FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Shortly before midnight on St. Patrick’s Day, a Washington County sheriff’s captain was arrested in West Fork for driving while intoxicated and driving left of center.
According to a preliminary report, Sabrina Mason, 44, of West Fork, was arrested shortly after 11:30 p.m. near I-49 and Wilson Street.
The report states that an officer at a service station was informed by a clerk about an interaction with a woman she believed to be intoxicated. Before exiting the parking lot, an officer noticed a vehicle having difficulty attempting to leave.
The officer watched the vehicle turn eastbound onto Wilson street and noticed it “took an abnormal time to merge” lanes, and later it traveled while “it straddled the center lane markings.” The vehicle continued eastbound, passed the I-49 southbound off-ramp, and “then drifted across its lane” and “drove with its passenger-side tires on the shoulder.”
According to the report, the vehicle continued to drift across lanes, came to a complete stop in the middle of the road, turned the wrong way and began to go the wrong way on the northbound I-49 off-ramp. Officers then stopped the vehicle.
After approaching the car, the officer reported “the strong odor of intoxicants emitting from the vehicle.” The officer then heard “law enforcement radio traffic” coming from inside the vehicle. Mason confirmed that she worked for the sheriff’s office and the officer noted that “her words were mumbled and her eyes were bloodshot and watery.”
She reportedly requested that the officer “not run her name,” and told the officer her rank in the sheriff’s office. The officer attempted to administer a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), but she refused to take it correctly. He reported that he ended the test early with a result of .171%.
The legal limit for blood alcohol content for driving in Arkansas is .08%.
The officer proceeded to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s) and initially observed several clues of intoxication. The officer added that the road was smooth, with no surface defects noted. Lighting conditions consisted of patrol vehicle headlights, a spotlight, overhead lights and the officer’s flashlight.
A subsequent “walk and turn” test and a raised leg test each resulted in more clues of intoxication, according to the officer, with the suspect completely stepping off of a straight line multiple times.
The suspect’s second PBT resulted in a reading of .194%.
Based on “the totality of the circumstances,” Mason was arrested. Her unmarked service vehicle was released to the sheriff’s office, and the suspect was transported to the Farmington Police Department to attempt a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test. She failed to take the test quickly enough, and the test resulted in a “Deficient Sample.”
She was transported to Washington Regional Medical Center and refused to take a test there once inside. The officer then transported her to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. She has a court date scheduled for April 25.
In a social media post, the sheriff’s office stated that Mason was “promptly terminated” after her arrest.
KNWA/FOX24 reported the story last year when Mason became the first woman promoted to captain in the county sheriff’s office.