La PORTE — A man, suspected of causing a hit-and-run crash and later found in his pickup, which was smashed against a guardrail, was charged with drunk driving after tests showed his blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit, according to police.
About 4:46 p.m. Saturday, La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the intersection of State Road 39 and Severs Road for a hit and run crash involving a pickup and car, according to a report.
En route to the crash, Deputy Alex Clemons found a silver GMC Canyon pickup with heavy front-end damage resting against a guardrail on an overhead bridge structure in the 2600 North block of SR 39, the report said.
The driver was sitting in the front seat with the airbag deployed.
The driver, later identified as Larry Reaves, 70, of La Porte, told Clemons he did not want to leave the vehicle, the report said.
However, Clemons recognized the odor of alcohol and questioned Reaves about whether he had any drinks. Reaves said he had a couple beers at 5 p.m. According to the report, Clemons checked his watch and saw it was still only 4:50 p.m.
When asked about what happened, Reaves said he was driving on SR 39, south of the intersection with Severs Road, when he rear-ended a car, the report said.
He said the vehicle in front of him drove away, so he decided not to stop. According to the victim’s statement, the victim attempted to exit her vehicle and assess the damage, but the pickup pulled around her and continued northbound.
According to the report, Reaves said he continued northbound until he left the roadway, struck a guardrail, and continued driving until he stopped.
During the field sobriety test, Reaves used both hands to steady himself outside of the truck, the report said. And once in front of the vehicle, he was unable to stand in one spot, stumbling over and nearly falling to the ground until the deputy caught him, the report said.
A breathalyzer test was then tried, but Reaves failed to provide a sufficient sample, the report said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, he consented to a blood draw, and was taken to La Porte Hospital.
But after arriving in the squad car and taking a few steps toward the hospital, Reaves was unable to maintain his balance and fell to the ground, the report said. Hospital security then arrived and assisted the deputy with escorting Reaves into the hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Reaves’ blood draw later showed his blood alcohol level to be .35 percent, more than four times the legal limit. He was also diagnosed with a broken rib and a minor stomach contusion, the report said. He was later transported to La Porte County Jail.
Reaves was preliminarily charged with operating while intoxicated, a Class C misdemeanor; OWI with endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; OWI with a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or higher, a Class A misdemeanor; and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor.