On January 21, 2015, at approximately 12:45 PM, a YCSO Volunteer in Protection (VIP) on patrol alerted dispatchers that he was in sight of an apparent impaired driver southbound on I17. (VIPs are not permitted to make traffic stops). The VIP indicated the car, a silver Nissan sedan, was travelling at various speeds and weaving into adjacent lanes to include the roadway shoulder. After passing the Sunset Point exit, the silver sedan drove in the wrong direction as it entered the onramp used by drivers accessing south I17 from Sunset Point. He continued driving in the wrong direction, entered the parking area and stopped his vehicle.
While waiting for an assisting deputy, the VIP watched the driver exit the sedan to use the restroom and eventually return. When the deputy arrived, he contacted the driver, 68-year-old William Harkins of Tempe. Harkins was immediately confrontational with the deputy, refused to cooperate and yelled incoherently. The deputy could smell the strong odor of alcohol on the breath and person of Harkins who remained belligerent as the deputy attempted to arrest him for DUI. At this time, Harkins took a fighting posture and knocked the deputy’s arm away when the deputy tried to handcuff him. Harkins continued to resist and was forced to the ground so the deputy could control his movement. Harkins then planted his hands under his body, refusing to allow handcuffing. Assisting deputies arrived and Harkins was handcuffed without further problems.
During a check of the vehicle, deputies found a mug in the driver’s compartment filled with an alcoholic beverage. Harkins was treated for minor scratches on his upper body by EMS personnel on scene. He was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including DUI, Open Container, Resisting Arrest (felony), and Reckless Driving. He has since been released pending court.
YCSO appreciates the effort of our volunteer to immediately notify area deputies regarding this driver’s actions on the roadway. With recent stories of wrong way drivers and DUI related collisions resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities, this arrest very likely prevented injury or loss of life.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov