Peru, IN – A sixty-nine-year-old Huntington man faces a charge of Operating While Intoxicated-Refusal after a traffic stop by Peru Police Officers on January 22, 2019, at approximately 3:51 p.m.
According to a probable cause affidavit, PPD Officer Brok Westfall made the stop after being advised by Officer Finnegan that he was following a possible drunk driver in his personal vehicle. Officer Westfall then observed the truck accelerate at a high rate of speed and disregard a stop light at Broadway and Washington.
Officer Westfall activated his emergency lights and proceeded after the truck. The stop took place near the intersection of Broadway and 6th Streets in Peru.
After contacting the driver, identified as Steven R. Schenkel, 69 of Huntington, Officer Westfall explained the reason for the stop and asked for Mr. Schenkel’s license and registration. According to his report, Westfall “had to ask Steven a second time for his license and registration.”
When asked where he was going, Steven advised that he was trying to do something nice for his girlfriend who had recently passed away. While talking with Mr. Schenkel, Officer Westfall observed that his eyes were glassy and he could detect the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle.
When asked if he had been drinking, Mr. Schenkel stated that he had not and was taking medication for a cold.
Mr. Schenkel was then asked to step out of the vehicle to participate in a series of standardized field sobriety tests. Schenkel agreed to take the tests. Officer Westfall’s report indicates that Schenkel used the truck door to pull himself from the truck and he then staggered towards the rear of his truck. When stopped, he started to sway back and forth.
After taking the tests, Schenkel was given a portable breath test with a result of .131 Breath Alcohol Content. Schenkel was then read Indiana Implied Consent and he agreed to take a certified breath test. He was then placed in handcuffs and transported to the Peru Police Department for the test.
Officer Westfall spoke with Officer Finnegan prior to departing and learned that Mr. Schenkel had hit a sign in front of the former “Alco” store. Finnegan had also observed the truck go left of center causing the truck to be mostly in the opposite lane of travel.
While at the Peru Police Department, Officer Westfall was unable to obtain a certified breath sample due to Mr. Schenkel not following directions. He would stop blowing, even after being told to keep blowing.
Steven Schenkel, 69 of Huntington, IN was transported to the Miami County Jail on a charge of Operating While Intoxicated -Refusal.
All criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.