A Woonsocket firefighter was in his uniform and told police he was texting when he hit a sign on Route 1 in South Kingstown, but officers arrested him and charged him with drunken driving.
According to a police report, Sean Newton was arrested on March 16 and charged with drunken driving. He was also cited for refusing to submit to a chemical breath test.
According to the report, witnesses told police Newton was driving erratically along Route 1 when he hit a guardrail. After hitting the guardrail, Newton got back on the road.
"One person actually stayed behind, offered a witness statement as to what he say, was described as operating at a high rate of speed," said Lt. Michael Natale of the South Kingstown Police Department.
After receiving several 911 calls about Newton's erratic driving, officers ended up at a parking lot where they said they found Newton and said his car had been damaged.
"The damage to the vehicle was consistent with striking a guardrail on the highway and at highway speeds," Natale said.
Police told NBC 10 that Newton was in his firefighter uniform.
According to the report, Newton said he had been texting. Newton also told police he had been called into work because there was a hazmat situation and that he was texting a co-worker to see if he had been called in too.
Police said Newton appeared unsteady on his feet and that they could detect the smell of alcohol on his breath.
"It's a DUI, first offense and it's also a civil refusal case. He's due in court on the DUI (on Wednesday)," Natale said.
The chief of the Woonsocket Fire Department told NBC 10 that he spoke with Newton last week and said he will take "any needed and necessary action" if it comes to that.