Shortly before he was last seen alive, the retired Bend firefighter whose snow-covered body was found Monday had been taken to the hospital after a suspected drunken driving incident, according to new court records.

At around 8 p.m., Feb. 5, John McLean Love drove his 2015 Toyota Sienna off Horsell Road at the intersection with Willard Road, according to newly released court documents related to the crash investigation.

Two callers to 911 reported that Love was unconscious in the driver’s seat. He was snoring and his foot was pressed on the gas pedal causing the wheels to spin in the dirt, wrote Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy Michael Mangin in a request for a search warrant.

Mangin wrote he suspected Love was impaired based on the odor of alcohol on his breath and other factors, including glassy eyes, slurred and slow speech, a “sleepy” demeanor and confusion. Love allegedly believed he was on state Highway 31 at the time and traveling to California.

Due to his injuries, Love was unable to complete field sobriety tests and taken to St. Charles Bend to be treated and so a sample of his blood could be tested for intoxicants.

Hospital staff allegedly found a stainless steel water bottle in Love’s jacket pocket and the contents smelled “consistent” with tequila, according to Mangin.

Love allegedly admitted to Mangin he drank from the bottle prior to driving.

He was cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants and released from custody at St. Charles, according to sheriff’s Lt. Joe DeLuca.

Love left the hospital in a cab, according to Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh.

Between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Feb. 6, a cab driver dropped off Love near his home on St. Cloud Court.

That was the last time Love was seen alive.

On Monday, law enforcement agencies sent out a release seeking tips on Love’s whereabouts. After several hours, teams with dogs searched the area of Cooley Road and NE 18th Street and discovered Love’s body, mostly covered in snow in a large hole at a construction site, according to a release by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

The state medical examiner has yet to determine Love’s cause of death.

Love was hired by the Bend Fire Department in 1996 as a firefighter and promoted to fire engineer in 2002. After retiring in 2013, he was rehired as a volunteer coordinator in 2014. He retired again in 2016.

“He was a really, really nice guy,” said Bend Police Chief Jim Porter. “Completely into helping people. Just a really nice guy.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

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