Rhode Island state Rep. Bob Watson, R-East Greenwich, had three beers in his car along with a baggie of marijuana on Saturday night when he was arrested in South Kingstown, according to a police report.
Watson is awaiting trial on in Connecticut on similar charges.
While the report stated that Watson "appeared highly intoxicated" and was slurring his words, he was not charged with driving under the influence because of a variety of complicating factors, according to South Kingstown Police Capt. Jeff Allen.
In particular, the police did not "have" Watson behind the wheel.
When the first officer — Patrolman Joseph Macrae — arrived on the scene at 11:54 p.m. Saturday at Washington County Veterinary Hospital on 4263 Tower Hill Road, Watson was standing outside of the vehicle. The car appeared to be stuck in a snow bank and the front driver's side tire was missing from the rim. Watson said he had no idea what he hit to cause the tire damage, or when.
Police had been tipped off by plow operator John Timpson, who had been clearing the Washington County Vets parking lot when, he told police, Watson nearly hit him. Timpson was not there at the time of the arrest.
After a second officer arrived — Patrolman Trevor Richmond — Macrae had Watson sit in his own car while Macrae explained the situation to Richmond. When they returned to talk to Watson, he was reportedly holding an open Natural Ice beer can. According to the report, Watson handed it over "relunctantly."
After Watson got out of the car, he said, "Do you know who I am? I'm the E.G. rep."
It was only after Watson was out of his car that police saw a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana.
This time, while they were searching Watson's car, the officers had Watson sit in the back of a patrol car.
During the search, they allegedly found the baggie of marijuana in a pocket of the driver's seat and two Corona Extra beer bottles.
Police did not administer a field sobriety test, nor was he asked to take a breathalyzer test at the station. According to Capt. Allen, the officers chose not to charge him with DUI since they had not seen him driving.
"Procedurally, it could have posed a problem," Allen said Monday. "DUI's are very technical in nature. Should he have put [Watson] back in his personal vehicle? These are judgment calls."
Allen continued: "He made a judgment call at the time. They went with the marijuana charge."
He added that Watson "wasn't a very nice person to the officers. He was belligerent and uncooperative at the station."
Watson's behavior did not rise to the level of any additional charge. Allen said such behavior is not untypical "on third shift" — in the middle of the night.
The South Kingstown Police are reviewing the arrest internally, Allen said, to see if the proper procedures were followed.
According to Ptlm. Richmond's report, he found the tire from Watson's car at the intersection of Tower Hill and Saugatucket roads, a short distance from Washington County Vets.