Stopping to get some items at the store led to a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy pulling a drunk driver off the road Feb. 18.

Deputy Billy Littleton said he was at Skyway Mart just before 11:30 p.m. and, as he was waiting in line, he saw a man who appeared to be intoxicated trying to pay for some items.

Littleton said the man had slurred speech and, when he passed by, Littleton could smell what appeared to be alcohol coming off of him.

Littleton, watching to see if the man was going to be driving, saw him stagger out the door, climb into a truck and drive away. Littleton, who was in the process of paying for his items, hurried outside and took off after the truck.

Littleton stopped the truck not far down the road and identified the driver as Kelly Gene Phenix. While talking to him, Littleton said he could smell alcohol coming from Phenix’s breath and asked if he’d been drinking. Phenix said he’d had four beers around three hours earlier.

Littleton said he asked Phenix to perform some field sobriety tests and he performed poorly before stopping. Littleton then asked him if he’d had too much to drink and Phenix reportedly said he had.

After he placed him under arrest, Phenix allegedly told Littleton there was a gun in the center console of the truck and said Littleton could get it out. Littleton said he found a fully loaded 9mm Ruger pistol in the console.

After they got to the jail, Littleton said Phenix blew a .161 on a breathalyzer test, twice the legal limit in Tennessee.

Phenix, 56, New Highway 68, Madisonville, was charged with DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence.

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