WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Queen City News) — When Winston-Salem Police Officer A.J. Sereika pulled up in front of a black GMC Yukon in a Walmart parking lot on March 31, 2022, the woman sitting in the driver’s seat never saw him coming.
The driver was asleep, with her head leaned back on the headrest and the engine running.
Sereika knocked on the driver’s window and the driver immediately responded. “Oh, my God,” the driver said as she appeared to piece together who was standing outside her window. The body camera video shows two children strapped into car seats in the back captains’ chairs and both appeared to be sleeping.
WSPD officers were called to the parking lot at around 9:15 p.m. after someone saw the driver sleeping “for over an hour,” according to the police report.
“Hi, can you open the door for me? Are you okay,” Sereika asked the woman, “People were kind of concerned you guys were out here sleeping and want to make sure you were okay.” The woman, later identified as Hope Amelia Stevens, told the officer she’d pulled over to “take a nap,” because she was tired.
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Stevens, also known as Hope Solo, is a former goalie for the U.S. women’s national soccer team and winner of the World Cup and two-time gold medal winner for the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 and 2012. Solo is known globally and played professional soccer internationally.
Solo lives in Wilkes County, NC with her husband, Jerramy Stevens, a former NFL player who spent eight years in the league.
At exactly 63 seconds into his encounter with Solo, Sereika had already suspected the star athlete of being drunk behind the wheel. “How much you’ve been drinking today? Why don’t you turn the car off first, let’s turn the car off first.” Solo held her phone in hand as the officer continued questioning her outside her driver’s side window, “It’s okay if I…,” Solo said to the officer, never finishing her sentence. “It’s okay, what?” Sereika asked Solo, but she didn’t respond.
“How much have you drink tonight,” the officer asked, “I’ve had not,” Solo replied. But the officer continued probing, “I’m perfectly fine, thank you, sir,” Solo told the officer, “I’m asking how much have you had to drink, not are you fine. I understand you’re talking to me. How much have you had to drink today,” Sereika asked. Solo continued denying she’d had any alcohol.
“Zero alcohol,” Sereika asked, and Solo replied, “Thank you, sir,” as she continued scrolling on her phone while the officer waited outside her window.
Solo eventually makes a call, “Hey, love. I have a police officer…yes, I know I had pull over because I’m really tired. So, I pulled over but there’s a police officer here right now so I’m going to record this. Yeah, I know, love…” Solo continues the call while the officer stands beside her rolled-down window waiting for her to hand over her driver’s license.
“I was just trying to take a nap because I’m so f—ing tired from driving. Yeah, I (unintelligible) I mean, I pulled over in a Walmart parking lot to take a nap. I have no idea why he’s here, but hang on,” Solo told the person on the other end of the phone.
Within four minutes of the stop, a second WSPD officer, identified as G.J. Mager, pulled up behind Solo’s SUV. Sereika and Mager met at Mager’s patrol car door.
“She’s drunk and she’s got two kids. She was passed out asleep in the front seat. She won’t tell me anything, she just says, ‘I was sleeping.’ But you can smell like the odor – a sweet aroma anyway coming from inside that smells like alcohol and she’s completely oblivious to everything that’s like going on right now,” Sereika told the other officer.
Sereika went back to Solo’s window to ask for her license again. Solo hands it over and tells Sereika she was simply napping in the parking lot and then begins to argue with the officer about whether her Yukon was idling while she and her children slept in the Walmart parking lot for at least an hour.
SOLO: “So, um, I just was going to take a nap.”
SEREIKA: “Where were you coming from?”
SOLO: “It doesn’t matter where I’m coming from, but the car has not been…”
SEREIKA: “No, but it’s been on.”
SOLO: “No, it has not been on.”
SEREIKA: “Yes, it was.”
SOLO: “No, it wasn’t, sir.”
SEREIKA: “You turned the car off right in front of me. The car was not off.”
SOLO: “I’m sorry, it was not.”
SEREIKA: “Okay, well I’ll show you the video if you want to – if you—”
SOLO: (on phone) Okay, love, I’ll talk to you soon.”
Sereika leaves to run Solo’s license when Officer Mager walks up to Solo’s window and begins working to figure out if he’s dealing with a drunk driver.
