A 66-year-old Hawthorne man is being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he was found unconscious in the driver’s seat of a running pickup truck.
On Tuesday, May 31, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the area of NE Highway 314 and E Highway 40 in Silver Springs in reference to a welfare check on a man who was unconscious inside a white pickup truck.
Upon arrival, the deputy observed Joseph Edward Lawson behind the steering wheel of a 2000 Ford-F150 pickup truck, and the engine was still running. Lawson was speaking with Marion County Fire Rescue paramedics who had arrived on scene.
The pickup truck was pulled onto the shoulder of the road, but a trailer that it was towing extended onto the roadway and was partially obstructing the travel lane.
The deputy approached Lawson and observed a half-empty bottle of alcohol in the center cup holder. While speaking with Lawson, the deputy smelled a strong odor of alcohol, and Lawson’s eyes were “bloodshot and glossy,” according to the MCSO report. Lawson was ordered to step outside the vehicle.
Lawson was holding his wallet and had a difficult time locating his driver’s license. When the deputy asked for his license, Lawson attempted to re-enter the truck several times.
The deputy pulled Lawson away from the truck and attempted to close the driver’s side door, but Lawson pushed it back open. In the report, the deputy noted that Lawson became upset and confrontational. Lawson was placed in handcuffs, and when he eventually calmed down, the deputy requested that he perform standardized field sobriety exercises.
Lawson had difficulty following the deputy’s instructions and was unable to perform the exercises. He told the deputy to “take him to jail.” He was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.
The deputy conducted a computer search of Lawson and discovered that his driver’s license was suspended. Lawson also had four prior DUI convictions in Putnam County (1977, 2005, 2017) and Dixie County (2012).
Lawson was released from Marion County Jail on $11,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for driving under the influence of alcohol (fourth or subsequent offense) and driving with a suspended or revoked license (second or subsequent offense).
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.