A DUI suspect made national headlines after Fox News reported that investigating officers found a Gila monster inside the vehicle with him.
Police in Mesa, Arizona, found 37-year-old Brandon Denney asleep inside his vehicle at the intersection of Signal Butte and Southern Avenue in Mesa at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. Officers observed that Denney had a pill bottle in his hand.
Officers were able to rouse Denney from his slumber and asked him to perform several field sobriety tests.
Additional officers searched Denney’s vehicle and found cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia. They also found a Gila Monster peering out of a box that was inside the car.
According to a statement released by the Mesa Police Department, Denney had accidentally run the Gila monster over with his car. Denney told officers he picked up the animal. “Unlike Denney’s story, the Gila Monster did not appear to be run over and had no visible injuries,“ police said.
Denney was arrested at the scene on the charge of driving under the influence of drugs.
During their investigation, police found Denney had three outstanding felony arrest warrants. Two of the warrants from California were for kidnapping with bonds of $1 million and $300,000. A third outstanding warrant was from the state of Nevada on the charge of grand larceny with a bond of $50,000.
The Gila Monster was turned over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The wildlife agency said they would also be filing charges against Denney since he did not have a license to own or sell a Gila Monster.