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Covington sees increase in DUIs over Memorial Day weekend

With a three-day holiday weekend comes a lot of celebration and sometimes a lot of drinking.

For the 2016 Memorial Day Weekend, Covington saw a small increase in the number of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses over the previous year. While only one DUI was reported this time last year, there were four this past weekend, according to the Covington Police Department.

Two of the offenses occurred in the three days leading up to Memorial Day, while two were reported on the actual holiday.

On May 27, Ashley Barnes was charged with DUI alcohol or drugs, an open container violation and a traffic violation after leaving a QuickTrip gas station on Highway 278 without turning on his headlights. According to incident reports, the responding officer attempted to warn Barnes to turn his headlights on, but he failed to do so.

When Barnes was pulled over, the officer noticed an open beverage in his cupholder. In addition to failing the sobriety test, Barnes was arrested after it became known that he was wanted for probation violation.

Officers responded to a traffic offense on May 28 after receiving a call that a vehicle was driving in the middle of the lanes with children inside, reports said. The driver of the vehicle was pulled over on Interstate 20 after officers took note of his driving. Reports said the driver, Ricardo Bradford, appeared to be in a daze, telling the officer that he believed he was still in Augusta where he had just left.

After Bradford failed to comply with a sobriety test and breathalyzer, he was placed under arrest. All five children in the car were transported to the Covington Police Station to be picked up by their guardians.

On Monday, officers were dispatched to an AutoZone on Elm Street for a possible public intoxication. Reports Covington Police units were called to the scene two times prior about a publicly intoxicated white male entering and exiting the premises. Officers caught up with the vehicle of the male, who was identified as Vincent Labowicz, and pulled him over.

When Labowicz exited the vehicle, officers noticed he had urinated on himself and that there were several open containers in his vehicle. Reports said he then told officers that his son was a Walton County Sheriff and asked for a ride home, but the officers could not comply. Labowicz refused a field sobriety test and was arrested and charged with DUI and an open container violation.

On that same day, Amber Curtis was pulled over after failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign on Hazelbrand Road and failing to use her turning signal. Officers said Curtis showed signs of having “cotton mouth,” which is a sign of marijuana use. After searching the vehicle, officers found suspected marijuana wrapped in plastic. Curtis was then arrested and transported to Piedmont Medical Center for a blood test.