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Posted: April 11, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Erratic driver arrested on drug charges

A call regarding an erratic driver on the interstate ended with an arrest on drug charges early Friday morning.

An officer from the Covington Police Department was dispatched to Interstate 20 east and told to look for a blue Mustang. The complainant, a truck driver, stayed on the line and informed the officer when he could see his patrol car, allowing the officer to pull behind the Mustang as it passed.

According to reports, the officer followed the vehicle for approximately a quarter of a mile and in that time saw the Mustang merge from the far left to the center lane and from there to the far right lane without signaling, straddling the dotted lines of the road and at one point, swerve into the other lane before the driver corrected herself. At this point, the officer activated his emergency lights and pulled the vehicle over off-ramp at exit 92 without incident.

The officer approached the vehicle and knocked on the driver’s side window and the driver, later identified as 22-year-old Lateisha Harriott, reportedly rolled down the left rear passenger window instead. Once she finally corrected her mistake and opened her window to speak with the officer, he reported that he could smell the odor of alcohol coming from her as she spoke with him.

Harriott was asked if she was alright and she allegedly replied that she was "fine." She also reportedly admitted to "having a few drinks earlier while she was at work." The officer asked her if she would perform field sobriety tests and she agreed to do so, according to reports. However, during the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test she moved her head from side to side instead of just following with her eyes. She was also unable to walk a straight line, though she did attempt to do so on three separate occasions.

Due to various signs while performing these tests, the officer began to suspect that Harriott may be under the influence of more than alcohol and asked for permission to search her vehicle, which she reportedly granted.

During the search the officer located a pill bottle in the center console of the vehicle, with three different types of pills inside. The officer took them to his vehicle to enter them into a search engine in order to identify what they were but according to reports, Harriott spoke up from the backseat where she was sitting and told the officer the pills were Xanax and Hydrocodone and that she had a prescription for them.

The officer located five Xanax, three Hydrocodone and seven Naproxen (another type of pain reliever) pills in the vehicle. Harriott was placed under arrest and charged with DUI alcohol/drugs, possession of schedule III and IV narcotics, failure to maintain lane and drugs not kept in their original container. She was transported to the Newton County Detention Center.

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