An Ocala man charged with impaired driving after a rear-end collision was observed earlier in the day unconscious in his vehicle with drug paraphernalia in his lap.
Roger Francois Gauthier, 43, of 6410 NE 2nd Place, was charged with driving under the influence with property damage after the wreck, which happened Sept. 22 at the intersection of SE 58th Avenue and Cherry Road. Gauthier’s green Honda Accord had front-end damage, while a white Lincoln MKZ had rear-end damage.
While speaking to Gauthier, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper observed his pupils were constricted and he was uneasy on his feet. Gauthier’s speech was rapid and short, and he appeared to be extremely drowsy. When asked if he was using any narcotics, Gauthier said he was prescribed Methadone. He also said he was involved in an accident on Sept. 20 and was treated in an unknown hospital, according to the FHP report.
After Gauthier failed a series of field-sobriety exercises, a Marion County Fire Rescue medic who was on the scene responded to a prior call involving Gauthier and his passenger. The medic said he and another EMT received a call that Gauthier and his passenger were unconscious in the vehicle in a Circle K parking lot, according to the report.
The EMTs said three Marion County sheriff’s deputies also responded to the Circle K and saw Gauthier and the passenger unconscious and four needles and a spoon in Gauthier’s lap. The EMT said the needles and spoon tested positive for heroin, the report said.
One of the deputies contacted the trooper by phone and said Gauthier was able to answer his questions satisfactorily and released from the scene. The EMT said she believed the sheriff’s office should have arrested Gauthier at that time, according to the report.
Gauthier was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released Sept. 24 on $2,500 bond. He’ll appear in Marion County Court on Nov. 7.