Man found staggering in road loses public intoxication appeal

A man arrested after being found stumbling in the middle of the road could not convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that there was insufficient evidence to support his public intoxication conviction.

Kyle Estes was arrested for public intoxication after being found walking on a Hendricks County road in the early morning hours of February 2020. An officer who later approached Estes after passing him while driving saw Estes in the middle of the road on the double yellow line where he subsequently fell on his hands and knees.

When the officer approached on foot, he observed that Estes smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, “looked very disorderly” and was “sweating profusely.” Estes, while being escorted to the police car, again staggered and fell again before being arrested. A bottle of alcohol was later found in his pocket during intake at the jail.

Estes was subsequently charged with public intoxication and found guilty as charged. He appealed on insufficient evidence claims but failed to sway the appellate court.

“Estes directs us to Davis v. State, 13 N.E.3d 500 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) and Pulido v. State, 132 N.E.3d 475 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019) in support of his claim that the State failed to establish that he was a danger to himself in these circumstances,” Judge Robert Altice wrote for the appellate court. “… Unlike the circumstances in Davis and Pulido, the evidence here demonstrated that when Estes was intoxicated and walking on a public road at 2:00 a.m., Deputy (Cody) Rusher and the driver of another vehicle had to swerve to avoid striking Estes.

“… In sum, the evidence demonstrated that Estes manifested an actual danger to himself within the meaning of I.C. § 7.1-5-1-3(a)(1),” Altice continued. “… In other words, Estes’s conduct was not the sort of mere ‘speculative danger’ contemplated in Davis and Pulido. Thus, Estes’s claim that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction fails.”

The case is Kyle Jordon Estes v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-1921.

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