Man arrested for DUI after leaving scene of Cottondale crash

A North Carolina man is facing a host of charges after he allegedly left the scene of an accident on Interstate 10 this week in Jackson County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol arrest report, at roughly 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, troopers were dispatched to a crash on I-10 in Cottondale. En route, troopers were advised that a person who drove up on the crash reported seeing a white male with long hair and a black leather coat leaving the scene.

On arrival, FHP found a Nissan Frontier extended cab truck overturned on its roof, on the ramp at exit 130. After walking the scene of the crash, the trooper says he could tell the vehicle had not been in its proper lane prior to colliding with the crash actuator. After the collision, the truck rotated counter-clockwise before overturning to its driver side, then roof; it came to a final rest on its roof, facing south. FHP determined that the vehicle was traveling well above the posted 25 m.p.h. speed limit, which contributed to its overturning onto its roof.

While taking inventory of the truck, the trooper noticed all windows were intact except the driver’s window, which was shattered into pieces that were lying outside the vehicle in a manner that suggested to FHP that the driver broke it after the crash.

Also found, inside the truck, was a black wallet containing the North Carolina ID and Social Security card of Anthony Marshall Rardian, 49, of Burnsville, N.C.

When FHP reached the owner of the vehicle by phone, he told them he had been sleeping and was unaware his vehicle was missing until the time of the call. He also said he hadn’t given anyone permission to take the truck.

While the tow truck was recovering the vehicle, dispatch alerted the trooper that a man matching the description given by the earlier witness had been seen at Love’s Travel Stop south of I-10 on U.S. 231. Assisting troopers were sent to detain the man, who was later identified as Rardian by the ID found in the Nissan.

Rardian was said to have glassy eyes and the odor of alcohol about him. Troopers also found a marijuana pipe in his sock. When asked what happened at the crash site, he said he did not know. During FHP’s investigation for DUI, the trooper says Rardian refused roadside evaluations and was arrested. While in the back of the patrol car, he refused to take a breath test and was then transported to the Jackson County jail for booking.

Rardian’s charges included DUI, two counts of DUI with property damage, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, driving while license suspended or revoked, refusal to submit to a blood-alcohol level test, possession of drug paraphernalia and grand theft.

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