Eyewitness report from drunk driver destruction yesterday | Arkansas Blog

Eyewitness report from drunk driver destruction yesterday

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1421 Cumberland, after drunk driver paid a call. - MATT AMARO
  • Matt Amaro
  • 1421 Cumberland, after drunk driver paid a call.

A really, really drunk driver with eight empty cans of Colt 45 on board yesterday hit cars on Martin Luther King Boulevard and another couple on Scott Street before it smashed into a house at 1417 Cumberland St., backed up, and drove into 1421 Cumberland. At the police station, suspect Paul Sonny, 55, of Camden decided to punch and kick an officer at the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office where he was taken for a breathalyzer test; she gave him a dose of pepper spray and threw him into a cell. Blood alcohol level: .247. Legally drunk level: .08. 

Artist and DJ Byron Werner, who lives in the house at 1421 Cumberland, provided his eyewitness account. He said around 4:30 p.m. he heard a crash outside and "thought maybe I should look out." He heard another crash before he could get to the door, where he sees his friend's "beautiful Cadillac is smashed in on the back. It takes a lot to smash in a Cadillac. .. So I'm feeling bad about the car, poor Greg [owner of the car], when I realize this guy is slamming into the house next door to the south on 15th Street. As I watch he kinds of backs up, makes a big loop — taking out part of the house on the corner — and is driving across my porch," just a couple of feet away from the house proper. At that stage, Werner jumped back indoors and called 911, providing a partial license plate number; the next thing he knew the driver was "aimed right at my house. ... It looked like he was going to drive right up my hallway." The driver hit a tree instead, backed up and then headed east on Daisy Bates. 

Werner's house is an 1884 Italianate "mirror house," two houses that share a common wall and porch. A big section of the porch and its railing are gone, but, in a surprising turn, suspect Sonny had insurance and the information was provided to Werner to give to his property manager.

Werner said he will not incorporate the incident into his art. "I don't incorporate reality," he said.

Police said Sonny, driving a maroon SUV, was apprehended in the 200 block of East 17th Street. Besides the empties, there were 12 full cans of Colt 45.

The police said Sonny faces charges of reckless driving, three counts of leaving the scene of an accident, driving while intoxicated and two counts of second-degree battery. He did not have a driver's license. He was still in jail this morning; bail was set at $10,000.

The  police report  has more details on the hit-and-run accidents. It has a couple of errors: It's Byron, not Bryon, Werner and he is a W/M instead of a B/M.


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