Man with meth in boot pleads guilty on morning of jury trial

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A man whose baggie of meth fell out when he took off his boots to perform a field sobriety test opted for a plea Tuesday instead of a jury trial.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning for Donald Mack Tussey Jr., 50, but Tussey decided a plea to three years in prison was better than the possible 10-year sentence he might have received from a jury. In addition to the three-year prison sentence, Tussey received a three-year suspended sentence, meaning he could be returned to prison during the three years following his release if he continues to break the law.

Miller County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called by a resident in the 1700 block of State Highway 160 who reported a gray Chevy truck repeatedly driving past his home. When deputies arrived, the homeowner already had Tussey stopped and out of his truck.

According to a probable cause affidavit written by Deputy Jesse Mathis, Tussey’s eyes were blood shot and his speech was slurred. Tussey allegedly claimed he knew a homeowner in the area but was unable to give deputies a name.

“Mr. Tussey stated something about he was looking for a place to park his vehicle,” the affidavit states. “Mr. Tussey was mumbling when he spoke had had to be asked several times to repeat his answers.”

When asked if he had consumed any alcohol, Tussey allegedly said he’d had “about two or three mixed drinks earlier in the day,” and that he’d taken two Klonipin pills at the same time. Klonipin is a prescription anti-anxiety medication. Deputies informed Tussey that they wanted to administer field sobriety tests to determine if he was too impaired to drive and Mathis began explaining the procedure for the “nine step walk and turn test.” Tussey allegedly told the deputy that he wanted to take off his boots because they made him clumsy. Tussey allegedly had a difficult time maintaining his balance while trying to remove the boots.

On his third attempt to remove a boot, the boot came off and a small bag containing meth flew up and landed on the ground as a deputy’s dash camera captured the scene. Tussey is being held in the Miller County jail until he can be transferred to Arkansas Department of Correction.

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