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ONLY ON 3: Tree trimming crew busted for drinking on the job

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WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

A tree-trimming crew in Whitfield County was reportedly caught drinking on the job. The men were spotted performing field sobriety tests during rush hour in Dalton on Thursday afternoon.

Officers found over 30 open Budweiser and Coors beer cans before taking the Townsend Tree Service workers to jail.

"We essentially had nobody else to call. We had to tow all three trucks," said Sgt. Ryan Fowler of the Georgia Dept. of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Compliance Division. "Usually you can call the company, but the entire crew was in jail."

"They admitted to it," said Fowler. "They did not try to hide anything. It was apparently a normal practice for this crew."

The crew was working near Vista Plaza when officers saw one of the trucks turn, drop part of its load without stopping, and swerve out of the lane.

The driver had open beer cans in plain sight.

That's when a second Townsend truck pulled up to the scene.

"It was a gentleman that worked with the same guy, and he wanted to know what was happening with his friend," Fowler explained. "We also smelled alcohol on him."

So another crew member thought he should call their supervisor, who police said was not sober.

"He showed up to the scene, and it was also found that he was operating under the influence of alcohol," said Fowler.

Robert Weeks and Homer Lambert, were charged with driving under the influence and several commercial motor vehicle violations.

Joshua Williams was charged with possession of alcohol while operating a commercial motor vehicle. 

Officers say they're lucky no one crashed or got hurt.

"I've been with the agency for over 10 years. In my 10 years, I've never heard of this happening," Fowler said.

Channel 3 reached out to Townsend for comment and to find out if the trio is still employed with them. We were sent to the corporate offices in Indiana. A secretary there told us that it would be Monday before the company would have a statement prepared.

All three men have been released from jail on bond.

The three arrests were part of Georgia's "Stop The Threat", an initiative to ramp up enforcement to limit crashes involving commercial motor vehicles

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