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Police: Drunk driver fell asleep at wheel waiting for passing train

Ruben Quintana | Riverside police

A convicted drunk driver is facing multiple charges after allegedly passing out behind the wheel early Monday at a train crossing in west suburban Riverside.

An officer responded about 3:15 a.m. to a call of a disabled driver who had been traveling south in the 3300 block of South Harlem near the Burlington Northern Railroad Crossing, according to Riverside police. When the officer arrived, the driver’s car hadn’t moved after the train cleared the intersection and the gates went up.

The officer then found the driver with his head slumped on the steering wheel with the car running and his foot on the brake, police said. After knocking and pounding on the car’s window, the officer opened the door and shook the driver to wake him. The officer immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver and the car. The driver’s speech was also slurred and his eyes were bloodshot.

Following a failed field sobriety test, Ruben Quintana was taken into custody, police said. Quintana, 33, of Stickney, then handed over a United State’s passport after being asked for his driver’s license, which he explained was invalid.

After being taken to the Riverside police station, Quintana refused to participate in testing to determine his blood-alcohol level, police said. During an investigation, it was revealed that he had a record of drunk driving, including a 2013 arrest in Riverside, and a 2011 DUI conviction in Kansas.

Quintana was charged with misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, improper parking on roadway, driving with no valid driver’s license and no vehicle insurance, police said. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office declined Riverside police’s request for an enhanced felony drunk driving charge.

“To think that Mr. Quintana had been arrested by my agency in 2013 for the exact same crime involving the exact same circumstances where he had passed out behind the wheel in the middle of traffic is really inconceivable,” Riverside police Chief Tom Weitzel said in a statement. “Taking into consideration he had an out-of-state Kansas DUI conviction, I do not understand why the Cook County State’s Attorney did not enhance the charge to a felony drunk driving.”