George Jones was a wild man.
The Saratoga, Texas native may be best known as one of the greatest country music artists of all-time, but equally as impressive (in a different way) was his history of drug and alcohol abuse, leading to countless encounters with law enforcement.
One of those encounters was in Mississippi back in March of 1982, where he had two run-ins with police within 24 hours, the second of which leading to his arrest.
The first incident occurred in Jackson Mississippi, where Jones and Nancy Sepulvada, his then agent and future wife, were pulled over for speeding.
According to Tom Dial, director of the Bureau of Narcotics, officers pulled them over after clocking them driving 91mph on Interstate 55. The officers said George appeared to be “intoxicated or under the influence of drugs” and the narcotics unit was called in when they spotted a “white powdery substance on the floor mat in the back”.
Authorities admitted it was a small amount, but still prosecuted it as a felony. Both George and Nancy were booked at the Hinds County Detention Center, but were released just two hours later.
While many of us would have been scared straight from that experience, at least for a little bit, the two love birds jumped right back off the wagon.
Just a few short hours after they were released, Monroe county sheriff Pat Patterson got a call that a Lincoln car had wreaked in a red clay bank on Grubb Springs Road outside of Hamilton, Mississippi.
When the license plate number came through for identification, the sheriff immediately knew who it belonged to.
Patterson recalled the day to the Monroe Journal shortly after Jones’ death in 2013.
“I remember [deputy] Pete Shook went to the wreck and radioed in and asked who Possum 1 was since it was on the personalized tag. Being a fan of old Possum Jones, I said that’s going to be George Jones”
The Lincoln was taken to Smith’s Body Shop, where owner James Smith noted the car had rolled two or three times and the entire outside was badly damaged. He eventually purchased the car from George, fixed it up, and drove it for about five years before reselling it.
George was transported to the hospital due to the crash and his extremely intoxicated state. Patterson spoke with Nancy in the ER and she told him he’d been drinking cherry vodka.
“You’ve heard of drunk and you’ve heard of slobbering drunk. He was so slobbering drunk, he wouldn’t have known if he was Roy Acuff or Jesus Christ…
They’d been in South Mississippi doing a concert and he had been drinking cherry Vodka. That bottle was evidence, but it became memorabilia.”
The reason for the crash wasn’t just speeding alone, though.
“She said she was behind the steering wheel, but he slid toward the middle of the seat and put his foot all the way down on the accelerator. She was able to stop the car around the curve around Kerr McGee [now Tronox] and get out of the car with her daughter.”
After Nancy and her daughter had left the car, George took it and went flying down the highway, eventually crashing.
A check was written for the DUI Charge, but George cancelled it immediately after being released. A club owner from Nashville eventually drove down and made the payment.
While George never completely learned his lesson, Nancy later spoke to Sheriff Patterson at a concert in 2011. She said she remembered the day well and said he may have saved George’s life.
Two major incidents within 24 hours with a show in the middle…
Just another day in the life of the great, late George Jones.