standing Westerly police 2

WESTERLY — A call by an off-duty dispatcher, who reported an erratic driver early Saturday, led to the arrest of a driver whose blood alcohol content tested at more than 2½ times the legal limit.

The driver, Barney C. Hayes, 25, of 9 N. Main St., Apt. A., Westerly, was arrested at about 2 a.m. He was charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher and released on a promise to appear pending an appearance in Fourth Division District Court.

"This is a situation that could have ended up much worse," said Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey.

According to a Westerly police summary, dispatcher Jason LaPlante was in the area of the Cumberland Farms at the intersection of Granite and John streets when he spotted a possible DUI driver. Hayes, in a camouflage Jeep, was in a parking spot at CVS facing the roadway when he drove over the curb, through bushes, down an embankment and across Route 1 before stopping suddenly, the police said. He then turned down John Street and into Cumberland Farms, where he parked along the side of the building.

When officers arrived, Hayes was unable to answer questions, the police said. He told officers he did not know where he was or how he had gotten there. At the station, Lacey said he agreed to take a breathalyzer test, which returned BAC readings of .203 and .211.

Lacey said that the dispatcher "was in the right place at the right time. The driver wasn't going to stay in the Cumberland Farms lot all night. Without that call, who knows what could have happened next or who would have been hurt."

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