McMinn County Justice Center

An apparent drunk driver was arrested Sunday after allegedly attempting to cause a wreck.

At almost 9 p.m. Sunday, McMinn County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Todd Levi was informed about a black Jeep Wrangler that was in Calhoun near the boat dock “trying to run people out of the roadway and trying to hit them.”

Levi began moving in that direction when he got a call that the vehicle was heading northbound on Highway 11 with a taillight out.

About a mile south of the fire department in Riceville, Levi said he saw the Jeep and clocked it going 83 miles per hour in a 55 MPH zone.

He turned and began pursuing it and the driver of the Jeep pulled over at a gas station on Highway 11.

Levi identified the driver as Jose A. Gonzalez, 42, of Riceville, and noted that he “appeared to be very intoxicated and had a strong odor of intoxicant about him.”

Levi noted that Gonzalez then failed all of his field sobriety tests, as he “had to be told over and over to do everything and could not or would not understand anything.”

That led Levi to search the suspect’s vehicle and he allegedly turned up an open watermelon Clubtails that is 10% alcohol and “what appeared to be THC wax.”

At that point, Levi arrested Gonzalez and, after a stop at Starr Regional Medical Center’s Athens campus, booked him in to the McMinn County Justice Center on charges of driving under the influence, speeding, violation of the open container law and simple possession/casual exchange.

After booking him in, Levi talked with a witness who claimed that she had just gotten into McMinn County when a black Jeep began following her “at a high rate of speed.”

She turned onto Highway 163 and the Jeep reportedly followed her in the turn lane and it continued to do so onto Main Street.

At that point, the driver of the Jeep reportedly began honking at her, “coming up beside her and acting like they were going to hit her car and cause her to crash.”

She was in the vehicle at the time with a passenger and a child.

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