Yes, you read that correctly: a woman in Georgia was arrested for driving while high, even though she wasn’t. When a police officer in Georgia pulled Katelyn Ebner over in April 2016, the waitress didn’t think she had anything to worry about, but she was wrong, as she was arrested for being high.
The problem was, she wasn’t high, nor was she drunk. If anything, she said, she was tired, having just finished her waitressing shift at a restaurant.
But, in what turned out to be an almost half-hour traffic stop, Officer Tracy Carroll made it clear that he believed Ebner was driving while intoxicated and that’s why she had allegedly crossed the center line with her vehicle.
The police officer then used his training as “drug recognition expert” – that comes in the way of a controversial 12 step process that some say can put innocent people behind bars for what is effectively guesswork – to conduct a field sobriety test, which took 20 minutes.
Officer Carroll is one of Cobb County’s most prolific drug recognition experts (DREs), racking up 90 DUI arrests in 2016, according to WXIA. If his arrest of Ebner is any indication, however, the method isn’t perfect.
During the test, the officer shines a bright light into Ebner’s eyes – for up to three minutes, no less – to help “recognize” if she is under the influence, along with having her blow into a Breathalyzer.
Katelyn Ebner: Sir, I can promise you, I have never – please – I have never smoked marijuana.
Officer Carroll: Okay. Well, ma’am, you’re giving me indicators – several, several indicators – that you have, okay?
The latter returned a negative result, which is why Officer Carroll had Ebner perform some exercises, such as walking from heel-to-toe and touching her nose, to help him make his conclusion.
And that conclusion was that Ebner was allegedly under the influence of marijuana.
Katelyn Ebner: Okay, so when I do a drug test, I’ll be free to go, correct?
Officer Carroll: You’re going to jail, ma’am. Okay? I don’t have a magical drug test that I can give you right now.
After Ebner denies the claims, the officer continued to handcuff her, as seen in the dashcam footage that was obtained by a local news outlet.