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Man charged with DUI after seeming to pass out behind the wheel

COVINGTON — Sleep apparently overtook one Covington man who stopped in the middle of a major thoroughfare in Newton County around 3:30 in the morning.

A Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputy patrolling the area of Brown Bridge Road early Tuesday saw a 2005 GMC Yukon stopped in the middle of the road near the intersection with Hardwood Drive.

“The vehicle was in the middle of Brown Bridge Road with two suspects inside who appeared to be sleeping, but the driver’s foot was still on the brake,” said NCSO Deputy Cortney Morrison.

The deputy walked over to the passenger’s side door and knocked on the window, but the passenger did not respond. The deputy then knocked on the driver’s side window, at which point he woke up and began to leave the scene, Morrison said.

The deputy then jumped into his patrol car and, along with another deputy who responded, began to follow the SUV as it fled down Brown Bridge Road, weaving and reaching speeds as much as 63 mph or as slow as 10 mph.

Morrison said the Yukon eventually pulled over and stopped near Veterans Memorial Middle School.

When the deputies approached the vehicle, they noticed that the driver appeared passed out.

“He would pick up his head and it would drop back down, all the while he was mumbling,” Morrison said.

The deputies found open beer containers in the console and had to remove the driver and passenger from the SUV, she said.

The driver, Johnny Hardeman, 38, of 10154 Morris Drive S.W., was arrested and charged with DUI, obstruction of law enforcement officer, speeding, failure to maintain lane, failure to stop at a stop sign, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement officers, and open container violation.

The passenger was not charged.