Watch Heather Bland's amazing story Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. ET.
When the Louisville Metro Police patrolman flipped on his blue lights and whipped his cruiser in a U turn from the west to the eastbound lane of Interstate 64 in the pre-dawn darkness of a crisp Sunday morning in September, 2005, he was certain he had a live one. He wouldn't have cut twin tire tracks across the wet grass in the median for just anything -- but he had just watched the driver of a silver Jeep pull to a stop in the emergency lane on the other side of the road, stagger out of the vehicle and begin violently throwing up. The officer called it in.
"Suspected DUI, eastbound I64 one mile west of the Cannon's Lane exit," he told the dispatcher as his patrol car bounced up out of the median onto the pavement. Pulling up behind the Jeep, which wasn't even completely off the road out of the lane of traffic, he flicked his headlights on high beam to better illuminate the license plate, and read off the numbers into his hand-held mike. Then he waited, watching the tall, dark-haired woman heave uncontrollably, holding onto the driver's side door for support.
The response came back in less than a minute.
The 1998 Jeep Cherokee Jefferson County, Kentucky license plate number 871 Adam Charlie Baker, was registered to a 36-year-old white female, the dispatcher told him. No priors, no warrants, no outstanding tickets. The owner's name was Heather Bland.
I had seen him coming. When I spotted the cruiser on the other side of the interstate, I knew he'd be all over me. They always were -- particularly on a Sunday morning.
Please, God, let this one be a nice guy, I pleaded silently.
I gathered as much strength as I could muster and stood up straight as he walked up to me. I think I even managed a smile. It was a shaky smile, but it was the best I could do.
"Closed down the bar at Coyote's, did ya, " the officer said. It was a statement not a question.
"No sir," I replied courteously. "I didn't go to a bar last night. I don't drink. I went …"
He didn't let me finish.
"I need to see your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance, please," he said.
I tried to comply. I was able to get the registration and insurance card out of the glove box, but I was still fumbling in my purse for my wallet when another round of nausea seized me. I had just enough time to sweep my hair back out of my face before the noxious, foul-smelling stream of stomach bile and old blood spewed out of my mouth onto the pavement, setting the ulcers in my throat and on my gums aflame in a dozen points of searing pain -- and splattering on the policeman's shoes.
"I am sooo sorry … !" I began breathlessly when the reflexive gagging finally let up. "I didn't mean to …"
"Ma'am, I need you to step away from the vehicle, please," he said tightly, all business. "And I want you to hold your arms straight out to the sides, shoulder high …"
Oh no, not a sobriety test. Not now!
"… tilt your head back, close your eyes and touch your right index finger to the tip of your nose … can you do that for me, please?" I gathered all the strength I could muster and looked the officer dead in the eye.
"No, I can't do that," I said firmly. "I can't lean my head back and close my eyes. It will just make me more nauseous. I'm not drunk; I'm sick."
I could tell the officer wasn't buying.