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Friday, June 2, 2023

Ocala man with two prior DUI convictions charged again

A 45-year-old Ocala man with two prior DUI convictions was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was observed weaving back-and-forth along SE Maricamp Road.

On Saturday, March 4, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a white pickup truck traveling eastbound in the 5800 block of SE Maricamp Road in Ocala. The deputy noted in the MCSO report that the vehicle began to weave within the lane and touched the white line on both sides of the roadway approximately eight times.

As the pickup truck continued heading eastbound, it crossed the white line and nearly struck another vehicle. The deputy was concerned that the driver of the pickup truck was having a medical emergency, and a traffic stop was conducted in the 9200 block of SE Maricamp Road, according to the MCSO report.

The deputy approached the pickup truck and made contact with the driver and sole occupant, identified as William Francis Berry III.

William Francis Berry III
William Francis Berry III

In the MCSO report, the deputy noted that Berry was unable to focus and seemed to “lose his train of thought” while speaking. Berry told the deputy that he had not consumed any alcohol, and he agreed to perform field sobriety exercises.

According to the MCSO report, the deputy first conducted the ‘horizontal gaze’ exercise, and no problems were observed with Berry’s eyes.

The second exercise tasked Berry with walking heel-to-toe and turning on an imaginary line. The report stated that Berry lost his balance during the instructional portion. When the exercise began, he did not keep his hands by his side throughout the exercise, and he stopped to regain his balance three times.

The final exercise was the one-leg stand, and the deputy observed that Berry was unable to maintain his balance.

Berry was detained in handcuffs on suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI). During a search of the pickup truck, the deputy located a black digital scale underneath a bag containing Berry’s clothing. A white powdery substance was observed on the scale that field-tested positive for cocaine.

A criminal history search of Berry revealed that he has two prior DUI convictions in Cortland, New York (1998) and in Marion County (2006).

Berry was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail. While at the jail, he consented to a breath sample and no alcohol was detected. He refused to provide a urine sample and claimed that the deputy was “trying to set him up,” according to the MCSO report.

Berry is currently being held at the jail on $6,000 bond. He is being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (third violation in more than 10 years) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 4, according to jail records.