A Leesburg man was arrested for drunk driving after an officer watched him stop at a green light.
Police observed a white pickup truck traveling eastbound on West Main Street early Thursday morning, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.
The driver, 59-year-old Willie Edward Merchant, came to a complete stop at a solid green light with no oncoming traffic. The vehicle turned onto Thomas Avenue and began traveling north into the southbound turn lane. It then suddenly swerved into the northbound lane and crossed the fog line with the right-side wheels, the report said.
The officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to stop the vehicle. Merchant had a delayed response to the lights, eventually activating his brake lights after several hundred feet. Finally, the vehicle drifted onto the shoulder and came to a full stop near the entrance to 306 Thomas Avenue, the report said.
As the officer exited his patrol vehicle, Merchant’s truck began to roll forward before coming to a sudden stop, the report said. Merchant was blankly staring ahead as the officer approached and asked him to place the vehicle in park, to which he complied.
When asked for his driver’s license, Merchant pulled out every card from his wallet and took several minutes to find it. He appeared extremely slow and sluggish in his response. He also had bloodshot and watery eyes, the report said.
The officer asked Merchant if he had anything to drink, to which he responded he had “no.” He was then asked to shut the vehicle off and step out for field sobriety exercises, which he failed. Merchant was arrested and transported to the Leesburg police station for evidentiary breath tests. They registered at 0.097g/210L of breath and 0.106g/210L of breath. A search subsequent to his arrest revealed a small bag of marijuana in his front right pant pocket. The unpackaged weight of the drug was 1.6 grams, according to the report.
Merchant was charged with DUI (second offense) and possession of marijuana. He was transported to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $3,000.