By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - All law enforcement agencies in Mingo County have been cracking down on intoxicated drivers in an attempt to keep those traveling local highways safe. The latest DUI arrest reported to the Daily News is a prime example of how those efforts are paying off.
According to information provided by Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Chief Field Deputy Joe Smith, he and Deputy Jon Endicott were en route to a location in Williamson on an unrelated matter, when they observed a 1997 Toyota Camry traveling in the vicinity of Goodman Avenue and veering across the center line of the highway. The officers followed the vehicle and, as luck would have it, the driver pulled into the same place they were going to.
Upon making contact with Melinda Starr, 40, of Day Star Road, the deputies reportedly observed that she spoke with slurred speech and her movements were sluggish and unsteady. Smith and Endicott administered a three-part field sobriety test to Starr, which she was unable to complete, according to their report.
Upon questioning, the defendant allegedly admitted to the deputies that she had consumed alcohol that morning, within an hour of getting behind the wheel. A portable breathalyzer test reportedly produced results of .175, more than twice the legal limit of 0.80. After being taken to the sheriff’s department for processing, an Intoximeter test, which reportedly showed an alcohol level of .167 in her system, was administered to Starr.
Starr was charged with one count of DUI and was arraigned before Senior Status Magistrate Kim Blair. She later was released from custody after posting $2,000 bail. Starr is scheduled to return to magistrate court next week for a preliminary hearing in the case.
Anyone who sees a driver who appears to be intoxicated and who is driving in an erratic manner is encouraged to contact Mingo County 911 and report the location, type of vehicle and, if possible, the license plate number. Please remember to pull safely off the road before placing the call. Talking or texting while driving is against West Virginia law.