MACON — Sheriff's deputies said an intoxicated Macon driver with two previous driving under the influence convictions was arrested after multiple crashes Monday with a half-empty bottle of apple-flavored vodka in his car and an herbal supplement called “kratom.”

A sworn affidavit from the sheriff's office said the 21-year-old driver had the alcohol, one empty packet of "high-potency" kratom and another packet containing 15 capsules of the herb. Police said he failed field sobriety tests, his speech was slurred, his eyes bloodshot and he had trouble standing.

The affidavit said deputies found him after being called to North Front Street at 4 a.m., following reports of several damaged vehicles. A pickup truck had the silver hood of a car stuck into its back end.

Officers said they drove around and soon found the suspect driver on Shaw Street, where he was leaning against a silver Chevrolet Impala that was missing its hood.

The driver was jailed on preliminary charges that included his third offense of aggravated DUI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving while license revoked and driving without insurance. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney's office.

The Food and Drug Administration says Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, grows naturally in the Southeast Asia region. Kratom is often marketed as a health or dietary supplement, the FDA said. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been studying how to proceed with kratom and awaiting FDA analysis of potential harms and benefits of the herb.

This story has been updated to reflect the Food and Drug Administration's description of kratom.


Staff Writer

Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.