Man driving in oncoming traffic lanes of U.S. Highway 70 allegedly inebriated on inhalant

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: A man drove this work truck westbound in an eastbound lane from Thatcher to Pima while allegedly under the influence of an inhalant.

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – A man who drove westbound in an eastbound lane from Thatcher to Pima was allegedly under the influence of an inhalant at the time. 

Froilan Araujo, 28, was arrested April 2 on charges of wrong-way driving, driving with a suspended driver’s license, reckless driving, DUI, and multiple counts of endangerment. 

According to a Pima Police report, Araujo was driving a white, Ford F-150 work truck from Renegade Systems westbound in the eastbound lanes of U.S. Highway 70 at about 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, and had forced numerous other eastbound vehicles off the road and had several near collisions. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: A family member returned late that night to retrieve the work truck.

A Pima officer managed to pull Araujo over at Pima Town Hall. Upon contact, Araujo advised he didn’t have a drivers’ license and said he was confused because he was traveling on a single lane road all day and all of a sudden it became a four-lane road. Araujo allegedly told the officer that he was “tripping out when” he noticed the other lanes. U.S. 70 has two lanes in both direction from Pima to Thatcher with a center turn lane as well. 

Araujo failed several parts of a field sobriety test, but no alcohol registered on a portable breath test. However, he allegedly admitted to vaping marijuana three days ago. 

A search of the work truck turned up a can of compressed/aerosolized air called “Dust Off”, which is sometimes abused and inhaled against its intended use. The officer noted that Araujo showed several signs and symptoms of having used the inhalant to become inebriated. 

Araujo was then arrested and his blood was taken for DUI testing purposes. Afterward, he was given a ride to the Subway restaurant in Thatcher. Upon arrival there, he no longer displayed the signs of being under the influence of an intoxicant as he had when initially stopped. The officer noted this was another example that Araujo had been using the inhalant because the intoxicating effect does not last a long time.

Araujo later returned to Pima Town Hall at about 11:45 p.m. with a family member, who retrieved the work truck’s keys and removed the vehicle. 

Official charges are pending lab test analysis and review by prosecutors.