QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- A Queensbury man was found asleep at the wheel by deputies while smoked poured from the garbage truck he was in. Wayne Jones' blood-alcohol content then allegedly tested three times above the legal limit.
A 911 call about a possible garbage truck fire brought deputies to Pinewood Road shortly after midnight Tuesday.
"It turns out there was no fire,” said Lt. Steven Stockdale, head of the criminal investigations unit at the Warren County Sheriff's Office. “He was concerned about the smoke conditions and we determined it was overheated brakes."
What officers did find was the parked truck's driver. Jones, 51, was allegedly drunk behind the wheel.
"The initial responding officer reports he had a difficult time acquiring the gentleman's attention and from that he deduced he was probably sleeping in the car,” Stockdale said Tuesday morning.
Jones was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.
"It takes a while to reach that level of intoxication, so he'd been drinking for a while prior to this incident,” Stockdale said.
Joe Austin, who owns AB Waste and Removal, says Jones is a part-time laborer for his company but not a driver.
"By no means did I want him to drive that vehicle,” Austin said Tuesday afternoon. “I would never have somebody drive one of my vehicles who was drinking."
After finishing up work at the end of regular business hours Monday, Austin says Jones was supposed to wait for him to receive a ride home. Instead, he says Jones took it upon himself to drive the garbage truck from Austin’s business to his house, despite never being asked to do so and not having a valid driver’s license.
"He thought he was doing me a favor,” said Austin, who called Jones a “friend.” “Obviously, it turned out he was not doing anybody a favor."
Austin calls the arrest the latest in a string of bad luck for his company. In addition to cold weather causing equipment issues that have brought on delays in his service, he claims two former employees recently stole from him.
"It has brought us in a state where it's made it very difficult to keep on top of things like we should be, like we want to be,” Austin said.
After pleading not guilty to his charges in Queensbury Town Court Tuesday morning, Jones remains at the Warren County Jail with bail set at $5,000. Austin says he's yet to decide if Jones's employment status will be affected.
"It's too early to say at this point,” he said. “Like I said, he's a good person who made a very bad choice."