By JOSH NEWTON
Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man who allegedly drove drunk last month while he had two small children in the vehicle.
Matthew Douglas Girty, 40, is charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, child endangerment by driving under the influence, and driving without a driver’s license.
Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Girdner said he was following a vehicle on State Highway 82 north when the vehicle pulled into the Log Store. Girdner was going to the store to check on an alarm that was sounding, so he pulled up beside the white vehicle. Girdner said he witnessed Girty, who was driving the Ford, quickly switch positions with a passenger.
Girdner spoke with Girty, who had watery eyes and smelled of alcohol. During a sobriety test, Girty showed several signs of being intoxicated, Girdner said. A woman in the vehicle said Girty refused to allow her to drive, even though there were two children – a 3-year-old and 4-month-old – inside the car.
Girty refused to take the state’s test to determine his blood-alcohol content. He later admitted he had consumed a six-pack of beer and smoked marijuana earlier that day.
Court records show Girty has previous Cherokee County charges of aggravated assault and battery, DUI, domestic abuse, public intoxication, interfering with an emergency call, driving under suspension, transporting an open container, and domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor.