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Naked driver faces charges

An area man was arrested after authorities say they found him wandering the streets naked, incoherent and hallucinating after crashing a vehicle.

David Stelmach, 27, of Potosi, is now charged with a class E felony of knowingly burning, a class E felony of driving while license was revoked, and a class B misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated.

According to a probable cause statement, at 1:30 p.m. July 1, a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol was called for a single-vehicle crash near 12144 Grassy Hollow Rd. in Washington County. It was reported that a vehicle was on fire and a naked male driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

The trooper reported that a Washington County deputy found a naked man, later identified as Stelmach, walking away from the crash on Grassy Hollow Road and the deputy took him into custody and drove him back to the crash.

When the trooper arrived at the crash, he saw that a Chevrolet passenger car had crashed into a tree. The deputy directed him to Stelmach, who was being checked by EMS in the back of the ambulance. The deputy told the trooper he found Stelmach one-tenth of a mile north of the crash.

The deputy also told the trooper that when he asked Stelmach if he had taken any drugs he said, “Yeah, all kinds. Anything I could get my hands on.” The trooper went to the back of the ambulance and noticed Stelmach was very talkative and appeared to be disoriented.

The trooper reported that Stelmach said, “I’m sorry about this dude. It’s F***ing chiggers … and Wicca. Wiccans.” The trooper asked him what Wiccans were and Stelmach said, “Wiccans. Witches and Magnus and warlocks.” According to the trooper, Stelmach was incoherent and had bloodshot, glassy eyes and his eyelids were drooping.

Stelmach told the trooper he drank “the Kool-Aid.” When asked about the crash he said “Dude, it was like … I was there and then I wasn’t. And then I’m in the f***ing woods … and I got burrs on my feet, and f***ing chiggers and flies everywhere.” 

The trooper asked Stelmach if there was anyone else with him and he said there wasn’t. When asked if Stelmach was driving the car when it crashed he said, “No, I was walking in the woods, dude.” The trooper noted that Stelmach appeared to be very confused, talkative and repetitive.

The trooper asked about the crash again and Stelmach said, “I crashed … like, I was out in the woods and I f***ing fell asleep. I guarantee you it was at least f***ing night time when I did it though.” The trooper noticed Stelmach was quick to reply to his questions, but gave incoherent answers.

Stelmach was very restless and continued to speak freely. The trooper reported he saw tiny pieces of glass shards scattered throughout Stelmach’s chest. When asked if he took drugs, Stelmach replied asking “what is considered a drug?”

The trooper explained how drugs could alter his mind and Stelmach said, “S*** man, you can alter your mind with reality.” He also said he had no idea where he was or how he got there. The trooper explained he was on Grassy Hollow Road and Stelmach said, “That sounds … sounds magical, dude.”

The trooper reported that Stelmach continued to provide irrational answers to most of his questions regarding the crash and being under the influence of drugs. Stelmach refused medical treatment.

Stelmach repeatedly asked if he was being detained and the trooper told him he was detained for the crash investigation. Stelmach became very argumentative and agitated. The trooper told Stelmach that someone witnessed him walking naked near the crash scene.

The trooper also pointed out the broken glass chards on his chest and Stelmach said, “I have no idea, is that glass? How do you know it’s not f***ing crystals? The trooper then placed him under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The trooper determined Stelmach was driving south on Grassy Hollow Road in a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier and was driving too fast for the gravel road surface. The Cavalier began to slide as he negotiated a curve to the right.

Stelmach over-corrected twice, causing the vehicle to slide off the left side of the road, strike a tree, and turn counter-clockwise before coming to rest on the east side of the road facing north. The trooper discovered the registration had been removed from the vehicle and torn in half and he was unable to identify the vehicle by its VIN number due to the damage from the fire.

The trooper spoke with a firefighter with the Potosi Fire Department who said the fire started toward the rear of the vehicle. The firefighter also said he saw a small plastic gas can, which was partially melted, behind a large tree near the Cavalier.

The trooper noted that based on his experience, collisions which have caused a vehicle to catch fire are typically the result of a heavy front-end impact, resulting in extensive damage to the engine compartment. The trooper noted the Cavalier had no front-end damage, other than fire damage. It appeared Stelmach may have set the car on fire after crashing it.

Stelmach was taken to the Washington County Jail to be booked at the time. He was later released and is now wanted on a warrant with a $15,000 bond and is currently serving a four year sentence at the Southeast Correctional Center.



Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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