A Lafayette police officer followed up a routine DUI arrest by insisting on a medical examination that resulted in the suspect/victim going into surgery for a brain injury.
A week before the DUI arrest, the man had fallen in his bathroom and injured his head. "When officers contacted the mother of the driver, she was certainly upset and had apparently been trying to get her son to see a physician since the injury," wrote Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen in an email.
Christensen gave the following account:
At 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Lafayette police units responded to a collision involving a wrong-way driver on divided Pleasant Hill Road at Reliez Station Road.
The officers found a lone male subject sitting in the driver's seat of a Volkswagen Jetta in the right-hand lane of southbound Pleasant Hill Road. A front tire was missing — the driver had been driving on the rim. Officers smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver's breath. The driver said he was not injured and failed a series of Field Sobriety Tests.
The driver was placed under arrest for DUI and transported to the Lafayette Police Station. Officer Parker became concerned that the driver's behavior, mental status and overall condition was inconsistent with the Blood Alcohol Content identified during the testing. Officer Parker again questioned the driver if he had been injured during the collision or had suffered a previous injury. Again, the driver responded that he was not injured and refused medical treatment. A wary Officer Parker requested an ambulance respond to the Police Department.
During an examination, the medics identified a golf ball-sized injury to the rear of the driver's head. The driver said he had fallen in his bathroom seven days prior, and the injury had not improved. The driver was transported to the hospital, where hours later he was taken into surgery for the treatment of sub-cranial bleeding, which was placing pressure on his brain.
"Another officer told me that the driver was very lucky that Officer Parker had been so insistent that the behaviors of the driver did not match the symptoms displayed by the driver," wrote Christensen.
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