Chatsworth man charged with DUI after crashing on I-75 early Friday morning in Whitfield County
According to a Whitfield County Sheriff's Office incident report, on Friday, October 9th, 2020, at approximately 12:18 AM, a deputy was dispatched to I-75 southbound near mile marker 337 in reference to a crash with injuries. Officer Byrd arrived on the scene first advised that both occupants were complaining of minor injuries. The deputy arrived on the scene and began investigating the crash. Deputy Pack observed a 2016 Dodge Challenger on its side with extensive front end damage. The Challenger was damaged to a point where deputies were initially unable to tell what kind of vehicle it was. A deputy spoke with the driver, Bernard Paez, 24 of Chatsworth. Paez advised that he and his passenger, Rosemary Alvarez, were coming back from Hamilton Place Mall and were heading back to Dalton. Paez stated that another passenger car cut him off, causing him to swerve and hit a puddle of water, causing him to hydroplane. The deputy informed Paez that it was not raining and the roadway was dry. While speaking with Paez, the deputy noticed that his eyes were red and glossy. He also noticed that his speech seemed thick and slurred when he spoke. The deputy asked Paez if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages that evening. He said that he had approximately two beers earlier in the evening. As he continued to speak, the deputy began to detect the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Paez's person. Approximately 825 feet north of where Paez's vehicle came to rest, the Challenger struck a guardrail on the slow lane side of I-75. After striking the guardrail, the Challenger crossed all three lanes of travel, left the roadway, and began traveling in the grass. The Challenger continued traveling and started up the embankment towards the northbound side of I-75. As the Challenger was traveling up the embankment, it struck several trees, flipped over, and came to a final uncontrolled rest facing north. The deputy located the vehicle's rear bumper and license plate approximately 20 feet up the embankment in a small tree.
Hamilton EMS informed the deputy that Paez wanted to be transported to the emergency room. The deputy stepped into the back of the ambulance and again detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. The deputy checked for horizontal gaze nystagmus. Paez showed many signs of impairment. The deputy believed Paez was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that he was less safe to operate a vehicle. Paez was read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice for Suspects age 21 or Over and agreed to the state testing. Alvarez, the front seat passenger, informed the deputy that they were coming back from Chattanooga. While speaking with her, the deputy detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from her person as well. She said that they went to Hooter's in Chattanooga first and then went to Dave and Buster's. Alvarez stated that she had consumed just one alcoholic beverage earlier in the evening. Once released from Hamilton Medical center Paez was transported to the Whitfield County Jail charged with arrest for failure to maintain lane and DUI - alcohol - less safe.