COVINGTON — A woman allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and possibly nitrous oxide with two small children in the car traveled for several miles with a deputy attempting to pull her over before finally pulling over after the deputy yelled at her to stop.
Newton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Holbrook was patrolling the area of Ga. Highway 81 near Porterdale around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, when he was nearly struck head-on by a black Dodge Avenger that had crossed over the center line, according to the incident report.
He turned his patrol car around and began following the Avenger, which was driven by 32-year-old Ashlee Diamond White of 55 Grayson Lane. White continued driving and eventually turned onto Salem Road. The deputy noticed that she crossed over the center line several times, at one point almost striking another oncoming vehicle.
White led Holbrook past both South Salem Elementary School and Liberty Middle School before turning right onto McGiboney Road.
“Once on McGiboney Road, the vehicle continued driving at a slow pace,” the deputy reported. “The vehicle came to a crawling pace, but still would not stop. I stopped my patrol vehicle, got out and yelled at the driver to stop the vehicle. The vehicle came to a sudden stop.”
Holbrook stated he approached White’s car with his duty weapon unholstered, but he re-holstered the gun when he saw a child approximately 2 years old in the backseat and what appeared to be a 5-year-old in the front seat, he stated.
When he went to speak with the driver, Holbrook noticed she had “bloodshot watery eyes and had a dazed, confused look on her face,” he stated in the report. “While speaking with Ms. White, I smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her person.”
White reportedly told the deputy she had only had one Lime-a-Rita and would not consent to any field sobriety tests. She was placed under arrest while deputies searched her car, where they found a bag of marijuana along with whip-it cartridges in the front seat area. They also found a whip-it canister and a box half full of whip-it in the rear passenger floor board, according to the incident report.
NCSO Sgt. Cortney Morrison said whip-it, or nitrous oxide — also commonly known as laughing gas — provides users a short-lived euphoric high.
“It is almost like a feeling of a brain freeze,” she said. “It is extremely addictive and is more toxic than huffing paint. There have been deaths associated with the use of nitrous oxide.”
Morrison said that even though nitrous oxide is a legal substance, “you can still be charged with DUI if you do whip-its and get behind the wheel, regardless of the time period. Our deputies are trained how to observe any deviation in normal behavior, and even if it is a short-lived high, people act and behave differently.”
White was transported to the Newton County Detention Center and charged with fleeing or attempting to elude, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, failure to signal, improper lane usage, DUI and endangering a child while DUI.