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Cemetery crash and visit to lawyer net man consecutive DUI charges

November 11th, 2013 4:19 pm by Jeff Bobo

Cemetery crash and visit to lawyer net man consecutive DUI charges

Robert Lee Berkheimer

CHURCH HILL — Robert Lee Berkheimer has racked up three DUI charged in a month including arrests last week on consecutive days — first after driving through a cemetery, and then on the way to his lawyer’s office in Rogersville.

Berkheimer, 68, 430 Kinkead Avenue, Church Hill, is currently being held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond pending arraignment Wednesday.

He was initially arrested on Oct. 5 after Church Hill police were alerted to a possible drunk driver in a silver truck at the Church Hill Shopping Center.

Sgt. Chad Mosley allegedly found Berkheimer parked there, eating behind the wheel of the truck with the motor running.

Police said Berkheimer had slurred speech, was very disoriented, and he thought it was Wednesday even though it was Saturday. Police later found an empty 12 pack of Coors beer in his front yard, and he was charged with DUI.

This past Thursday morning at around 9:22 a.m. CHPD Officer Chip Whitaker responded to a wreck at the intersection of Highway 11-W and South Central Avenue where Berkheimer had allegedly rear-ended a 2011 Kia driven by Jennifer Kennedy.

Whitaker said that upon speaking to Berkheimer he found him to be in “an obvious state of intoxication.”

During the course of the investigation Whitaker received information that a truck matching Berkheimer’s had run off the road at the intersection of Lane Street and Kinkead Avenue near his home and ran over several graves and flower vases.

Pieces of Berkheimer’s truck were found at the cemetery and were consistent with the damage to the defendant's truck.

Berkheimer allegedly told Whitaker he had taken one 10-milligram Lortab that morning, and at two more were found inside his left shoe.

Whitaker added, “I asked the defendant if he had run off the road upon leaving his residence, and he stated, ‘yes’.” I then began a series of field sobriety tests, which the defendant performed poorly. The tests were stopped for his safety to prevent him from falling. The defendant was extremely disoriented and couldn't understand instructions.”

On Thursday he was charged with DUI, two counts of failure to maintain due care, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and failure to provide proof of insurance.

Berkheimer was released from jail Thursday evening, and was arrested on a third DUI charge Friday morning by Rogersville Police Department Officer Mark Cook — reportedly while driving to his attorney’s office.

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