Uber driver admits to smoking meth and marijuana before picking up passenger, court docs say

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WXIN) – An Indianapolis Uber driver was arrested and accused of OWI and meth possession while working.

The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office charged 56-year-old Mark Allen Atchison with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

On November 10, an officer with the New Whiteland Police Department pulled Atchison over for speeding on U.S. 31 in New Whiteland.

The officer reported the smell of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle and asked Atchison and his passenger to provide identification.

Atchison’s backseat passenger told the officer she did not have her identification, adding that Atchison was her Uber driver, which he confirmed.

The officers asked Atchison about the marijuana smell, and he said someone had been smoking in his car earlier in the day, documents say. When the officer said he was going to conduct a search of the car, and he asked Atchison if he would find anything, Atchison allegedly told the officer there was a meth pipe in his car.

Officers said they found various containers with a white crystal-like substance, white powder residue, and green residue. They also found various devices believed to be drug paraphernalia.

Police say Atchison admitted to smoking meth and marijuana approximately 90 minutes before the officer stopped him.

After conducting field sobriety tests and submitting to a blood draw, the officer arrested Atchison.

“The purpose of ride sharing is to avoid this exact scenario. I take a dim view of when someone is being responsible and doing the right thing and then endangered by someone else’s actions,” said Prosecutor Joe Villanueva.

Meth possession is a level 6 felony and has a sentencing range of six months to 2 1/2 years with a presumptive sentence of 1 year and a fine of up to $10,000.

The other charges are class C misdemeanors, and have a sentencing range of 0 to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.

An Uber spokesperson issued this statement:

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any alcohol or drugs on the app, which all drivers agree to when they sign up. After becoming aware of this report, this individual's access has been removed from the app."

Uber’s policy states if you suspect your driver to be under the influence you should cancel the ride and ask to get out. It says to call 911 and report them to Uber.