When police officers met Rugby’s Joe E. Phillips on Industrial Lane in Oneida, one thing he wanted them to know was that he is a good driver.

Philllips, 28, was arrested Wednesday, February 13, and charged with DUI and driving on a suspended license after he allegedly came close to hitting a school bus while driving impaired.

According to warrants filed by Oneida Police Department Investigator Dustin Burke and K-9 Officer Toby Jeffers, police were dispatched to the area of Industrial Lane after a motorist saw a vehicle nearly hit a school bus.

Jeffers was the first to encounter the vehicle, but Phillips initially refused to stop and pulled into the parking lot of Mountain Peoples Health Council, according to the warrant.

Burke wrote in the warrant that Phillips had two open cans of beer — 25 oz. Natty Daddy beverages — in his car. When asked how many beers he had consumed, Phillips allegedly assured officers that he was a capable driver, saying, “Just a few, but don’t worry I’m a good driver.”

When Burke asked Phillips to exit the vehicle so a field sobriety test could be conducted, Phillips was allegedly so intoxicated that he crawled out the driver’s side window — “Dukes of Hazard style.”

Unsteady on his feet, Phillips was asked by Burke if he would perform a field sobriety test, to which he allegedly responded, “Yes, as long as he didn’t have to say his ABCs,” Burke wrote in the warrant.

Phillips failed the field sobriety test, and at one point while he was walking the line he “dropped to his knees and started praying,” according to the warrant.

Field sobriety tests administered by police look for eight possible clues of impairedness. If a driver demonstrates more than two, he is considered to be in violation of the law. According to the warrant, Phillips showed all eight clues.

When the test was finally finished, Phillips allegedly told Burke that “he did good until the Holy Ghost left his body.”

Phillips also allegedly told police that he drinks 18 to 20 Natty Daddies each day, “and again stated he was a great driver.”

A breathalyzer allegedly revealed Phillips’ blood alcohol content to be 0.14, above the legal limit of 0.08. 

A second person in the vehicle — Steven R. Phillips, 30, of Sunbright — was also arrested and charged with public intoxication and possession of an open container. The second man allegedly had an open Natty Daddy in each hand when officers stopped the vehicle. After being told several times to stay in the car, he allegedly exited the vehicle and stumbled towards the front door of the medical clinic.