A Winder man was arrested after driving drunk and nearly striking a police vehicle.
An Auburn police officer was stopped at Union Grove Church Road and Mount Moriah when a green Ford Explorer pulled through the intersection. The officer turned onto Mount Moriah and was traveling behind the Explorer when a silver vehicle rapidly drove up behind the officer’s vehicle.
The officer applied his brakes and the driver of the silver vehicle, Justin L. Eckles, age 30, of 531 Caseys Crossing in Winder, slowed down momentarily. Eckles then regained speed and began following the officer so closely that the officer could not see the front of the Eckles’ vehicle. Eckles was also swerving back and forth into the other lane of travel.
When the officer stopped for a red light at the intersection of Mount Moriah and Highway 8, Eckles almost collided with the police vehicle.
Eckles then pulled around the officer’s vehicle into oncoming traffic and drove through the red light onto Highway 8.
The officer activated his lights and sirens and attempted to stop Eckles. Eckles pulled into the Kangaroo parking lot and exited his vehicle as if he were going into the store.
Another officer was on scene to assist in the arrest. Both officers noted an odor of alcoholic beverage on Eckles breath.
Eckles denied being intoxicated, claiming to have only had one beer.
Eckles refused to speak with the officer whom he had been tailgating. He would only address the other officer. Eckles continued to ask the other officer for advice. After the other officer repeatedly said he could not offer legal advice, Eckles eventually became “irate and mouthy.”
Once transported to the Auburn Police Department, Eckles claimed the officer “cut in front of him” on Mount Moriah. Eckles claimed that he was trying to make sure the driver of the green Explorer made it home safely. Eckles admitted that he and the other driver had just left a bar and that the other driver was intoxicated.
Eckles breath alcohol registered well over the legal limit.
He was arrested and charged with reckless driving, aggressive driving and DUI.
Other arrests made by Auburn Police this past week include:
• Donald Keith Wycoff, 30, 293 Bowman Mill Road, Winder, hold for other agency.
• Walter Poindexter Jr., 59, 317 Primrose Lane, Auburn, driving without a license.
• Christy Michelle Gaines, 37, 2960 Echtenson Road, Loganville, driving in violation of limited permit.