NEW DURHAM TWP. — A Michigan City man who crashed his Jeep on U.S. 421 on Friday was driving under the influence of narcotics, according to authorities.
Brent James Warren was released on bond Tuesday after being charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance, according to court records.
La Porte County Sheriff’s officers responded about 2 p.m. Friday to reports of a crash near the Great Deals on Wheels car dealership on U.S. 421, just north of Otis.
A 911 caller had said a red Jeep was driving “all over the roadway” before it came “flying up behind the caller,” attempted to pass on the shoulder and crashed, according to a police report.
Deputies found the 2003 Jeep Liberty with heavy front end damage off the roadway just south of a curve, and fresh tire tracks in the snow leading off the roadway, the report said.
A Ford Explorer was parked nearby with heavy rear end damage, consistent with a rear-end collision.
The 911 caller said she was driving southbound when the Jeep came up behind, “swerving back and forth and driving recklessly,” the report said.
When a car ahead slowed to turn, the traffic slowed and the Jeep came to a complete stop, then rapidly accelerated and veered off on the right shoulder to pass the line of traffic, the report said. It struck an object, the Explorer, near the dealership.
The driver of the Jeep, Warren, was known to officers from a 2019 OWI investigation, the report said.
He told police he was unsure what happened. Police noted slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, but he said he had not been drinking but does smoke marijuana sometimes, the report said.
He said he could drive home, but police showed him the damage to the vehicle, and he said he had no recollection of a crash, the report said.
Warren failed several field sobriety tests, but a portable breath showed no alcohol in his system.
Police asked if he had anything illegal and he said he didn’t think so, but then pulled a glass smoking pipe from his front right pocket, looked at it and quickly put it back in the pocket, police said.
He was placed under arrest and officers found two pills in the pocket of his sweatshirt and another in the pocket of his jeans, the report said. They were later identified to be Alprazolam, a generic form of Xanax.
He also had a bluish-green discharge from his nose, which the report said was consistent with crushing pills and ingesting them by snorting.
He was taken to a hospital for a chemical blood test, but had difficulty remembering events, the report said. At one point he asked, “Where did you stop me at?”
He said he could only recall the previous traffic stop involving him and his girlfriend in November. The report noted that the effects of Alprazolam include memory loss, dizziness and drowsiness.
He was taken to the La Porte County Jail and charged with the misdemeanors, and also cited for driving while suspended.
His initial court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday in La Porte County Superior Court 3, but court information was not immediately available.