Florida man wasn’t drinking while driving, just at stop signs


Earle G. Stevens Jr. took some pain meds around noon. Then he started “actively drinking” at 2 p.m.

By dinnertime, he had driven from Port St. Lucie to Vero Beach and was sitting in a McDonald’s drive-thru bumping into the car in front of him.

That’s all according to an Indian River County Sheriff’s Office report of the alleged June 27 incident. When police arrived at the fast-food restaurant, they found the 69-year-old man inside his car with a bottle of Jim Beam, wrapped in a paper bag, on the seat next to him.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said when officer Kevin Jaworksi asked how he was feeling, according to the arrest report.

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He then told Jaworski about having several drinks and taking pain medicine earlier in the day, but wasn’t aware of hitting anyone in the drive-thru.

When asked if he was drinking and driving, Stevens, of Vero Beach, explained that he was only drinking when he was stopped at stop signs and not when the car was moving, according to the police report.

After failing several parts of a field sobriety test, Stevens was taken to jail where he took a Breathalyzer test. The results: 0.153 and 0.147.

He was charged with DUI and not having a Florida driver’s license, but has since been released from jail after posting bond.

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