Alleged Drunk Driver Feared Nurse Would 'Inject Him With COVID-19' Following Crash

A man in South Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested on DUI and other charges on Sunday and refused to take a Breathalyzer or allow a nurse to draw blood, as he was concerned he would be "injected with COVID-19," according to WKRN.

Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a stalled vehicle in an intersection, where they found 68-year-old Russell Rainey, who allegedly said he was waiting for a tow truck.

According to WKRN, Rainey allegedly was unsteady on his feet, had bloodshot eyes, and smelled heavily of alcohol.

A police report said upon being asked to take a Breathalyzer test, Rainey reportedly refused and said, "You're trying to get me to take a COVID shot."

WKRN reported a search warrant was obtained by officers who asked a nurse to draw the suspect's blood, but Rainey was "combative" and feared the nurse was going to "inject him with COVID-19."

Rainey was arrested and booked on three charges, including driving under the influence, as well as disorderly conduct and driving on a revoked license.

A bond was set at $35,000.

Newsweek reached out to the Nashville Metro Police, which confirmed some details of the incident.

Rainey's fear of the COVID vaccination appears to echo the sentiments of many Tennessee residents, as the state has reported only 39 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated.

This report of unvaccinated individuals is particularly concerning to Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, who said that cases have increased by 200 percent since July 1.

In a media briefing on Friday, Piercey said that about 97 percent of all hospitalizations and 98 percent of deaths were among the unvaccinated.

"We do believe that the Delta variant is the predominant variant in Tennessee," Piercey said. "Vaccine is the number one way to protect yourself against the Delta variant or any of the variants."

Earlier this month, researchers at Georgetown University found that Tennessee was one of five under-vaccinated areas that could pose a great risk to the rest of the country.

"Unvaccinated individuals are efficient fuel like dry wood for the fire of future outbreaks," said Shweta Bansal, an associate professor of biology at Georgetown. "Vaccinated individuals are like soaked wood—while it can't easily catch fire, if it's surrounded by dry wood, the chances are much higher. And mobility between locations fans and spreads the outbreak like wind would a wildfire."

Sarah Tanksley, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Health, said in a statement that "white, conservative rural Tennesseans are the least willing to accept the vaccine and seem to have planted their heels in the sand."

A man in Tennessee refused to have his blood drawn, afraid the nurse was going to "inject him with COVID-19," as Tennessee vaccine rates slow and the Delta variant spreads. Above, a health worker prepares a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a convention hall building in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on July 26, 2021. CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images