Natchez police looking out for drunk drivers

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — A single-vehicle accident on Canal Street involving an alleged drunk driver two weeks ago was the third in nearly as many weeks and is leading to increased police presence downtown, Natchez police say.

A driver crashed into a light pole Saturday, Nov. 1, at approximately 1 a.m. on Canal Street near D.A. Biglane Street causing a power outage and traffic to be redirected in that area for several hours.

Natchez Police Department detective Jerry Ford said when officers responded to the call they found James A. Smith, 33, lying on the sidewalk.

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“(Smith) would never admit to the officers that he was driving the car,” Ford said. “The witnesses that were out there all said they didn’t know if (Smith) was actually the one driving the car.”

Ford said because of the officers’ inability to initially prove Smith was driving, the Vidalia resident was charged with public drunkenness.

“This matter is still under investigation to see if there’s more evidence that he was driving the car,” Ford said. “If we can actually prove he was driving the car, he will receive additional charges including (driving under the influence).”

Saturday’s wreck was the third in the last several weeks downtown that is leading to increased late night police presence in the area.

Another driver crashed into a retaining near Fat Mamas in the late night hours three weeks ago, while a third driver crashed near D.A. Biglane Street before that.

“We are going to have officers patrolling that area more apart from the officer already assigned to that area,” Ford said. “We’ll be monitoring that area pretty closely.”