A South Daytona man sobbed in a patrol car as he was being taken to the Marion County jail after a one-vehicle crash in Ocala.
Randy E. Brown, 49, was behind the wheel of a 2003 black Ford Focus shortly after 3 p.m. Monday when he lost control, ran off U.S. Highway 441 and struck an embankment about a quarter-mile south of the intersection with SE 80th Street, causing about $2,000 in damage to the vehicle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol report.
Brown was standing near the vehicle, talking on his cell phone, when a pair of FHP troopers arrived at the scene. The troopers immediately noticed a strong alcohol smell on Brown’s breath and observed his eyes were bloodshot and watery, his speech was slurred, and he was staggering slightly when walking and standing, the report said.
Brown showed the deputies his Florida Identification Card and said the crash happened because someone got in his way. A computer check revealed Brown has no valid license. He said the vehicle belonged to someone else but his girlfriend was purchasing it, according to the report.
A search of the vehicle revealed at least two empty cans of Natural Light on the passenger floorboard. The interior of the vehicle also had a strong odor of alcohol, the report said.
A witness told the troopers she was northbound on U.S. Hwy 441 when she saw Brown, who was southbound, lose control and cross the median and northbound lanes in front of her. She said the vehicle almost overturned as it struck the embankment, according to the report.
The witness said Brown was the lone occupant of the vehicle. When asked if she noticed anything unusual about the driver, she said she is a registered nurse and that Brown appeared impaired, the report said.
Brown was taken to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office substation, just north of the crash scene, where he failed a serious of field sobriety tests. He said he had two beers at a Walmart in Pensacola about two or three hours earlier, according to the report.
Brown was charged with DUI with property damage and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. While he was being transported to the jail, he fell asleep in the back of the patrol car, then woke up and began to sob. When asked if he was OK, Brown didn’t answer, the report said.
A breath-alcohol test returned readings of .171 and .168 – more than twice the legal limit. Brown is being held on $12,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Nov. 7.