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COLUMBUS – A Columbus man is accused of causing quite a traffic spectacle Wednesday afternoon at one of the most congested intersections in town during one of the most bustling times of the day.

Just after 1 p.m. at the intersection of 23rd Street and 18th Avenue, a location and time when drivers are hustling to and from their lunches and work, Columbus Police dispatch began getting witness reports of a car stopped at the intersection with a man passed out behind the steering wheel.

According to Columbus Police, a third party had gotten into the passenger seat of the white Chevrolet Cavalier and moved the vehicle to the south side of Kentucky Fried Chicken, 1801 23rd St., before officers arrived on the scene.

There were several subjects standing around the parked, unoccupied car when Sgt. Bradley Wangler and other officers arrived, with one witness identifying 30-year-old Valente Encarnocion as the driver who had been sleeping behind the wheel, Wangler wrote in his probable cause arrest statement.

Encarnocion denied being the driver of the car, but agreed to submit to field sobriety maneuvers, which revealed signs of impairment, the sergeant reported.

Encarnocion refused a preliminary breath test initially at the scene, but later agreed to a test at the county jail. A preliminary breath test revealed the suspect’s blood alcohol content to be 0.191, more than twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08 for driving.

The defendant was arrested for second-offense drunken driving, refusal of PBT, possession of a controlled substance (THC wax), possession marijuana-one ounce or less and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Encarnocion was previously arrested for DUI in November 2007.



Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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