A man who was spotted by an Ocala Police officer last week driving without a seat belt soon found himself behind bars.
The officer on Thursday morning stopped 36-year-old Richard James Fischkelta, who was driving a white 2003 Ford Ranger pickup in the 100 block of N Magnolia Avenue. He made contact with Fischkelta and reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol inside the vehicle. Fischkelta said he had just pulled out of a nearby methadone treatment facility’s parking lot and was getting ready to put his seat belt on when he was stopped, an Ocala Police report states.
The officer reported that Fischkelta’s eyes were glassy, watery and slightly red, with little pupil reaction. Fischkelta said he hadn’t been drinking that morning but had consumed alcohol the night before, the report says.
The officer then invited Fischkelta to participate in field sobriety exercises. He failed all three and was placed under arrest, the report says.
Fischkelta claimed he suffered from allergies and had just awakened. When advised that he was showing signs of impairment, he said he hadn’t consumed any alcohol in 8-9 hours and had “just forgot to brush his tongue,” the report says.
Fischkelta also said he had consumed three beers the afternoon before, two cups of mixed whiskey drinks at a pool hall and three more beers to help him sleep. He was transported to the Marion County Jail, where breath tests showed blood alcohol contents of .098 and .094, the report says.
Fischkelta, who lives in the 700 block of SE 24th Street in Ocala, was charged with driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level above .08. He was released early Friday morning on $1,000 bond and his next court date hasn’t yet been set, jail records show.