WARWICK, RI — Warwick Police were called to the intersection of Airport Road and Loveday Street Jun 6 at 12:43 p.m. for a hit & run, finding and arresting the driver on Warwick Avenue.
According to the report of Officer Paris L. Norwood, the crash had occurred when a beige 2007 GMC Sierra rear-ended a blue 2023 Kia Soul, leaving the driver of the Kia, a 47-year-old Warwick woman, complaining of significant pain in her neck. She was transported to Kent County Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Shortly after receiving the call, dispatch advised Norwood that a third driver had followed the Sierra, reporting that it had just turned right onto Warwick Avenue, passing Demo’s Pizza. Norwood was headed north on Warwick Avenue at the time, with Officer Law following, lights and sirens on both cruisers activated. Norwood reported passing the Sierra as it headed south, and he made a U-Turn to follow it, with Law behind him.
The officers stopped the Sierra near Edgehill Road, and Norwood approached the driver’s side, identifying the driver as Raymond J. Repoza, 49, of 109 Thurston St., Riverside, RI.
When asked what happened, Repoza initially said his foot had slipped off the gas, then later amended that to say it had slipped off the brake.
As the two spoke, Norwood noticed the man’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, and that his breath smelled of alcohol. When asked why he hadn’t stopped, Repoza said he had gotten nervous, and then said he hadn’t considered the crash a “big deal,” referring to it as a “tap,” according to Norwood’s report.
During this conversation, Norwood noticed a small “nip” bottle of fireball whiskey on the top of the Sierra’s center console, and an empty one in the cupholder, with the cap on Repoza’s left side on the seat.
When asked about the empty bottle, Repoza said he had drank it elsewhere. Norwood asked him to step from the Sierra to take sobriety tests, which he did.
During the tests, Repoza demonstrated a lack of smooth pursuit in his vision, was unable to competently heel-to-toe in a straight line, using his arms for balance and stepping off-line, and swayed during a one-leg stand, though he complained that the weather was windy, a fact Norwood conceded in his report.
The Sierra was towed by City Towing to their yard.
Norwood charged Repoza with DUI, blood alcohol content unknown, and hit & run / failing in his duty to stop in a crash resulting in injury. He was cited for refusing the test, not wearing a seat belt, and not maintaining a safe distance from other cars.
Repoza was scheduled for a court screening on the charges in 3rd Division District Court on Sept. 11 and released on $6,000 personal recognizance.
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