Unconscious woman in car jailed for DUI

A Columbus woman discovered unconscious inside her vehicle at a city intersection was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

Columbus Police Department officers responded to a report of unconscious person in a vehicle at the intersection Marr Road and North National Road at 6:20 p.m. Sunday, spokesman Lt. Matt Harris said.

Upon their arrival, police discovered that the woman’s vehicle was facing south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 31 and had been driven up onto the curb, Harris said.

Officers also noted that fresh damage on the vehicle was consistent with a street sign that was struck a few blocks away, he said.

Officers woke the driver, identified as Melinda J. Smith, a 40-year-old Columbus resident. While talking with Smith, officers detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath.

They also noted that her balance was so poor that she was unable to stand on her own, Harris said.

Smith was given a portable breath test and provided a sample showing a .353 percent blood-alcohol level — more than four times the legal limit to drive. She was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital for another blood-alcohol test and then transported to the Bartholomew County Jail.

Jail officials said Smith was released after posting bond.

Author photo
Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.