A Rhode Island man who was driving with a suspended license is now facing drunk driving charges after he allegedly struck a state police cruiser that was stopped in the breakdown lane of Interstate 95.
State police say the trooper was in his marked cruiser during a traffic stop late Saturday night on I-95 in Warwick, when Alfredo Falcon-Benitez struck the back of the cruiser, pushing it into the stopped vehicle.
Police said thankfully the trooper and other operators were not seriously injured.
Falcon-Benitez, 41, of Central Falls, subsequently failed all field sobriety tests administered on scene and he was taken to state police headquarters where he refused to provide a breath sample, police said.
He was held overnight and arraigned Sunday for driving under the influence of liquor/refusal (first offense), driving to endanger, and operating on a suspended license.
Falcon-Benitez was held on surety bail and taken to the adult correctional institutions pending a bail review hearing this week.
State police said they were thankful to have avoided a tragedy but wanted to remind all drivers not to drink and drive. They also reminded drivers it's the law to slow down and move over when you approach emergency vehicles.
"This is yet another reminder, especially at this time of the year, of the potential tragedy that can occur by deciding to drink and drive," Col. James Manni said in a statement. "The State Police remain focused on removing impaired operators from the roadways."
Motorists are encouraged to contact 911 to report any vehicle being operated erratically, state police said.