Driver charged with D.U.I after smashing camper into Henrico utility poles sending debris flying

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A suspected drunk driver, hauling a large camper, crashed into multiple utility poles and kept driving on Saturday. The camper was ripped apart on impact, leaving a trail of debris for miles in Sandston.

Good Samaritans stepped in to help stop the man behind the wheel, which helped officers apprehend the driver.

Just before 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Henrico Police received multiple 911 calls about a man in a truck who was driving erratically on Williamsburg Road, knocking into street signs and running off the road.

Witnesses, like Tiffany Dowdy, tell 8News the driver was swerving in and out of traffic narrowly missing cars coming head-on. Dowdy, a 911 dispatcher in Hanover, says she was at Laundry Land, a laundry mat on West Williamsburg Road, when she heard a loud crash.

“There was debris everywhere– stretching for miles and part of his camper was just laying there,” Dowdy said. “I got straight on the phone and dialed 911.”

Returning to the scene on Tuesday with 8News, Dowdy picked up pieces of wood and insulation still visible as well as personal belongings like pieces of a lawn chair. She adds that on Saturday photo albums, fishing equipment, personal documents, and more were flying everywhere.

“The trailer was fish tailing back and forth,” Dowdy remembered. “I’m just so glad nobody was hit. I’m not sure how he made it that far.”

Dowdy and several onlookers ran outside and were shocked by all the debris left behind.

Henrico Police have identified the man behind the wheel as Garron Kent Sarvas. The 65-year-old was pulling the large camper and crashed into at least two utility poles without stopping. The camper suffered significant damage from the crashes and is unrecognizable. Half the camper is gone and the siding was sheared off.

After Sarvas hit the pole near the laundry mat, he continued down Williamsburg Road.

Tracey Frye, another witness, told 8News she was shopping at the Dollar General, on East Williamsburg Road, when she heard a loud boom.

“You just knew somebody hit something,” Frye said.

Frye said at first she thought the camper was stolen because the driver sped off and quickly got in her car to follow the truck. On the phone with 911, she and a few others trailed behind trying to flag the driver to stop. Frye said the driver swerved down Beulah Road and the cars followed.

8News went to Beulah Road on Tuesday afternoon and a long line of black tire marks filled the road that were inconsistent to the pattern of the road. Sarvas eventually stopped near the National Guard Base.
“He was completely intoxicated,” Frye explained.

She explained that two men also stepped in to help. While one man was distracting the driver, the other grabbed the keys from the trucks ignition. Frye said Sarvas got out of the car and started talking to her, admitting that he had been drinking.

“He had no idea where he was at or what was going on,” Frye recalled. “He was like ‘I’m getting a divorce.’ So I said ‘Yeah well, that doesn’t give you the right to drive like that’. I said ‘why didn’t you stop’ and he said ‘I didn’t know it [the camper] was missing.'”

Henrico Police conducted field sobriety tests and Sarvas was arrested. The 65-year-old was charged with driving under the influence, first offense and refusal to do a blood or breath test.

No one was hurt in the incident, thanks to Sandston residents stepping up and helping stop the driver. Frye and Dowdy both agree that it could’ve been a different story if they hadn’t jumped into action.

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