Walter Brundige

An Ocala man was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence last week after a night out at a local pool hall.

When an Ocala Police officer arrived at the intersection of NE 14th Street and NE 25th Avenue late last Wednesday night, he found a 1984 Nissan 300ZX facing eastbound on NE 14th Street with flat right-side tires and heavily damaged wheels. The officer noted that it appeared the car, which also was leaking antifreeze, “had been driven for an extended distance on the rims only.”

The officer spoke with a witness, who said she had approached the intersection and observed the vehicle to be completely disabled with smoke coming from under the hood. The witness said she also observed 64-year-old Walter Brundige attempting to start the vehicle and continue driving. And she said she thought he was possibly “under the influence,” an Ocala police report says, adding that Brundige then started walking around the car and had to be convinced to sit down in the passenger seat so he wouldn’t stumble into traffic.

Brundige told the officer that he “had no idea” what happened to his vehicle or how it got to where it was sitting.” He said he had been at Downtown Billiards and had “a couple of drinks,” the report says.

The officer noted that Brundige had glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage “emitting from his person.” The officer also said that Brundige wasn’t able to stand up straight and was continuously swaying back and forth. And Brundige claimed that “Richard” had been driving his car but he had stopped the vehicle and “took off running in an unknown direction,” the report says.

When asked if Brundige knew “Richard,” he said he did not. He then stated that he had attempted to drive the damaged vehicle to his residence, which was located just a few blocks away at 2921 NE 14th St. And he asked the officer to “just let him drive his vehicle home since he was so close,” the report says.

A short time later, Brundige failed five field sobriety tests, including not being able to recite the alphabet. He made it from A to U but then stated D, V before starting over. And the second time he only made it to V before starting over again and completing the test the third time.

Brundige was taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with his second offense for driving under the influence. He was being held on $2,500 bond and is due to appear in court Feb. 14 at 8 a.m. to answer to the charge.