Driver charged in health center crash refused sobriety tests, police say

An Austin man who crashed his vehicle into a Southeast Austin health center on Monday refused multiple field sobriety tests and asked officers to “just arrest him,” according to court documents.

Austin police said Jeremy Cartwright, 42, drove a black Nissan Maxima through a wall at the Central Health Southeast Health and Wellness Center in the 2900 block of Montopolis Drive around 1:30 a.m.

Cartwright was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in which the offense was his third or more. His bail was set at $20,000, according to an arrest affidavit.

The vehicle crashed through the center’s conference room, leaving a hole and debris on the north side of the building. No patients or employees were inside at the time of the crash, a statement from the center said.

Witnesses nearby said they heard screeching tires before seeing the black Nissan plow through a red light and into the health center.

They told police Cartwright checked on a female passenger after the crash, according to the affidavit.

The woman, who medics described as being in her 20s, was taken to the Dell Seton Medical Center with injuries not considered life-threatening. 

An estimate on the cost of the damage was not immediately available Tuesday. 

The affidavit states that Cartwright originally told police he did not drink any alcohol before driving, then later said he had “two glasses of wine between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.”

An Austin police officer sought a blood and breath test, a walk-and-turn test and a one-leg stand, the affidavit said, but Cartwright refused to participate in each.

When the officer gave instructions for the walk-and-turn, Cartwright became belligerent and told the officer to just arrest him, according to the affidavit. 

Cartwright was arrested in April 1998 and November 2005 for driving while intoxicated, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, he will not be allowed to use a motor vehicle unless it has a vehicle ignition interlock, which requires a breath sample with a legal blood alcohol level of 0.08 before the engine can turn on.

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