FAIRMONT - A 27-year-old Welcome man, Steven Daniel Nowak, faces three charges of felony driving while impaired, along with driving after cancellation.
According to information from the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
Around 5:15 p.m., deputies received a driving complaint call regarding Nowak. The caller stated Nowak was intoxicated and as he drove away from their residence, Nowak spun his truck's tires and tore up the grass in the caller's yard.
A deputy saw a truck that fit the caller's description while en-route to Nowak's rural Welcome residence. The deputy knew Nowak's driving privileges were canceled-inimical to public safety. The deputy saw the truck fishtail as it took off, and the vehicle continued to drive the short distance to Nowak's residence when the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop. When the vehicle stopped and Nowak exited the vehicle, the deputy confronted him about the driving complaint and his canceled license. The deputy noticed Nowak exhibited signs of intoxication, and Nowak initially denied drinking, but later admitted he'd had "a couple" drinks. Nowak had difficulty with field sobriety tests and at one point gave up and said, "Why don't you just take me in?" He was eventually arrested for driving while impaired.
During a pat-down search, Nowak threw a wrapper with a dark-colored substance onto the ground. A back-up officer attempted to pick it up, and Nowak stomped on it. It was determined there was marijuana in the wrapper. Nowak refused to cooperate with police as he was placed into the squad car and also threatened to assault the deputy.
During the ride to the law enforcement center, Nowak also pleaded to be released to take care of a sick relative. Nowak's story about why he was driving also changed several times during this time.
A breath test at the law enforcement center registered a 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit for driving. An open vodka bottle was also found in Nowak's truck. When interviewed, Nowak admitted having a few drinks and feeling the effect, but also reported he had smoked marijuana, and felt the effect of that too.
A background check showed Nowak's license as canceled-inimical to public safety, and that he had prior driving while impaired convictions from 2006 and 2010.
The three felony counts of driving while impaired each carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. The charge of driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Nowak also faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing the legal process, open bottle and possession of a small amount of marijuana.