Cops: Driver Slept, Beer in Hand, Gear in Drive

Police found a A 33-year-old man asleep at the wheel, still holding his Corona in one hand, with the car at a stop sign on Old Kings Highway North—while the gear was still in "Drive".

Police say they found a 33-year-old man asleep at the wheel with his car stopped at a stop sign on Old Kings Highway North at 1:20 a.m. Monday.

In his left hand, according to police, was the steering wheel; in his right—a partially filled bottle of Corona (see photographic simulation attached to this article).

Police said the gear was in drive, and the engine was running.

Darien police gave this account of the incident:

An officer on patrol saw a white Ford Explorer stopped at a stop sign on the street and saw the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. A strong odor of alcohol came from inside the vehicle.

The officer tried to wake the driver, Roberto Zavaleta of Fair Street in Norwalk, and succeeded only after numerous attempts. Then Zavaleta failed field sobriety tests and was arrested.

Police determined not only that Zavaleta did not have a driver's license with him, but that he didn't possess one at all.

Police charged him with driving while under the influence and operating a motor vehicle without a license.

Legal Logican September 07, 2012 at 12:10 AM
"I think it an be argued that reducing drunk driving is pragmatic reason in setting up these checkpoints." Using this brilliant argument, you could justify beating down the doors of anyones home, to reduce domestic violence. Simply brilliant, stick with your day job pal.
Help Me, Please September 07, 2012 at 01:01 AM
i prefer driving a semi through Owsley's home without warning but thankfully we still have a constitution with defined and eternal rules!!
Help Me, Please September 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Entrapment is the rule of the day. If it was legal, then why not do it everyday? you cannot disrupt other peoples lives to catch a potential DUI driver. Its silly, indefensible except for people who feel they are not smart enough to make a decision w/o the government guiding them
Angie S. September 07, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Why can't they just look out for drunkards at the same time and in the same manner as they look out for speeders? If you see someone driving irradically, that's reason enough. You can't exactly have a check point and search everyone, but you can sit at your post like you would when trying to nab speeders anywhere along 106 or 124 or 123. What am I missing here? Cracking down on these DUIs and DWIs doesn't necessarily mean setting up checkpoints to search EVERYONE passing through, does it?
Angie S. September 07, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I have personally witnessed enough likely DUI/DWI incidents that, were I actually a police officer, I probably could've nabbed a handful already --- and this without even trying because I was merely driving between Darien and New Canaan running my own routine errands! Makes me wonder why these people weren't caught by a police officer to begin with!
Owsley September 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Legal logician why are you so angry and antagonistic ? No need for ridicule and sarcasm just because you don't agree with someone's opinion. Besides, your supposed rebuttal proposition is meaningless in the context of this discussion. Not very logical for a "legal logician." aren't you so smart, pal.
Owsley September 07, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Help me please, you better back off your threats or I'll have you prosecuted.
sebastian dangerfield September 07, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Legal Logician, However, by a 6-3 decision in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz (1990), the United States Supreme Court found properly conducted sobriety checkpoints to be constitutional. While acknowledging that such checkpoints infringed on a constitutional right, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued the state interest in reducing drunk driving outweighed this minor infringement. While Justice Rehnquist is no longer with us, Im sure that Legal Logician, is more aware of the Constitution than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Not sure which of us should keep our day job, "pal" -but my guess is that you wont backtrack on your statement, because, in general, that is what people of your caliber do.
SKID September 08, 2012 at 01:43 PM
The beer in the pic was full. Why was he charged with dwi?
Dave September 08, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Must have been a long night with Glen
David Gurliacci (Editor) September 08, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I can report from personal recollection that the beer in the pic was definitely sampled several times before that picture was taken, as a comparison with a full bottle of Corona will readily attest. Police said he was charged with DWI after failing field sobriety tests.
Alex Tytler September 08, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Did they notify ICE?
Siwanoy September 08, 2012 at 10:24 PM
100% agree, they dont need more check points, what they need is more officers paying attention, and not sitting at the back of the old darien library, or talking to each other in the way back of the darien train station parking lot...
sebastian dangerfield September 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Dont think its mutually exclusive. Yeah, less cops talking to the BP station guy next to Chucks, and the other hideouts. But they arent hanging out there at 10pm on Saturday nights. So, Im in favor of no warning, notwithstanding the constitutionality----but in it's stead, the concept of checkpoints almost always catch drunk drivers, and Im guessing may serve to keep people off the road or reduce drinking on the nights that people are aware.
betty September 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Luca always knows what cops are doing and why. (always in the negative of course) You all seem like you have such great ideas on how officers should act, what they should do, what they are doing wrong, where they should be, where they should not be, who they should talk to and for how long and what parking lots they should and should not sit in and why. Its always the same people slamming them which is very telling, give it up and get a life. If you called them cause you were in trouble, or scared, they would come...they would ask no questions as to weather you like them, respect them or think they do a good job, they would just come and help you.
