Travis Williams

Travis Williams 

A Morganton man who was charged with driving while impaired after crashing his truck Monday told police he had been drinking vanilla extract and milk, according to an arrest report.

Officer C.A. Miller of the Morganton Department of Public Safety was driving during a heavy rain on East Union Street when he saw a damaged white Ford truck off the road near Center Street, the report said.

The truck had major front-end damage and appeared to have crashed into a utility pole, the report said. The pole was split in two.  

Miller approached the truck and saw Travis Lejuan Williams, 43, of 2nd Street in Morganton, sitting in the driver’s seat, the report said. The truck still was on, the horn was blowing and the wipers were moving.

Miller asked Williams if he was OK, the report said. Williams said he was fine, but he was slurring his speech and “had a gaze look in his eyes,” the report said. A strong vanilla odor was coming from the truck, the report said.

Williams slowly reached for his license and told Miller he was crippled, the report said. He also asked Miller multiple times if he could drive his truck home, but Miller told him the front right wheel was completely missing, the report said.

When the rain eased up, Miller asked Williams to get out of the truck, the report said. Williams needed help to stand and told Miller he had multiple neck surgeries, the report said.

As Williams was telling Miller he was not driving under the influence, Miller noticed the smell of vanilla on his breath, the report said.

Williams agreed to take a breathalyzer test, which showed Williams’ blood alcohol content was 0.26, the report said. A person is legally drunk when their BAC is 0.08.

Because Williams was having trouble moving, Miller was unable to administer any other impairment tests, the report said. Williams was placed into custody for suspicion of DWI.

Williams told officers he needed a cane to walk, the report said. Miller and another officer helped Williams to a patrol car, but he told officers his knee hurt. Burke County EMS responded to the scene, the report said.

Officer Gragg found four empty bottles of vanilla extract in the truck, the report said. There also was a half-empty bottle in the driver’s door. The bottles were labeled as containing 35 percent alcohol.

The FDA states that vanilla extract must have an ethyl alcohol content of 35 percent by volume or higher. Products that contain 35 percent alcohol by volume also are known to be 70 proof and include Jägermeister and Captain Morgan rum.

EMS transported Williams to a local hospital, where Williams agreed to a blood test, the report said. While at the hospital, Williams told police he had been drinking the vanilla extract mixed with milk, the report said.

Williams was released from custody at the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Miller also charged him with a safe movement violation and exceeding a safe speed, the report said.

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