KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- Police arrested a Sweet Road woman after a man who saw her at a gas station called to say she appeared unsafe to drive and had children in her vehicle.
Stephanie M. Predel, 22, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a second offense of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, reckless endangerment, and driving a vehicle with a license suspended for DUI. She was released on conditions that she abide by a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew and not drive.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer James A. Gulley, on June 27 he went to the Cumberland Farms on Northside Drive where a call had come in about a woman who appeared unsteady on her feet and had pulled in to purchase gas with two children in the back of the car.
The person who called, Dereck Jensen, gave a statement the following day in which he said he saw the woman park at the pump before appearing to slump over in the car. She was unsteady on her feet when she got out, and Jensen feared for the children's safety.
Gulley wrote that he identified the driver as Predel and met with her at the gas station. She appeared unsteady on her feet and while she showed no signs of being impaired by alcohol, she displayed a number of clues for being under the influence of a drug while taking a field sobriety test.
Gulley said Bennington Police Cpl. Andy Hunt, who is a certified drug recognition expert, was summoned and he examined Predel before determining her to be under the influence of a narcotic. The results of a blood test taken later supported this, according to the affidavit.
Predel told police that up until four days prior she had been using Suboxone without a prescription in order to treat delirium tremors. She said her doctor had taken her off the Suboxone program. Suboxone is a drug used to treat opiate addiction.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.