WESTERLY — An Ashaway Road resident was charged with DUI and other offenses early Tuesday, hours after she was cited for backing into a police cruiser that was parked in front of a Westerly bar.
Later in the day, a judge in Fourth Division District Court set a $10,000 surety bond for the woman, 32-year-old Alisha Choquette, of 64 Ashaway Road. She was arraigned on charges including driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of driving when license is suspended.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the charges stem from separate calls that occurred about four hours apart. Officers are also investigating another incident that may have occurred between the two reports.
According to Lacey, a Westerly officer on patrol stopped at Danny's Bar on Railroad Avenue to conduct a routine check at about 1 a.m. When he came out a short time later, two witnesses reported that a black SUV had backed over a curb, struck the rear passenger side bumper of the cruiser, and driven off. There was minor damage to the police car.
Lacey said one of the witnesses knew the driver and a passenger in the SUV, both women. The police checked their addresses and found them sitting in the SUV, which was parked in a driveway at the passenger's home on Batterson Avenue. There were no charges against the passenger, but Choquette admitted being involved in the accident. She was charged with driving on a suspended license and released.
Around 3:20 a.m., police were called back to the Batterson Avenue home for a report of missing prescription pills. Choquette's passenger reported to police that after returning home, she realized that someone had stolen numerous Alprazolam pills, the anxiety medication known as Xanax. She said 110 pills had been taken, leaving her with only 10.
Lacey said that such a theft would be hard to prove and that the police were still investigating.
The department received another call related to Choquette at about 5 a.m. This time a caller reported that an SUV, which matched the vehicle Choquette was driving earlier, was traveling erratically near the town beaches.
The police said an officer thought that Choquette could be heading home, and stationed his cruiser near Route 3 and Route 78. He located her at about 5:20 a.m. and stopped her after she had crossed the center medians and fog lines in front of him.
Lacey said she was given a field sobriety test, and an officer trained as a drug recognition expert determined that she was likely under the influence of something other than alcohol. Lacey said officers found 13 Alprazolam pills on the floor.
Police said Choquette was taken to the hospital and consented to a blood test. Results are expected back in about a month. She was arrested and held for arraignment.
"There was no evidence to prove or suggest the pills were stolen," Lacey said. "They weren't in the original container and we have no way of proving who they originally belonged to. She did not have a prescription for them, however."
The DUI charge was Choquette's fourth. According to court records, she was charged in February 2014 by the state police, and twice more the next month by police in East Providence and North Providence. She pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in all three cases, and no contest to leaving the scene of a crash causing damage, which was related to her third arrest in 2014.
Police and court officials said those cases played a role in the amount of her bond. She remains in custody at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, court and state Department of Corrections records show, and is due in Washington County Superior Court for a felony screening in March.