standing Westerly police 2

WESTERLY — A Richmond woman is facing DUI charges after police said she admitted using a narcotic substance identified as "liquid benzodiazepines" before crashing on Route 1 early Saturday.

Westerly police said the woman, Sheena Alayne Strong, 35, of 417 Church St., Wood River Junction, was charged with driving under the influence and cited with driving when license is suspended or denied, and other motor vehicle violations. She was released later Saturday and is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Fourth Division District Court on Jan. 24.

According to a Westerly police report, a officer patrolling on Route 1 near Chamber Way at about 3:45 a.m. saw a car in a wooded area north of the roadway. The officer approached and found that Strong was trying to pull herself out of the driver's side door. She said she was not hurt and had crashed after a animal she believed to be a deer ran in front of her car. The police said she had been southbound in a 2001 Mercury Sable when the car hit the curb and veered off the road, striking two trees head-on. The car was towed from the scene.

Strong was given a field sobriety test, which she failed. She told officers she had "a couple nips" earlier that evening and had not taken any drugs. At the police station, she agreed to a breathalyzer test, which returned negative readings for alcohol. The police said she remained sluggish and when asked again if she took anything, she admitted using "liquid benzos."

The police said she was charged with DUI and consented to a blood test. Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the department expects to  receive the results from the state lab within 30 days.

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