A 70-year-old woman Ocala woman who said she had recently taken her prescription medication was charged with DUI last recently after she nearly crashed head-on into a Marion County sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car while going the wrong way on a divided highway.
The deputy was traveling east on NW 20th Street at around 9 p.m. on Jan. 11 when he saw a blue vehicle turn right from NE Jacksonville Road and start traveling towards him. He soon realized the vehicle was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The blue Kia sedan almost struck the deputy’s vehicle head-on before the deputy was able to turn around and conduct a traffic stop. The deputy spoke with the driver – Caryn Dianne VanZandt, of 1222 E. 22nd Ave. – and immediately observed several indicators that she was impaired. He asked for another deputy to respond, the report said.
The second deputy observed VanZandt’s speech was slow and slurred, and her eyes were bloodshot and watery. She seemed to be emotional and experiencing mood swings. VanZandt was unable to say with confidence where she was coming from or where she was going, according to the report.
The deputy did not recognize any unusual odors coming from VanZandt or her vehicle. Asked if she had anything to drink, she said she didn’t, but when asked about prescription medications, she would not give a clear answer. VanZandt agreed to perform a series of field sobriety exercises, during which she said she was going to “flunk” them and to “just take me to jail,” the report said.
After failing the exercises and being placed under arrest, VanZandt provided a breath sample, which came back with results of .022 and .020. She also provided a urine sample. An inventory search of her vehicle turned up a pill bottle containing Alprazolam and Dextroamphetamine, which are consistent with the indicators of impairment VanZandt showed, according to the report.
After being read her Miranda warning, VanZandt said she had recently taken her prescription medication. She declined to complete a drug influence evaluation and was taken to the Marion County Jail, where she was released Wednesday on $1,000 bond. VanZandt will appear in Marion County Court on March 3.