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Accused drunk driver says he was en route to delivering marijuana to his mother in N.Y.

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Updated Mar 11, 2018 at 11:34 PM

BELLEVUE — A Colorado man who claimed to be taking marijuana to his sick mother in New York was pulled over in Bellevue for impaired driving — on the wrong side of the road.

Bellevue police received a call at 3:55 a.m. Saturday from a worker at Mickey Mart who said a man had just left the store and “appeared to be intoxicated.”

Upon arrival, the officer saw Harold E. Straube Jr., 53, of Colorado, driving away from the store, going the wrong way down East Main Street. When the officer stopped and approached the vehicle, he noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle, according to the police report. Straube’s eyes were noted to be bloodshot and his speech was slurred, Jeff F. Kerber’s report stated.

As he stepped out of his car to perform field sobriety tests, Straube “stumbled and almost fell to the ground.”

“I then walked him back to the front of my cruiser,” Kerber said in the report. “As I started to perform the (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test, I had him watch the tip of my finger (and) he could not follow directions nor could he follow my finger. As I tried to explain to him what I needed, he told me, ‘Wait, I will try again.’ After trying twice, he couldn't follow my directions.”

Kerber then asked Straube to walk in heel-to-toe fashion with his arms at his side. After the officer demonstrated, Straube tried and stumbled. On the one-legged stand, Straube was leaning against the cruiser and he still could not perform the test and fell over, Kerber’s report said.

Eventually, Straube admitted that he had been drinking whiskey and thought he was in the state of Maryland. He also told Kerber he was a retired officer of 25 years. However, he had no police identification and had a small lapel badge in his wallet.

Kerber then found a small bag containing 50 mg of marijuana in his bags. When asked about it, Straube said it was for medical use — specifically for his mother, whom he said has cancer. Straube said the officer caught him on his way from Colorado to New York, where he planned to deliver the marijuana to her. 

Straube was found to be the subject of five previous charges for driving under the influence. He refused to submit to a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test, so he was charged with a fourth-degree felony.

Straube was cited for possession of a controlled substance, going the wrong way in a divided highway and operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). He was taken to the Huron County Jail, where he remained Sunday night.

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