Meridian man called a hero after pulling over intoxicated driver

Meridian man pulls over intoxicated driver.

MERIDIAN - Many are calling a Meridian man a hero after this weekend.

John Smith and his younger brother were driving near the Garrity exit on the interstate when they noticed the truck in front of them was swerving and also almost hit a couple of cars.

After calling 911 Smith decided he needed to do something.

"She almost hit my little sister that was driving in front of me," said Smith. "We were following her to her house."

The driver of the truck eventually turned onto 10 Mile Road and then turned again onto Cherry Road in Meridian.

"I got next to her and that's when I saw that she wasn't drunk," said Smith. "She was on drugs, she was clearly on drugs. I have no doubt that if I didn't stop her at that point she would've hit a house or somebody on that sidewalk."

Smith pulled alongside the truck and began honking to get the driver's attention after she went up on the curb and came back onto the street. He then yelled at the driver to pull over.

Smith says when he was walking towards the truck, he knew the driver could be armed.

"When I saw she wasn't looking, she was looking down, that's when I approached quickly," Smith said. "I went to the back of her window to where if she were to pull something I could react accordingly."

Then Smith took the driver, later identified as Kristi Wiegand, to the sidewalk to sit down.

"When I asked her what she was on she instantly said. 'I'm not on anything,' " said Smith.

That would turn out to not be the case. Meridian police officers did a breath test on scene.

"The level of intoxication did not match the level of impairment that we were witnessing," said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea with the Meridian Police Department. 

So they brought in a drug recognition expert and found she was under the influence of illicit drugs.

"We also did find some drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle which helped with that determination as well," Basterrechea said.

Basterrechea said while he was watching the video, he was on edge.

"She was in a very large truck," Basterrechea said. "You're talking about a deadly weapon there."

Although this situation didn't go as badly as it could have, you might ask the question: "Did John do the right thing?"

"They could've swerved into the vehicle trying to get their attention to stop," Basterrechea said. "Tthey may have stopped and they may have been armed. The rule of thumb for us is we would rather people don't take action, but there's always the exception to the rule."

This, Basterrechea says, is that exception.

"You have to make that decision as a citizen whether that risk outweighs the consequences," Basterrechea said. 

Wiegand was arrested and is facing three charges including driving while under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving without privileges.

As for Smith, he says although a life in law enforcement would be nice, he is happy with his current job.  

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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