Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy George Hristakopoulos was patrolling the area of Belle Terre Parkway in Palm Coast at 1:30 this morning (June 9) when he saw a white 2012 Volkswagen Passat speeding north on Belle Terre at what he estimated top be 90 mph. Hristakopoulos u-turned in the median and caught up with the Passat at the intersection with Pine Lakes Parkway south, pulling the car over by Wellington Drive.
Erin Johnson, the 26-year-old woman at the wheel of the Passat, was one mile from her house, at 1 Wellshire Lane. She appeared drunk to Hristakopoulos: she had glassy eyes, he noted in her arrest report, and a “moderate” smell of alcohol emitted from the car. Her words were slurred. She didn’t seem to think she’d been speeding. When the deputy asked her for her papers, she stared ahead. Asked again, she said the papers were in her pocket, but offered no help to present them, then allegedly said she’d left them “at the bar.”
When other deputies arrived, Johnson told them that she lived nearby and begged them to let her go home. Hristakopoulos, however, requested that she submit to field sobriety exercises. Johnson refused even after being warned that she could be arrested for refusing. So Hristakopoulos ordered her out of the Passat, telling her she was under arrest.
Johnson refused to step out. Hristakopoulos tried to open her door. It was locked. So he reached into the car and tried to open the door from inside. Johnson, Hristakopoulos wrote, “grabbed my right arm against my will, and began to roll up her driver’s side window on my right arm. I grabbed Ms. Johnson’s left arm, and she began to roll down the window.” But too late not to be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony.
It took three deputies to open the front door of the Passat. Johnson still allegedly refused to get out. The 5’9”, 180-pound woman was then forced out of the car by the group of deputies and placed in handcuffs, but did not comply wioth deputies’ orders to “stop resisting. “Due to the fact that Ms. Johnson was outnumbered,” Hristakopoulos reported, “deputies were able to place Ms. Johnson inside the prisoner compartment of my patrol vehicle without incident. At no time did any deputy strike Ms. Johnson, and at no time was Ms. Johnson injured in any way.”
At the jail, Johnson took two breathalizer tests, one at 2:49 a.m. and one three minutes later. The first test indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.170. The legal limit is 0.08. The second test registered a 0.172. Johnson then passed out, and was unable to sign a citation issued to her.
In addition to the battery charge, Johnson faces a count of drunk driving, a second-degree misdemeanor, and a count of resisting arrest with violence, a third-degree felony. She was booked at the jail at 4:05, but was released without bond, and issued a notice to appear at her arraignment on July 6.
Law suit. Am I being detained? Am I free to go? He can’t reach into her car without a warrant. Call Rue and Zifra today. These Flagler County cops are unprofessional and untrained. People have rights in this country.
Ray Thorne says
First speeding, then what he observed and what he smelled after stopping her….yeah that’s enough to detain her. Lawsuit? Warrant? smh. Educate yourself.
You are so wrong. He absolutely CAN reach into her vehicle; once she disregards a lawful order. She was told to exit the vehicle and failed to do so. At that point, he began effecting an arrest.
It’s people like who you think they know the law that end up getting arrested and crying about “unprofessional” and “untrained” law enforcement officers.
You need to educate yourself, and stop defending people who are clearly placing
the general public in grave danger. How do you condone someone driving 90 mph
with a blood alcohol level of twice the limit? What would you say if this drunk woman
hit and killed a member of YOUR family? I doubt you’d be blabbing about “rights”!
What a worthless piece of garbage. Endangering everyones lives for her own amusement and then attacking the people charged with taking her dangerous self off the road. Lock her up and throw away the key for a few months.
of course says
Did anyone witness the act of the window being rolled up on the officers arm? Seems to me I would have called for back up and then attempted to get her out of the car. Now it’s probably he said, she said. If I were a woman I would have felt intimidated. Just sayin….
Just a thought says
All Flagler County deputies wear video cameras. So yes, there was an unbiased witness.
Police officers now days are so exposed to all the wackos that will kill you in a heart beat. They deserve the publics support and they want to go home to their families after putting up with all the grap they take.
Arthur Melcaccio says
“Gladfly” – You clearly don’t know what you are talking about. Once someone refuses to get out of their vehicle and perform field sobriety exercises (where there is reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired), and then they are told that they are under arrest (multiple times) they HAVE to get out of the vehicle. Otherwise, yes, they can and will be pulled out of the vehicle.
“of course” – If you’ll take the time to read the article, there WAS in fact backup on scene. It’s also all on video, so it’s not he said she said, as you’ve so eloquently suggested.
I thought DUI was a first degree misdemeanor in most states? Anyway, she took a 2nd degree misdemeanor and with her behavior turned it into two felonies. There is a world of difference between a misdemeanor and being charged and maybe even indicted for a felony. She’s 26 now. Most employers will look at those felony charges and possible indictments and say heck no. Hope those drinks were worth it to her. She has really screwed up her life. And then she passed out!
Why couldn’t the officer just escort her home and issued a warning??
Not all, but some cops are BULLIES!!!!
That’s why so many people dislike cops!!
Now cops are bullies when they are trying to do their jobs? Drunk driving is a crime that you get arrested for. It is an act that endangers everyone else on the road. So now because the police were enforcing the laws and protecting the public they are charged with protecting, they are bullies. I can’t help but wonder how some people come up with this stuff………….or how those same people would react if this drunk driver hurt or killed one of their loved ones. In that case, it would be the cops fault that they hadn’t caught her before she hurt some one and they would be criticized for not being around or for being lazy………damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Maybe if she had originally followed the deputy’s orders he may have taken it easy on her. She didn’t so why should he?
Yeah, I’m sure that would work out REALLY well. Cop pulls over inebriated woman. Cop offers her an escort home. During said escort, woman plows head on into family returning from Disney World, killing all of them. Why did cop not arrest her right there? These people would be alive now. Cops are stupid. The lunacy of some is just mind boggling.
Yeah, we should give the benefit of the doubt to an obviously intoxicated individual that they will be able to get home safely, without causing serious harm to herself or anyone else. She’s damn lucky the cop did stop her. If she had killed someone, she would have had to live with that for the rest of her life. If she had killed herself, she wouldn’t even have HAD the rest of life on which to waste her regrets or anything else.
that argument should not even be placed in relation to this story. this is about a drunk woman who decided to drive. she’s WRONG. yes she has rights, but she could have taken off in the car and killed someone had he not forced her out of the car. She was impaired and needed to go to jail.
Why anyone in todays America would want to be a cop is beyond me. Yes there are some bad apples like the cop who shot the guy in the back while running away a few months back but most are good people. today all to many look to make the cop out as the bad guy like with the justified shooting of brown or the cop in Texas who was trying to get a girl to comply and sit down then TWO others run up to him and he not knowing what was about to happen drew his weapon. in that NOBODY was hurt or killed BUT we still have had it all hoover as if something bad happened.