roca, according to the report. The driver showed a lack of smooth pursuit in his vision, missed heel-to-toe cadence on every step during the walk and turn test, and used a fence for balance during the one leg stand test.
Fernandez arrested De La Roca, who was transported to Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, where he refused to take a chemical blood test.
Fernandez charged De La Roca with driving under the influence of alcohol, second offense, and cited him for refusing the blood test.
De La Roca was later transported to Kent County Memorial Hospital for detox treatment when he failed to find anyone willing to pick him up from the station.
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