On August 7, Searcy County Deputy Troy Dye was contacted concerning a possible drunk driver who was driving a white Ram truck on Hwy. 27 N.
According to Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell, Dye saw the truck that was allegedly driven by Ashley Jermone Hale, age 47, of Harriet. The truck was parked at the intersection of Hwy. 27 and Red Oak Road, so Dye decided to conduct a welfare check on its passengers.
When Dye approached the truck, which held two occupants, he immediately noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle. Hale was awake, but he second occupant, 40 year old Virben Earl Stephens, was asleep in the truck.
When Hale and Stephens were asked to step out of the vehicle, both had slurred speech and were unsteady. When Hale was asked to walk to the rear of the vehicle, he had to use the truck for support and eventually fell to the ground slightly injuring his hand. Numerous cans of beer and other intoxicants were found in the vehicle.
During the arrest procedure, Searcy County Chief Deputy Dewayne Pierce and Deputy Justin Flint arrived on scene. As Dye prepared to transport Hale and Stephens to the Searcy County Detention Center, Pierce secured the vehicle for transport.
Both Hale and Stephens were charged with public intoxication, drinking in public, which is a misdemeanor offense.
Pictured above is Deputy Dye handcuffing Virben Stephens.