WESTPORT — A Westport cop may have stopped a possible wrong-way crash last night when he stopped a wrong-way driver trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway while driving under the influence.
Police charged Gina Heckel, 49, of Fairfield, with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, driving the wrong way on a highway, possession of narcotics and narcotics possession in its original container.
Around 9:15 p.m., an officer saw a vehicle — later found to be driver by Heckel — trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway at exit 41 northbound off ramp while traveling southbound. The officer turned on his overhead lights and followed the vehicle onto the ramp before cutting in front of it.
“(The officer’s) quick thinking and action prevented what could have been a tragic incident on the highway, not only for the part involved, but also for other innocent travelers,” said Police Lt Jillian Cabana in a news release.
The officer had Heckel pull into the nearby commuter lot. As he spoke to Heckel the officer said he detected a strong odor of alcohol and asked her to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, which she failed.
When Heckel was taken into custody, the officer took her cell phone and purse from the vehicle and saw a half empty bottle of vodka and loose pills — later found to be prescription pills that were not prescribed to her.
At police headquarters, Heckel was given a breathalyzer test and was found to be over the legal limit. She was released from custody after positing a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.