Last night, at about 6:00 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop D received a cell phone report from a concerned motorist of a reckless driver on Interstate 10 west of Sulphur in Calcasieu Parish. The vehicle was located soon thereafter. Troopers attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver initially refused to stop. After a 6 mile pursuit, troopers were able to stop the vehicle in Vinton.
After making contact with the driver, 46-year-old Gerald J. Kowal of Flagstaff, Arizona, troopers determined that Kowal was impaired and placed him under arrest. Kowal was brought to Louisiana State Police Troop D where he refused to take a chemical test. Troopers then obtained a "no refusal" search warrant. Kowal was taken to an area hospital and blood was drawn. The results are pending analysis.
A "no refusal" search warrant can be obtained when an impaired driver refuses to submit a chemical sample for analysis. Troopers provide information to a judge on call who examines the circumstances involved. If the judge determines that probable cause exists, he then signs the search warrant allowing troopers to obtain a chemical sample to determine impairment. This is the third "no refusal" search warrant obtained by Troop D troopers in the last week.
Kowal was charged with DWI 4rd offense, flight from an officer, following too close, improper lane usage, no driver's license, and no seat belt. Kowal was booked into the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center.
Law enforcement officers throughout our state will continue increased DWI apprehension efforts now through the Labor Day weekend. Drive sober or get pulled over.
To report impaired or reckless drivers, motorists may dial *LSP (*577) from their cellular phone or contact their local law enforcement agency.