Archive

How did 2 drivers team up to stop suspected drunken driver at night? They yelled | TribLIVE.com
Regional

How did 2 drivers team up to stop suspected drunken driver at night? They yelled

Bob Bauder
gtrturnpikeDUI120117
State police say Good Samaritans stopped a suspected DUI driver at mile marker 15.8 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
gtrturnpikeDUI120117
State police say Good Samaritans stopped a suspected DUI driver at mile marker 15.8 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Pennsylvania State Police praised two motorists Thursday for stopping a drunken driver on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but said the Good Samaritans should have reported the situation and allowed officers to handle it.

“It could have gone one of two ways,” said Trooper Timothy Amy of the Gibsonia state police station, who investigated. “Fortunately it went the good, safe way, or it could have been really bad.”

The two drivers, whom Amy declined to identify, were heading west on the turnpike in North Sewickley, Beaver County, around 10 p.m. when they saw a vehicle in front of them weaving across both lanes. Amy described the driver, Frank Ray Blackmon, 53, of Waynesburg as “extremely intoxicated” and said he nearly struck a concrete median on one side of the highway and an embankment on the other. Amy charged Blackmon, whose license was previously suspended, with drunken driving.

“They saw how horribly he was driving and knew something bad was going to happen,” Amy said. “He could not maintain a lane.”

The drivers coordinated by yelling at each other through open windows, Amy said, and one of them called 911.

They pulled their vehicles abreast behind Blackmon’s Chevrolet Impala and slowed traffic behind them by activating their flashers. Then they maneuvered on either side of Blackmon’s car and slowly forced him to the shoulder.

“Fortunately everything worked out, and they did a really good deed,” Amy said, adding that the drivers had no experience in executing a controlled traffic stop. “They even got him to put his car in park and give them his keys.”

But police said motorists should not attempt to stop drunken drivers, particularly on a busy interstate.

“You shouldn’t engage these people because you don’t know what the situation is,” said North Sewickley police chief Ronald Leindecker, who was not involved in the turnpike incident.

“It could be a criminal incident happening, not even a drunk driver. If it is a drunk driver they could be a belligerent person and want to fight or pull a gun. You never know what might happen,” Leindecker said.

State police spokesman Cpl. Adam Reed said motorists should call 911 and provide as much information as possible, including a description of the vehicle and driver, location and direction of travel and a license plate number.

“Certainly there could be exigent circumstances if you feel someone’s life might be in immediate danger, but that should be reserved for very exigent circumstances,” Reed said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing that can be very dangerous.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or @bobbauder.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.