Peru, IN - A Kokomo man is facing charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated - Endangerment, Leaving the Scene of Property Damage Accident, and Possession of Paraphernalia following a traffic accident on Hallowe’en evening at Snavely Machine on Industrial Parkway.
According to a PPD probable cause affidavit, Officer Keith Smith was dispatched to Snavely Machine on Industrial Parkway, Peru on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at approximately 8:24 p.m. on the report of a property damage accident where the driver left the scene. Dispatch advised that the caller reporting the incident was following the suspect driving a blue Dodge and they were northbound towards US Route 24 in the area of Life Road and Industrial Parkway. The suspect vehicle was described as being dark green. The caller gave dispatch the license plate number of the vehicle and it returned to a black Chevrolet that was owned by Jeffery W. Browning of Kokomo.
The caller continued to follow the suspect vehicle and relay location information to Dispatch. PPD Officers Westfall and Smith were able to locate the caller’s Dodge and the suspect’s Chevrolet westbound on US Route 24 approaching US Route 31. Officer Westfall initiated a traffic stop with the vehicle coming to a stop on US Route 31, just south of the US 24 underpass.
The male driver was identified as Jeffery W. Browning, 48 of Kokomo. Officers immediate noted that Mr. Browning’s eyes were red and glassy and his speech was slurred. Officer Westfall reported that he observed an open container of alcohol in plain view on the front seat of the vehicle.
When asked where he was coming from, Browning stated: “Snively Machine” near US Route 24. Jeffery was asked to step to the rear of his vehicle. He complied and as he walked to the rear of the car, he staggered and had to catch his balance by placing his left hand against the vehicle. Officer Smith also detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mr. Browning’s breath as he talked.
Mr. Browning denied having anything to drink and denied being involved in a collision.
Browning was asked to participate in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Browning showed 6 of 6 clues during the test. During the test, Officer Smith reported that Jeffery swayed heavily side to side.
While administering the test, Officer Westfall checked the front of the vehicle for fresh damage, which he did find. Browning was then read his rights and agreed to speak with Officers. He stated his vehicle did not have any damage and that no one had driven the vehicle except for himself. He stated that he had driven to work about a half an hour prior, then was sent home because there was no work to be done. He then changed his story and said that when he reported for work, someone was already working at the machine, so he left.
Browning was given a portable breath test and provided a sample of 0.159% breath alcohol content. Jeffery then stated that the machine was wrong and that he had not drunk any alcohol in a month. According to Smith’s report: “At this point, Jeffery’s attitude started to become more hostile and accusatory. Jeffery claimed that we only pulled him over because of his son.” At this point, Mr. Browning was placed in handcuffs and was placed in the backseat of a Peru Police vehicle to be transported to the Miami County Jail for a certified chemical test.
The caller who had reported the incident and followed Mr. Browning had driven back to the scene of the traffic stop and spoke with Officer Westfall. Westfall advised that the man was sitting on a bench near Snavely when Jeffery’s vehicle sped toward it at a high rate of speed. The man went on to say that if he did not hear the vehicle coming or if he hadn’t of jumped out of the way one second later, he would have been run over.
A search of the Chevrolet resulted in the location of an empty 50 ML bottle of Jim Beam on the front passenger seat and a second empty 50 ML Jim Beam bottle on the front passenger floorboard. A brown paper bag contained five more empty 50 ML bottles of Jim Beam behind the front driver’s seat.
A smoking device with the odor of burnt marijuana was also located inside the vehicle.
The vehicle was towed from the scene. Mr. Browning was transported to the Miami County Jail. While en route to the jail, Officer Smith was advised that PPD Officer Rushforth was on scene at Snavely and had spoken with two additional witnesses who saw Jeffery crash into the bench and drive away. When Officer Smith advised Browning of the witnesses, he “claimed I was making that up.”
Upon arrival at the Jail, Mr. Browning refused to take a certified breath test. According to the report, “he became angry that I was accusing him of being intoxicated, and refused to perform further testing. Jeffery stated that I was harassing him because I was young enough to be his son.”
Browning was read Indiana Implied Consent and he refused the chemical test. At this point, he was advised that he was under arrest for Operating While Intoxicated and Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident.
While standing at the book-in counter, Jeffery again became angry that he was being arrested and that he could not hear what Officer Smith was saying in the breath test room. He was asked if he would provide a video statement in an interview room. Browning agreed.
During the recorded statement, “Jeffery continued his harassing and hostile attitude and again denied any involvement with the collision. Jeffery also denied drinking and stated that his alcoholic wife left the bottles in the vehicle.” He again was read implied consent and refused to take the chemical test. When advised that his refusal would result in the loss of his driver’s license for one year, he responded that he did not care and would continue to drive anyway.
Mr. Browning was then left in the custody of the Miami County Jail Staff.
Jeffrey Browning, 48 of Kokomo, IN faces charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated- Endangerment, Leaving the Scene of Property Damage Accident, and Possession of Paraphernalia. He was also cited for an open container violation.
All criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.