Semi driver faces felony charges after traffic stop

Published 10:27 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Indiana man was arrested Monday night in Austin for allegedly driving a semi without a commercial license and while under the influence of narcotics — and while also absconding with a runaway teenager.

David Eugene Pensinger, 38, was charged Tuesday in Mower County court with three felony counts of fifth-degree drug possession, three felony counts of depriving someone of parental rights and two gross misdemeanor DWIs. He was also charged with giving a peace officer a false name, a gross misdemeanor.

Pensinger is in custody on $25,000 bail with an arraignment scheduled for May 13.

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According to a criminal complaint, an officer getting onto Interstate Highway 90 from Oakland Avenue at around 9:15 p.m. Monday observed a semi fly past at 13 mph over the speed limit. The truck was pulled over near Sixth Street Northeast.

The officer confronted Pensinger, who was in the driver’s seat, and a 15-year-old male inside the cab. Pensinger appeared to have dilated pupils and struggled gathering his log book for the officer, the complaint states. He also said his license was in his wallet, which he claimed was back home in Indiana.

Pensinger was asked to identify himself, and he gave a different name. A second officer arrived on scene and spoke with the teenager. The officer discovered the young male was listed as a missing person from Indiana, at which point Pensinger was arrested, the complaint states.

While in handcuffs, Pensinger said the teenager was a “friend” who had asked for a ride in the semi.

A check of the defendant’s driving status indicated that he had a suspended driver’s license and no commercial license in his name, the complaint indicates.

Officers contacted the teenager’s mother, who said she hadn’t seen him since he didn’t come home from school on April 29. She said she knew Pensinger but that he had her son without her knowledge, the complaint states. The complaint does not specify the relationship between the woman and Pensinger.

The woman said her husband would come pick up the young male the next day.

Officers also spoke with the owner of the semi, a Middletown, Ohio, man. He said Pensinger was a mechanic who did work on the truck but he did not know he was driving. The owner said the name Pensigner gave to officers is the name of the man who was supposed to be driving the semi.

A subsequent search of the cab uncovered a trace amount of marijuana and methamphetamine in two separate tins. Officers also found two Hydrocodone pills and one Lisdexamfetamine pill in an unmarked prescription bottle. Both are controlled substances.