An Alzheimer patient’s self-professed caregiver was arrested March 14 after Covington police officers reportedly found her to be intoxicated while driving — with her patient.
Officers received a call from a concerned citizen who had witnessed a single car accident around 4 p.m. When officers arrived, they found a small green car had struck the median barrier, crossed all three lanes of traffic and struck a guardrail before coming to a stop.
They made contact with the driver, identified as 47-year-old Sally Humphries, who was reportedly standing outside of the vehicle. Officers allegedly noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the inside of the vehicle through the open door.
As officers spoke with Humphries they reportedly noticed that her breath reeked of alcohol, leading them to believe she had been drinking. Due to the rainy weather, she was asked to sit in front seat of a patrol car so they could speak with her further, while another officer went to her vehicle to speak with the passenger.
According to reports, Humphries’ passenger was a 93-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease and Humphries allegedly told officers she was the women’s primary caregiver. The officers reported that Humphries told them the woman’s condition had progressed to the point that she was unable to perform normal, everyday tasks on her own and that her communication skills were also quite poor.
While speaking with Humphries inside of the closed up patrol car, the smell of alcohol was nearly overwhelming, according to reports. When asked how much she had to drink she reportedly told the officer she hadn’t been drinking. When he informed her he could smell alcohol on her breath Humphries allegedly admitted to having one beer.
As they were speaking she reportedly kept inching toward the door of the patrol car and actually opened the door and put a leg out while speaking with the officer. She allegedly told the officer she needed to speak with her passenger. She was assured that her passenger was fine and that the other officer was taking care of the woman.
While the officer spoke with Humphries, the other officer that was with the elderly patient motioned for his co-worker to come over to Humphries’ vehicle and pointed to the floorboard on the driver’s side. There, reportedly in plain sight, was what officers believed to be the end of a burnt marijuana cigarette.
Humphries was asked to stand behind her vehicle and one of the officers asked her when she last smoked marijuana, to which she allegedly replied "’bout three days ago." She was asked to perform sobriety tests and she reportedly agreed to do so, but failed all the tests.
She told officers she had graduated high school and that she did know her alphabet. When she was told to recite her alphabet without singing the song and she reportedly recited A-F, inserted V for G and then continued to "recite unrecognizable combinations of letters in short strings that were not in sequence, ultimately ending with an emphatic Z." According to reports, the officer estimated Humphries has recited an alphabet that contained between 35-40 letters rather than the standard 26.
Humphries was then placed under arrest. She reportedly began telling officers that she needed to check on her passenger and that she wanted to "get her things" from the vehicle but she was denied.
Officers attempted to speak with the passenger but the report indicates the woman could not communicate well. They eventually determined she was attempting to tell them her chest was hurting and EMS was immediately called to the scene. The woman was transported to Newton Medical Center and officers attempted to reach her family members by phone but were unsuccessful at that time. It is unknown whether police were able to reach the family.
While transporting Humphries to the Newton County Detention Center, officers received a call from emergency room personnel who reportedly needed an officer to come and collect items that were found inside the bag that arrived at the ER with the elderly patient. According to reports, when officers arrived they were given a large plastic bag contained suspected marijuana that had been in the Alzheimer’s patient’s bag.
Humphries was charged with DUI and, since the suspected marijuana weighed roughly two ounces, felony possession of marijuana.