Gary Anderson, 68, was being questioned after Haines City Police found him drunk in a riding lawn mower that allegedly struck a police car outside the Rodriguez Fashion store about 7 p.m. local time.
— Amy Gehrt (@AmyGehrt) May 6, 2019
The police officer noticed something was wrong after hearing a loud bang from the direction of the parking lot.
On returning to his vehicle he saw the bumper had fresh damage, and the mower was towing a black trailer carrying a red-and-white cooler, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Drunk Florida man accused of crashing riding mower into police car https://t.co/CpdUZX3qQZ
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) May 6, 2019
The officer claims Anderson admitted he had just struck the police cruiser and he was driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. The man denied causing any damage to the police car.
Anderson then began laughing before becoming aggressive towards the officer.
Drunk Florida man mowing grass crashes riding mower into a parked police car, blood alcohol limit .241, that’s 3 times legal driving limit, charged with DUI on his lawn tractor. Tells officer “F—- it. I’m drunk. Take me to jail.” @FOX29philly https://t.co/SwV59NEieG
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) May 7, 2019
Police took Anderson into custody and drove him to the Haines City Police Department. The suspect then claimed he had been poisoned and asked to be taken to the nearest hospital. Police transported him to the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Davenport, 34 miles southwest of Orlando.
On arrival Anderson agreed to do a Breathalyzer test, which showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.241—more than three times higher than the level when a driver becomes impaired.
Police also found cocaine in the suspect’s blood system. Anderson claims police planted the drug in him.
And in news from my home state. Police: He was drunk. He rode a lawn mower. He hit a cop car. He’s a Florida man. (And he had cocaine in his system. Who would have guessed?) https://t.co/vjMAetdJFf
— George L. Duncan (@GeorgeLDuncan) May 7, 2019
According to officers, Anderson’s driver’s license had been suspended since March 1978, when the Jimmy Carter Administration (D) was still in power, and he’s been convicted twice of DUI. The suspect was also accused of using racial slurs against police.
Anderson is being charged with committing his third DUI offense in a decade, driving with a suspended license, and declining to participate in a DUI test. He is being held at the Polk County jail and bail has been set at $3,000.
— 1 Fort Lauderdale (@1_ftl) May 7, 2019
Police commended the actions of the officer on duty.
“I’m proud of the professional demeanor our officers showed when dealing with this heavily-intoxicated, belligerent offender,” Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said in a Twitter post dated May 6. “It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel drunk, even if that wheel is to a Craftsman, Massey Ferguson or John Deere.”