citizen September 10, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Wow! Don't people know what cup holders are for anymore? and it's not even a good beer! Corona?
sebastian dangerfield September 10, 2012 at 05:18 PM
betty you think cops are close to saints. I think cops are undereducated, angry people, with power that often gets abused. The fact that you think more highly of them, does not mean you have a life. And when I see the same cars parked for hours at retail businesses, and I see that Darien has far more cops than other towns, and the new police station costs--it does get irritiating. Betty, Im 70+ years old--saw combat duty in Vietnam, and need to still work to pay my bills. I listen to the rationale for their pay versus what I earned for living in crap conditions, and getting real ammunition fired in my direction as opposed to the 'potential ' these guys talk about--and I am entitled, on blogs like these, to point out the inequity I perceive. I read chicago teachers are on strike --demanding a 19% pay increase--and it irks me as well, even when I dont pay chicago taxes. The system has shifted so that the power rests too much with these unions. You wish to support them---that is your right. And its like saying ' the guy at mcdonalds gets paid 135k a year for getting you a hamburger--and he will get it for you if you ask. Yeah--big deal, a cop comes (and will ask questions) if i call. If this was a charity job, like Post 53, then they can sit at the BP station and that is their perogative. When we pay tons of money, and hear why we need to pay them more--its also ok to say why i dont think they need more.
betty September 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
WOW, not sure getting you a hamburger compares, but maybe in your mind it does. and for this reason i will not be going back and forth with you cause you read too much into what everyone says. you are unstable,I didnt say all cops are saints, that would be irrational on the other end of the spectrum that you are on...in fact i said NOTHING like that, but your anger clearly takes over and you just hear what you want. Take care, and speaking of anger..take a chill pill...
sebastian dangerfield September 11, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Thanks very much for agreeing with me. We are basically united in our opinion that cops are overpaid, and undereducated. Thanks.
Angie S. September 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Whoa...what's with the vitriol coming from the likes of betty and Retired N. Wise? Picking on a 70+ year old Vietnam vet only makes YOU look bad not Luca. Insulting Luca doesn't make some points that were made any less valid. Who needs a chill pill? Can we please return this thread to a more civil tone?
Angie S. September 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM
(There are good and bad cops. I've had some run ins with both types as a citizen needing help. The good ones who are helpful make one feel like one's tax dollars are well spent; the bad ones who are completely unhelpful make one feel offended that they constantly demand more money when one doesn't often see what one is getting for the huge sums already being paid here in the northeast. So betty and Luca are both right at least some of the time.)
Siwanoy September 11, 2012 at 03:16 PM
"the concept of checkpoints almost always catch drunk drivers, and Im guessing may serve to keep people off the road or reduce drinking on the nights that people are aware." I have to agree here, even if the notice of a check point causes people to think twice before getting into their car after the bar and calling a taxi instead is well worth it. I
BuckWheat September 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
The most important thing to remember is he did not spill his beer. Nice photo enactment, who's furry ape arms are those?
Bryan September 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Help me Please. I the case of motor vehicles at a check point you are wrong. It has been well litigated that a check point search is legal as long as it is a set number you are searching for a set reason such as DWI. At a check point officers must have established the order which they are searching and not a profiled reason. Such as Every car or every second car not just the ones that appear intoxed or some other criteria. The initial "search" or contact is simply speaking to the driver seeing signs of intoxication and the officer using his senses to detect alcohol. If he develops probable cause from that point then more extensive checks are made.
Chris B. September 13, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I think you are being hard on the guy. If he does not have a driver's licence, how is he supposed to know he should not drink, sleep and drive?
David Gurliacci (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I think I'm just going to keep my hand model's name in witness protection for now, Buck.
David Gurliacci (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Warning: I'm going to be asking the Patch tech people to block the Web address of the person who keeps using sock puppet accounts to attack another Patch user if I see it again, as I saw in a (now deleted) comment in this thread.
Craig Zac September 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM
maybe its the burden of all the $$. it makes them bored. I can help ease that burden though. If you want relief, you can send me some $$$ and I will gladly help to ease your pain. I'm just that good a person that I would do this for complete strangers.
Craig Zac September 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM
No lime slice in it? What the? Sheesh!
Craig Zac September 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Cops are just humans like everyone else.. they have good and bad days. Their are laws to protect us from the police doing us harm or when they are wrong.. But you need to go about it the correct way. Yelling and pitching a fit to the officer isnt the correct way. Acting like an a** is not getting you out of anything. Ever go to a store and the clerk is having a bad day and she / he gives you attitude? Well, it happens. I like the check points personally, its nice to know that the one drunken, stew bum on the road, may be taken off and NOT kill some innocent family or kids! Maybe you all like dead children..I do not.


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