A 38-year-old Darien man was charged with driving while under the influence after his car crossed over into the opposite lane and hit a compact SUV. The crash sent three occupants of that vehicle, including a 10-year-old, to the hospital.
The arrested man had in his blood between three and four times the legal amount of alcohol for a driver when he was given a breath test more than an hour after the accident was reported, according to police.
Darien police described what happened with this account, including accusations not proven in court:
Shortly before 5:23 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25 (when the incident was reported to police), Michael Sheppeard, 38, of Stanton Road was driving a tan 2008 Ford Expedition on Old Kings Highway South.
Near the intersection with Andrews Drive, Sheppeard’s car crossed into the opposite lane and struck a 2017 Nissan Rogue with three people in it, ages 39, 35 and 10. The cars collided, and police were called to the scene.
A witness told police that Sheppeard tried to leave the scene, but his vehicle was inoperable. When police arrived, Sheppeard’s SUV was in the eastbound lane, with Sheppeard standing near it. The Nissan Rogue was in the westbound lane, and both vehicles had damaged front ends.
The three occupants of the Rogue were taken by a Darien EMS-Post 53 ambulance to the emergency department of Stamford Hospital for evaluation.
As police spoke with Sheppeard, they could smell alcohol coming from him, and he seemed to be unsteady on his feet.
Sheppeard was asked to perform field sobriety tests. He took them but couldn’t complete them in a satisfactory way, so he was arrested on a charge of driving while under the influence.
At Darien Police Headquarters, Sheppeard submitted to breathalyzer tests. The first one, taken at 6:37 p.m., more than an hour after police were called to the scene at 5:23 p.m., indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.3021. The second, taken at 6:56 p.m., showed a level of 0.2986. (The legal limit for an adult driver is 0.08. Three times the legal limit would be 0.24, and four times that would be 0.32.)
Sheppeard was also charged with failure to drive on the correct side of the road. His bond was set at $250, which he paid. He is scheduled to appear Oct. 6 in state Superior Court in Stamford.