DUI and safety patrol yields arrest

By Kyle Lovern

August 27, 2013

Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON - The efforts of Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair to beef up DUI road patrols within city limits is reaping awards that includes a recent arrest that also yield a drug related charge.

Robert Earl Chafin, age 57, from Gainesville, Georgia, was placed under arrest by Williamson Patrolman J.D. Tincher and Chief Blair on charges of DUI and possession with intent to deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance.

The criminal complaint reads that the officer received a call from Chief Blair stating that someone had witnessed a Dodge Neon, bright blue in color, containing five occupants that had just left the Tug Valley Pharmacy on 2nd Avenue in Williamson and had allegedly been involved in a drug transaction at the 7-Eleven station. The caller furthermore reported that the driver appeared to be intoxicated.

After being informed of the direction of travel for the vehicle, Tincher headed toward West Williamson and spotted the suspects sitting across from Appalachian Tire. When the officer turned on his blue lights, the vehicle began to roll forward but stopped after Tincher engaged the siren. Upon approaching the driver’s window, he made contact with Chafin, who was operating the Neon. He was ordered to exit the vehicle and consented to a search of its contents. A three-part field sobriety test was administered, which Chafin failed to complete. The defendant allegedly admitted to ingesting Alprazolam (Xanax) approximately two hours before getting behind the wheel.

After reading Chafin his Miranda rights, Tincher handcuffed the defendant and was attempting to place him inside the cruiser when Chafin requested to use the restroom. Before the officer could arrange for him to do so, he urinated on himself. During the course of searching the vehicle, a prescription bottle of Alprazolam, dated the same day of the arrest, was found, and contained only 27 ½ tablets instead of the 45 total listed on the bottle.

The defendant was transported to the Williamson Memorial Hospital and consented to a drug screen that produced positive results of three times the legal and therapeutic levels of barbiturates and four times the limit for benzodiazepines. Chafin is also said to have admitted to giving the passengers in his vehicle two Zanax tablets each.

Chafin was arraigned before Mingo Magistrate Pam Newsome and was remanded to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail on an $11,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Dee Sidebottom on Friday, August 29th at 9 a.m. for his preliminary hearing.