Excessive Speeding Leads to DUI Charge

(Gillette, Wyo.) A suspected drunk driver led police on a high-speed chase early Sunday morning.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17, 19-year-old Jakob Meredith was arrested by the Gillette Police Department after police say he drove 92 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Officers first noticed a Chevrolet Impala traveling east on Second Street at 66 mph, which is a 30 mph zone, according to Lt. Chuck Deaton.

The officers followed the vehicle with their lights off, trying to catch up to it and later saw the vehicle traveling 92 mph near the intersection of Highway 59 and 12th street.

“Obviously they were speeding,” Deaton said.

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Last week, police were unable to pursue a speeder who subsequently crashed into a duplex on Villa Way. In that case, police decided not to pursue, but the driver was pursued by sheriff’s deputies.

Deaton explained Wyoming Statute permits officers to forego traffic laws when they are attempting to pull a vehicle over. At the time of night in which the incident occurred, safety issues regarding an officer traveling at high speeds through intersections to pull a vehicle over without his emergency lights activated were moot.

“At that time of day, they [intersections] would have had flashing yellow lights, so they wouldn’t have ran red lights,” Deaton explained.

Though the GPD has strict policies restricting their ability to conduct vehicle pursuits, Deaton stated that the incident is not classified as vehicle pursuit since the pursuing officer didn’t have his lights on.

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Eventually, Deaton said, police did activate their emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop and Meredith immediately pulled his vehicle over into the McDonald’s parking lot on Highway 59 .

Police say Meredith admitted to being too intoxicated to drive, but refused a field sobriety test. Meredith also told police that the Impala he had been driving was taken from a residence on Force Road without the owner’s permission.

“He also admitted that the two sweaters and gloves that he was wearing were not his,” stated Deaton. The gloves were allegedly taken from the Impala and the sweaters from an ‘unknown truck at an unknown location.’

Deaton said the 19-year-old was operating the vehicle without a required ignition interlock device, which could indicate he had a prior DUI conviction.

After his arrest Sunday, Meredith was charged with DUI, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, speeding 92 mph in a 30 mph zone and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office also issued him a citation for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.