MAGER: “Ma’am, how much have you had to drink tonight?”
SOLO: “Nothing, sir.”
MAGER: “Nothing? So, you’ll be willing to submit to field sobriety tests?”
SOLO: “No, sir.”
MAGER: “Okay. You understand that by not submitting to field sobriety tests, we can –”
SOLO: “I don’t have to (unintelligible) anything. I was just taking a nap in a Walmart parking lot, I was good.”
MAGER: “Step on out of the vehicle for me.”
Mager opens the driver’s door as Solo continues looking down at her phone. The officer asks her again to “step out of the vehicle,” and Solo tells the officer she’s going to call her attorney. The officer continues asking Solo to get out of the car and to not “embarrass” herself in front of her children.
A few seconds later, Mager snatches Solo’s phone from her hand. Solo’s children begin crying during the exchange.
SOLO: “I was just taking a nap — you can’t—” (Mager snatches Solo’s cell phone from her hands)
MAGER: “I can do this…Step on out of the vehicle or I’ll make you step out of the vehicle. I’m asking you nicely, so you don’t cause a scene in front of your kids.”
SOLO: “You can’t take my phone.”
MAGER: “Yes, I can. I can do all these things. Okay? Step on out of the vehicle.”
SOLO: “Can I have my phone?”
MAGER: “Step on out of the vehicle for me. Step on out or I’m pulling you out. Again, you have two kids in this car—”
SOLO: “I know, sir. I was taking a nap.”
MAGER: “You have two kids in this car, don’t embarrass you in front of your kids.”
SOLO: “I’m not embarrassed.”
MAGER: “Step out of the car.”
SOLO: “Can you tell me why you’re—”
MAGER: “Step out of the car so I can make sure you are sober and able to be a competent adult in front of these kids.”
SOLO: “I am a competent adult.”
MAGER: “Okay, then step out of the car.”
SOLO: “Can you tell me why—”
MAGER: “Because you smell like alcohol—”
SOLO: “That’s fine, but I’m not driving—”
MAGER: “And you’re passed out in the car.”
SOLO: “I took a nap.”
MAGER: “…with the car on.”
SOLO: “I took a nap.”
MAGER: “Step out of the vehicle, I’m not asking you again.”
SOLO: “I would like to call my attorney.”
Officer Mager grabbed Solo’s left arm and pulled her from the SUV. Solo asked again to call her attorney, but the officer continued his efforts to determine whether she was too intoxicated to drive.
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MAGER: “You’re not calling your attorney – anyone right now. Right now, the two things you’re going to do is you’re going to stand here. Do you consent to providing field sobriety tests?”
SOLO: “He took my phone.” (Sereika has returned from his patrol car)
SEREIKA: “Because you’re not complying to law enforcement right now.”
SOLO: “But I am complying.”
SEREIKA: “No, you’re not.”
SOLO: “I have two kids in the car.”
MAGER: “Yes, exactly, and you’ve made them cry. You’ve made them cry now because you wouldn’t comply.”
SEREIKA: “Which is even worse to why you’ve been drinking and driving tonight.”
SOLO: “I’m not driving.”
SEREIKA: “You were, the car was on.”
SOLO: “The car was not on, sir.”
SEREIKA: “Okay, that’s fine.”
The officers continued working to perform field sobriety tests on Solo as she continued telling the officers she was simply napping in the parking lot. After Solo declined to submit to the tests, Mager attempted to handcuff her.
“You’re now under arrest for resist, delay, obstruct of an officer,” Mager told Solo as he tightened the handcuffs around her wrists. “We’re trying to investigate something and you’re not being cooperative right now,” Officer Sereika told Solo as she stood handcuffed in the Walmart parking lot.
The WSPD ended the recording there. We do not have the remainder of the recording showing whether officers read Solo her Miranda warning, officers putting her into the patrol car, or what officers did with her children on scene.
WSPD said Solo’s husband drove to Winston-Salem to pick them up that night on scene.
Officer Mager put Solo into his patrol car at some point and drove her to a Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services station where medics drew blood for police to test Solo’s blood alcohol concentration, as well as other intoxicants that may be present.