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Police arrest driver going through fentanyl withdrawal

Steven Ray Smith
Steven Ray Smith

A Mount Dora man was arrested Tuesday for driving under the influence after police woke him up behind the wheel.

An officer observed 35-year-old Steven Ray Smith asleep against the steering wheel of his gray pickup truck in the eastbound lane of U.S. Hwy. 441 at around 5:50 a.m., according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.

The truck was at a complete stop with the lights still on when an officer woke up Smith, the report said. Smith had bruises under his eyes and seemed confused about his whereabouts upon waking up. He was unable to provide a driver’s license and was using a screwdriver in the seat buckle instead of wearing the seatbelt. He was also muttering and difficult to understand as he spoke to the officer, the report said.

Smith informed the officer that he thought it was around 2 a.m. and he was driving toward the Lifestream Facility, a mental health clinic in Leesburg. However, his vehicle was facing the opposite direction of the clinic, the report said.

While they spoke, the officer was informed that the license plate attached to the vehicle was registered to a trailer. The truck had no tag assigned to it. Smith would later confirm that the truck and the trailer were his, but the tag belonged to the trailer.

It was also revealed to the officer that Smith has had multiple driving while license suspended offenses, as well as three failures to pay traffic fines from 2019 and an indefinite cancellation in 2021. Due to this, as well as Smith’s incoherent state, Smith was detained and transported to the Leesburg Police Department for booking, the report said.

Officers on scene searched the vehicle while Smith was being transported, the report said. They found a toolbox in the back of the vehicle that contained a sour cream container. Inside the container were nine more containers, each with a yellow substance. The 9.4 grams were tested and positively identified as THC concentrate.

After arriving at the station, Smith underwent a DUI investigation, the report said. After two breath tests both resulted in 0.00g/L, Smith was asked to provide a urine sample. He admitted to taking Xanax around 2 p.m. the previous day and being prescribed Adderall and marijuana, which he admitted to using overnight. Later this changed to be before midnight, and it changed again to have been at 12:30 a.m. that day.

Smith stated he was going through fentanyl withdrawal. He allegedly had been snorting a crushed fentanyl pill every five hours for the past two months.

He was arrested on charges of drug possession, driving under the influence, failure to register a motor vehicle and driving while license suspended. He was booked at the Lake County Jail and released after posting $6,000 bond.

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