Citizens assist law enforcement locate drunk driver who left scene of accident

The driver was taken to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center by a GCSO deputy but was reportedly transferred to a Tucson hospital due to his low blood pressure.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – A man who left a swath of damage in his wake as he reportedly drove drunkenly down the highway was taken into custody. 

Michael Watson was arrested Saturday, Feb. 1, for DUI, endangerment, reckless driving, criminal damage, and leaving the scene of an accident. 

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, Watson was driving a silver Ford Ranger eastbound on U.S. Highway 70 when he initially drove up on the curb. Motorists on the phone with County Dispatch advised that they observed Watson strike multiple signs on Barney Lane before striking a concrete barrier at the intersection of Lonestar Road and U.S. Highway 70. At about 3:46 p.m., the truck was seen westbound on U.S. Highway 70 when a deputy noticed a truck make a wide U-turn in the roadway near 5th Street and began traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 70. At that time, another motorist in a silver BMW waived down the deputy and pointed out the truck. 

As the deputy caught up to Watson at a red light at the intersection with U.S. Highway 191, the deputy activated his emergency lights and Watson ran the red light. The deputy then activated his siren and continued to follow Watson as he passed by a Safford officer who had pulled into the middle turn lane. Both the deputy and the officer then caught up with the truck and boxed him in as Watson pulled over. 

Upon contact, the deputy asked Watson if he had been drinking and Watson reportedly advised, “yeah, a lot” and advised he had been drinking wine.

The deputy reported that Watson was unable to walk on his own and when the deputy began to place handcuffs on him Watson began to defecate himself. The deputy then requested the Safford officer to watch Watson so he could put on a pair of gloves and the Safford officer took him to the other side of the truck for safety. 

The deputy requested paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance to respond but due to other medical calls, an ambulance was not available. 

The deputy then transported Watson to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in his patrol vehicle, where a blood sample was obtained. However, as the deputy was waiting for Watson to be medically cleared for the jail hospital staff advised that due to his low blood pressure Watson would have to be transported to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for continued treatment. The deputy then released Watson to the hospital and secured the blood evidence to be sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety for testing purposes.  

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