Man was drunk when he flipped car, found walking barefoot, police say

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3411242_web1_vnd-NelsonArrest-011121COURTESY OF KISKI POLICEPolice say Ryan Nelson, 20, was suspected of driving under the influence when he flipped his car in Kiski Township on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

A Vandergrift man has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after police say he crashed his car while drunk on Friday in Kiski Township.

Police said Ryan Lee Nelson, 20, had a blood alcohol content of 0.147% when police found him walking barefoot along the road in nearby Apollo, according to a criminal complaint. The legal limit is .08% in Pennsylvania.

Nelson had a 16-year-old boy with him, who also was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Sgt. Thomas Dessell Jr. said he was doing routine patrol shortly before 11 p.m. Friday when he was dispatched to a reported vehicle accident along Sugar Hollow Road in the vicinity of Eckman Road.

Dessell said police found a lone car that had overturned onto its roof on the side of the road. No one was in the car or in the immediate area of the crash, and the front passenger door was partially ajar, police said.

Police determined the car was registered to Nelson, and were able to find a picture of him through a police records system.

When a tow driver got to the scene to tow the car, he told police he saw two men walking along North 11th Street in Apollo. The driver said one of the men had no shoes on, and both were covered in mud.

Dessell went to the area and spoke with the men. Dessell said Nelson was barefoot and the teen wasn’t wearing a jacket despite the freezing temperature.

The complaint didn’t identify the teen, other than to say he was from Saltsburg.

Nelson told Dessell he was driving fast while traveling south along Sugar Hollow Road. As he crested the hill along Sugar Hollow Road near Ohio Street, the car became airborne and rolled over.

Nelson said he was able to crawl out of the damaged car, and began walking along Sugar Hollow Road to get back to his house, according to the complaint.

Both Nelson and the teen showed signs of impairment including slurred speech and glassy eyes, Dessell said.

Nelson told Dessell he had had a few alcoholic drinks prior to the crash. Nelson refused to say if anyone was in the car with him when it crashed, or why the teen was with him, Dessell said.

The teen told Dessell he was friends with Nelson, and was checking on him after receiving a phone call. The teen denied being in the car at the time of the crash, but would not tell Dessell where he was coming from, the complaint said.

Dessell said he searched the teenager at the scene, and found him to be in possession of two folded $1 bills containing one gram of methamphetamine.

Nelson and the teen were both taken to the police station, where Nelson submitted to a breath test that yielded a blood alcohol content reading of 0.147%. He was charged with DUI, underage drinking, and traffic violations, police said.

Police said the teen will be charged in a juvenile complaint with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, underage drinking and public drunkenness. Both were released to family members, police said.

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