The man accused by Glynn County Police of causing a head-on collision Monday was allegedly high on drugs during the crash, which occurred on U.S. Highway 341 and left the other driver in critical condition, according to police.
Jeffery Robert Gould, 50, was booked Wednesday into the Glynn County Detention Center, charged with DUI/drugs, causing an accident with serious injury, improper driving and failure to maintain a lane. A drug recognition expert with the Glynn County Police Department determined that Gould was “under the influence of a (central nervous system) depressant/or a Narcotic Analgesic and unsafe to operate a motor vehicle,” the report said.
The western Glynn County resident was released later that same day on a total of $6,840 bond, jail records show.
Richard Garland Reyna, 69, the Glynn County man whose vehicle Gould collided with, remained Thursday at UF Health Jacksonville, a hospital spokeswoman said. Reyna was flown there by helicopter in critical condition following the crash, which occurred at 11:32 a.m. near Wages Road.
Police said it was the second crash involving Gould that day. According to the report, Gould was driving a Ford Mustang around 6:30 a.m. when it crashed into a ditch on U.S. Highway 82. Gould allegedly told police that he was driving to work when “he believes his tire blew and caused him to spin out into a ditch,” officer Kevin Yarborough wrote in the police report. In that incident, Gould allegedly declined requests to be transported to a hospital for medical treatment.
Later that morning, police said Gould was driving a 1990 Jeep Wrangler northbound on U.S. 341 when he allegedly veered into the southbound lane and collided with Reyna’s oncoming 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. A witness who was driving south behind Reyna estimated Gould was traveling between 60 and 70 mph when the collision occurred.
The resulting impact was severe, according to Yarborough. “Both vehicles were almost unrecognizable,” he wrote in the report. Yarborough is a traffic enforcement officer who specializes in detecting signs of drug-induced impairment in drivers.
Reyna was still trapped inside the crushed pickup truck when Yarborough arrived, and had to be extricated by county firefighters and EMTs. Gould allegedly was sitting on the curb and nursing facial wounds at the time, the report said.
A county dump truck driver told police he had to drive onto the sidewalk to avoid colliding with Gould’s Jeep, which then struck Reyna’s truck, according to the report. “Yeah,” the man told police, “I liked to hit him head-on ... I went up on the sidewalk.”
Moments earlier, two other witnesses allegedly saw Gould “nodding off” while waiting at a red light to turn right onto U.S. 341 from Georgia Highway 303, the report said.
Gould was transported to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, where Yarborough interviewed him. Gould allegedly said he managed to get very little sleep in the past two days due to a pinched nerve, according to the report. Gould told police the crash occurred while was he was on his way to the automotive shop on U.S. 341 where he works.
Gould allegedly told Yarborough he had taken an unprescribed narcotic pain pill on Saturday, but said he had not taken anything narcotic since, the report said. However, Yarborough said Gould displayed symptoms of narcotic impairment during the interview, including “thick speech, (droopy eyelids), ‘on the nod,’ drowsiness, low, raspy slow speech, and a flaccid muscle tone.”
Based on this, his driving and his alleged admission to previously taking unprescribed narcotics, Yarborough arrested Gould for DUI/drugs. Gould allegedly refused to submit to a blood test, which under Georgia law results in the automatic suspension of a driver’s license for at least one year.
Gould refused further medical treatment from the hospital, the report said. Because of his medical condition, police allowed him to leave the hospital freely.
Police arrested Gould on the above charges and booked him into the county jail at around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.