A Portsmouth man allegedly involved in a hit-and-run-crash on Saturday is facing a total of four charges, including a felony for improper handling of a firearm.
An affidavit filed with the Hillsboro Municipal Court stated that an officer with the Hillsboro Police Department responded to a vehicle reportedly traveling north in southbound lanes in “the area of UDF.”
The officer reported that he received information while en route that the vehicle was “also involved in a hit and run crash at the intersection of SR 73 and South East Street,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit added that the vehicle was eventually found in a parking lot on the corner of West Walnut and South West streets.
The officer reported that when he approached the vehicle, the driver – later identified as Michael Southworth, 36 – was “slouched over the console speaking … on his cell phone.”
The affidavit added that Southworth was “distraught … (and) unable to speak clearly, slurring his words.”
According to the affidavit, the officer “observed a plastic bag containing multiple beer cans lying on the passenger floor board.”
When the officer made contact with Southworth, he reportedly got off the phone and “attempted to place the vehicle in reverse,” according to the affidavit.
The officer reported that he ordered Southworth to turn off the vehicle and to provide a driver’s license. Southworth allegedly “produced a credit card and handed it to (the officer),” as stated in the affidavit.
The officer then asked Southworth if he had any weapons in the vehicle, and Southworth allegedly said that “he had a pistol under the steering wheel,” according to the affidavit.
Southworth was then instructed to exit the vehicle, at which time the officer allegedly “detected a strong odor of (an) alcoholic beverage emitting from his person,” as stated in the affidavit.
The affidavit added that while walking to the rear of the vehicle, Southworth was allegedly “unable to keep his balance and began stumbling.”
The officer reported that he asked Southworth how much he had had to drink. Southworth allegedly said, “Too much,” according to the affidavit.
He was arrested and charged with: improper handling of a firearm, a fifth-degree felony; operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) and leaving the scene of an accident, both first-degree misdemeanors; and having an open container in a motor vehicle, a minor misdemeanor.
Southworth appeared on his charges in municipal court Monday. Records show that his felony case is set for a preliminary hearing on July 30. Pretrials on his misdemeanors are also scheduled for that time.
Southworth’s bond is set at $2,500, according to records. If Southworth posts that bond, he must report to the probation department. He is prohibited from driving.
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.