Woman found in ditch, charged with DUI

OKEECHOBE — After she and her car were reportedly found in a ditch shortly after midnight on Sunday, Dec. 22, Sandy Nicole Cook, 29, of Northeast 23rd Way, was charged with driving under the influence. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Pollock responded to the scene after Okeechobee Fire Rescue found a black Hyundai in a ditch in the 13000 block of U.S. 441 North and stopped to render aid. After they stopped, they reportedly found Cook passed out in the driver’s seat.

Deputy Pollock found the vehicle resting in the southbound ditch and Cook still sitting in the driver’s seat. He determined the vehicle had not been involved in a crash before landing in the ditch. OCFR paramedics Cory Stephen and Jack Sullivan explained they were headed north when they saw the vehicle and stopped to help. They said she was slumped over the wheel, and the car was still running, and the gearshift was in drive. When they offered medical attention, she refused.

Deputy Richard Varnadore asked Cook for her vehicle registration, and she reportedly handed him her bank card.

Deputy Pollock asked the driver to exit the vehicle and noted her eyes were red and watery and her speech was thick and slurred. In addition, he said she smelled strongly of alcohol. After some roadside exercises to check her sobriety, she was arrested and charged with DUI. Her breath test results were reportedly 0.204 and 0.185. She was released on her own recognizance with an ankle monitor.

While Deputy Varnadore waited for a tow truck, a man walked up and told him the car was his, and his wife had been driving. He said they were coming from the Brahma Bull when she began hitting him as he was driving down the road. He said she was heavily intoxicated, and he pulled over to try to calm her down, but she jumped in the driver’s seat, leaving him on the side of the road.

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

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