Man arrested for DUI while on way to AA

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A man was arrested and given a citation for DUI on Tuesday, Sept. 17, while he was reportedly on his way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. 

William Lee Schmidt Jr., 58, of Pima, was arrested for DUI after displaying signs of intoxication and failure of a field sobriety test. 

According to a Safford Police report, Schmidt was driving so erratically northbound in his blue, Dodge pickup truck that another driver called the police and alerted them of the situation. 

A BOLO was issued and Schmidt was located as he turned left from 1st Avenue onto U.S. Highway 70. The officer noted Schmidt failed to turn into the closest lane, which is a moving violation. The officer then noted that Schmidt turned northbound onto 2nd Avenue and failed to stop at the white line stop bar at the intersection with 4th Street.

The officer then initiated a traffic stop at about 6 p.m. and Schmidt pulled over in the St. Rose of Lima Church parking lot. 

Upon approach, the officer observed several clues that Schmidt was under the influence of alcohol, including bloodshot, watery eyes, and slurred, mumbled speech. 

During questioning, Schmidt allegedly told the officer that he had stopped drinking at midnight after consuming two “large” bottles of liquor and that he hadn’t drunk anything that day. Schmidt also advised that he “probably shouldn’t be driving” and asked for a break as he was only driving to the church to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. 

After failing a field sobriety test, Schmidt declined to take a portable breath test and was placed under arrest. He was then transported to the Safford Police Department, where his blood was taken for testing purposes. 

Schmidt was then released from police custody with charges pending the test results and review by the Graham County Attorney’s Office.    

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