Lovington man charged with fifth DWI after hitting goat
A Lovington man faces a felony charge after he allegedly drove intoxicated and struck a goat while on North Lovington Highway.
Dennis Lambert, 49, claims he wasn’t driving. However, he was charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor (fifth offense), a fourth-degree felony; driving while license revoked, a misdemeanor; and tampering with evidence, a petty misdemeanor. He was booked at the Lea County Detention Center in Lovington.
Around 8:14 p.m. Tuesday, Lea County Sheriff’s Office responded to an accident with injuries at Highway 18 (N. Lovington Hwy.) and Alabama Road that involved a single vehicle. A woman in the vehicle reported injuries, while Lambert was uninjured, according to the criminal complaint.
Lambert said the woman was driving and he saw something white hit the vehicle, identified as the goat. The goat was found dead about 125 yards from the vehicle and its owners told authorities they saw the accident.
“‘I made contact with (owners) who advised they had seen the driver exit the vehicle after hitting their goat,’” a deputy reported.
One of the goat owners said the goat got out of his property and he was looking for it when he heard a loud crash. The goat owner told a deputy he ran toward the highway and saw a vehicle pull over and the goat on the side of the highway. The owner identified the man as the driver and believed he was “intoxicated,” while a second goat owner said she saw the man exit the driver’s side.
Lambert denied driving and said he had alcoholic beverages, the complaint reports. He also said he’d been drinking a beer inside the vehicle, threw it out after the accident and pointed it out to deputies. He later underwent field sobriety tests and allegedly had slurred speech, watery eyes and an odor of intoxicating beverages. He took a breath test with a result of 0.13 alcohol content.
Deputies requested surveillance footage from a Lovington Highway convenience store as Lambert said they’d stopped for beer and he got into the passenger seat, but the footage is expected to take more time to get.
Records indicated Lambert is required to have an interlock device and has four prior intoxicated driving convictions in three states.
“Dennis also admitted to being convicted of five DUI’s however I was only able to locate four,” the deputy wrote.
The injured woman told deputies that she drove with Lambert as a passenger, they stopped at the convenience store and she also struck the animal. In the complaint, the deputy noted that he driver’s seat was “further up” than the passenger’s seat, but could not conclude when it was moved.