Driver found asleep at an intersection

Okeechobee Police Officer Jessica Francis was surprised to find a woman sleeping behind the wheel of her sedan at the intersection of U.S. 441 and State Road 70 early Monday morning, April 15. Officer Francis had seen the car sitting at the intersection earlier when she was headed to another call, but when it was still there on her way back, she knew she needed to check on the occupants. When she approached the car, she stated, she could see through the window that there was only one person in the vehicle — the driver, and the driver was sound asleep.


She began knocking on the window to try to rouse the driver, and after several minutes, she finally rolled down the window. Officer Francis asked the driver if she was OK and asked for her license. While the woman looked for her license, she identified herself as Lajuana Smith-McNeil. As she looked for her license, she reportedly kept asking Officer Francis what it was she was looking for again, and she was very hard to understand because her words were slurred. On two separate occasions, she fell asleep while looking for her license, states the report.


Officer Francis asked her to call someone to come and get her car, and Ms. McNeil reportedly found her phone but could not remember how to operate it and fell asleep while trying. Officer Francis took the phone, asked who she wanted to call and made the call for her. The vehicle was turned over to the registered owner.


While in custody at the jail, Ms. McNeil submitted breath samples which registered 0.0, but when attempting a standard roadside sobriety test while in the safety of the jail, she was reportedly unsteady on her feet and unable to complete it for her own safety. She submitted a urine sample, was charged with DUI and given a court date.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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