Sheriff: Drunk man causes crash, disruptions at hospital, jail

Ronald Griffin II

KANKAKEE TWP. – A Rolling Prairie man was arrested on drunk driving charges early Saturday morning after allegedly causing a crash on U.S. 20 and subsequent disruptions at La Porte Hospital and the La Porte County Jail.

La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies located Ronald Griffin II, 41, in the passenger seat of his silver Cadillac where it came to rest in a ditch in the 2500 East block of U.S. 20 in Kankakee Township around 10:17 p.m. Friday.

An eyewitness told police the Cadillac had sped past them from the left lane of traffic before moving into the right lane and striking a red Jeep Grand Cherokee, which sustained rear end damage and came to a stop in the middle of the road.

In that stretch of U.S. 20, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour; but the witness estimated the Cadillac to have been traveling faster than 100 miles per hour.

The occupants of the Jeep reported no injuries and refused medical treatment.

Griffin, who admitted he’d been driving the Cadillac, said his neck hurt; but he also refused medical treatment.

He told officers at the scene he hadn’t consumed alcohol or narcotics prior to driving, and submitted to multiple field sobriety tests – failing each of them.

When the deputy asked Griffin to submit to a portable breath test, Griffin reportedly said, “I plead the Fifth.”

The officer wrote in his report that because Griffin had urinated on himself and displayed unsteady balance, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and an alcoholic odor on his breath, he transported him to the La Porte Hospital emergency room for medical clearance.

Griffin continued to refuse treatment at the hospital, and was transported to the La Porte County Jail for a temporary hold while sheriff’s deputies secured a search warrant to draw his blood.

While in custody at the jail, Griffin reportedly caused a disturbance that required him to be restrained. And after the search warrant was granted by Magistrate John Link, Griffin was transported back to the hospital, where he allegedly caused another disturbance and had to be restrained again.

Despite all the commotion and Griffin’s alleged threats, a nurse was able to get a vial of blood, which returned results of 0.191 percent blood alcohol content.

He was taken back to the jail and charged with four misdemeanors: operating while intoxicated, OWI with a BAC higher than 0.15 percent, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct.

Griffin posted $10,000 surety bond on Wednesday, and is scheduled to return to La Porte Superior Court 3 for a status conference on Dec. 20.

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