The driver who plowed into a lighted sign at Casey’s General Store at the corner of SR60 and Tarr Avenue Friday evening at approximately 5:43p is now in jail on charges of reckless driving, operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or II narcotic and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Woodrow “Buddy” Cheatham III, 26, 1706 East Delaney/Millport Road, Vallonia, IN, was traveling westbound on State Road 56 when he crossed the center line and traveled about 150 feet in the wrong direction and then swerved into Casey’s General Store, striking their sign nearest the road.
According to a witness at the scene, Cheatham “looked dazed. He was in our lane. We had to swerve and miss him. Look like he might have had a heart-attack or something. He was staring out into space.”
The sign was demolished and pieces of brick was scattered all over the roadway. Washington County EMS and the Salem Fire Department were called to the scene. Traffic was backed up for about 30 minutes.
Cheatham was driving a 1985 Pontiac, which came to a stop near Baird Mobile Homes in the westbound lane. Briana Prewitt, 18, was in the vehicle with Cheatham at the time of the accident.
According to Officer Nigel Smith, when he and Officer Tim Miller arrived at the scene, they observed extensive damage to the vehicle. “I observed numerous individuals standing around the driver’s side of the vehicle helping [Cheatham] from the vehicle,” Smith wrote in his report.
Smith said Cheatham advised he did not know what happened and that he did not remember hitting anything.
“He said he was hurting all over,” wrote Smith. “I immediately observed Cheatham’s eyes to be dilated and glassy. [His] speech was slurred as well.”
Smith noted in the report that while Cheatham was in the ambulance, his bluish-green glass smoking pipe fell out of his pocket. Upon further investigation and testing at St. Vincent Salem Hospital, Cheatham tested positive for Benzodiazepines, a psychoactive drug.
Cheatham indicated he didn’t know how he tested positive for Benzodiazepines, but did admit to have been smoking spice, but not prior to the accident.
Smith arrested Cheatham, escorted him from the hospital after treatment and he was booked into the Washington County Detention Center.