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Woman claims tow truck driver took off with her SUV

CPD charges man with 3rd DUI after striking a moving vehicle

COVINGTON — One woman’s bad day got worse when a tow truck driver she hired apparently never showed up at the repair shop with her broken-down vehicle.

The victim called the Covington Police Department Tuesday afternoon to report that her 2004 Ford Expedition had broken down in the Krystal’s parking lot on U.S. Highway 278.

“She did a Google search on her phone and called the wrecker company that showed up,” CPD Officer John Seabolt reported.

Within five minutes of calling, a black rollback tow truck with blue and gray writing showed up. The tow truck driver loaded her SUV and told her to meet him at AutoZone so she could repair her vehicle, the report states..

“When she arrived, the wrecker and her vehicle were not there,” the officer reported. “She again phoned the number. She spoke with a female who told her that the driver was near Sonic and was en route to her.”

When the tow truck driver never showed up at the auto repair and supply store, she called the police.

“I had dispatch check with all the wrecker services in the area and non had towed the vehicle,” Seabolt stated.

The officer asked the victim to fax information about her vehicle to the Covington Police Department; however, she had not done so by the time he filed his report later that day.

In other crime news, the CPD arrested a man early Saturday morning and charged him with his third DUI after he struck a car and continued driving down U.S. 278.

CPD Officer John Laudermilk was standing in the parking lot of CVS on U.S. 278 around 2 a.m. when he heard tires sliding and then saw a black Dodge pickup truck run over the curb and drive around a green Saturn automobile and continue traveling east on U.S. 278.

“I exited the parking lot onto Mill Street and heard the driver of the green Saturn yelling, ‘that truck just hit me,’” Officer Laudermilk reported.

Laudermilk caught up with the truck and pulled him over near Ginn Dodge.

The driver, 39-year-old Richard Blankenship of 2091 Woodlawn Road, appeared to have no recollection of the accident, the officer reported.

“Due to the slurred speech of Mr. Blankenship, I asked if had been drinking. He advised he had five beers,” the report states.

When Blankenship stepped out of his vehicle, he had to hold on the bed of the truck to balance himself, Laudermilk said.

“I again asked Mr. Blankenship how many beers he had consumed. He answered five or six,” the report states.

The man told the officer he had been drinking at a local bar and was on his way home.

“Mr Blankenship then advised me that he was drunk,” Laudermilk reported.

The officer then administered a field breath test, which showed that Blankenship’s blood alcohol level was .257. He was placed under arrest and escorted to the Newton County Detention Center, where two additional breath tests showed his alcohol count was .268 and .273, the report states.

“Mr. Blankenship advised me at the jail that he has already had two previous DUIs. At this time, I cited him for his third DUI,” Laudermilk reported.