The Bizarre World of Florida

Teacher blew a .27 two hours after she was pulled over .. on her way to school at 7:00 a.m. April 16, 2014

0416_nclo_vaughn_nancy_t120A high school teacher was arrested and charged with driving under the influence while on her way to school on a Monday morning.

Nancy Vaughn, a 57-year-old reading teacher at a high school in Estero, Fla., was pulled over shortly before 7 a.m. after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a car driving erratically near the school, swerving in and out of lanes. Vaughn denied being under the influence of any substances and stated that she was on her way to work.

However, when Vaughn failed a field sobriety test, the officer arrested her on suspicion of DUI. She ended up having Breathalyzer test readings of 0.26 and 0.27, more than three times the legal limit, when she was tested about two hours later, reported the Naples Daily News.

Vaughn is on probation related to a May 2013 DUI to which she pleaded no contest. She received one year county probation and a one-year license revocation as part of her plea agreement, though she was allowed to drive to and from work.


Woman tweeted “2drunk2care” before driving the wrong way on a highway at 100mph and causing a double fatality accident April 10, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Controversy,Dangerous Nut,Drunk,DUI,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:21 pm

KAYLA2Five months after a wrong-way wreck on the Sawgrass Expressway which claimed two lives, the driver who allegedly caused the crash, Kayla Mendoza, made her first appearance before a judge, according to CBS Miami.

Mendoza, 21, was taken into custody Monday by the Florida Highway Patrol and charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, as well as manslaughter and driving without a license for the early morning crash that claimed the lives of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante on Nov. 17, 2013.

Mendoza appeared in a wheelchair before Circuit Judge John “Jay” Hurley. Her attorney told the judge Mendoza may have been the victim of involuntary intoxication. However, Hurley sited the suspect’s Twitter post before the crash which stated she was “2 drunk 2 care.”

According to her boyfriend, Javier Reyes, the tweet was aimed at him. In a search warrant, investigators said witnesses told them Mendoza, who did not have a driver’s license, was drinking at the Tijuana Taxi Co. in Coral Springs prior to the crash.

Hurley told the family members of the women who died he could not hold Mendoza without bond because of the charges, and then set bond at $600,000. CBS Miami reported that if she makes bond, Mendoza would be placed under house arrest.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Mendoza was driving the wrong-way on the highway when she slammed into Catronio’s car. Catronio, 21, was killed and Ferrante, who was driving the car, was seriously injured and later died.

“She changed the lives of our family forever,” said Gary Catronio, Marisa’s father. “You took my baby girl. You took my wife’s best friend. You made bad decisions that night. The right decision was to have a friend drive you home.”

Investigators said Mendoza had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit after the accident, as well as marijuana in her blood. At least ten drivers called 911 in the early morning hours of that day to report seeing a wrong-way driver traveling recklessly at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Christine Ferrante, Kaitlyn’s mother, said she hopes Mendoza never gets another chance to enjoy her freedom.

“I don’t want her to ever feel the sunshine ever,” Ferrante said. “I want her to stay locked away forever.”

“We need to see her in that courtroom — not wearing what we’re wearing, wearing that jumpsuit and knowing that she destroyed a life and now she destroyed her own,” said Kaitlyn’s sister, Ashely Ferrante. “She made her bed and she has to lie in this now.”

The Catronio and Ferrante families are suing Tijuana Taxi alleging that “Throughout the evening of November 16, 2013 and the early morning hours of November 17, 2013, Tijuana Taxi Co., willfully sold or furnished alcoholic beverages to Mendoza, a minor not of the lawful drinking age.”


Vampires, nudists, snakes: Nobody does wacky like Florida April 7, 2014


By: Scott Maxwell

Last week, news broke that a congressional candidate in Gainesville had a secret pastime: impersonating vampires. And superheroes.

Some people would call this nutty.

In Florida, we just call it Tuesday.

Seriously, that’s not even our highest-profile vampire story. Remember the “vampire killings” from Lake County?

Some of our stories are heartbreakingly tragic. But so many are also mind-numbingly strange.

In Florida, we do weird the way Kansas does wheat.

Here, giant pet snakes escape. And breed. And then invade our national parks.

We have fish that eat people, alligators that eat people and people who eat people.

Two years ago, when news of the “cannibal attack” broke, the nation let out a collective gasp … until learning it was Miami. Then it all made sense.

We have killer amoebas, hanging chads and diaper-wearing astronauts. (All of which would make awesome rock-band names, by the way.)

We have a town named Christmas … where it never snows. We have the world’s smallest post office and a couple trying to build America’s largest house.

I used to think Florida attracted wacky people. Now I think it creates them.

Take my grandfather, for example.

Early in his life, he was a NASA engineer in Virginia — and as strait-laced and buttoned-down as they came. His passions were photography and crossword puzzles.

Then he moved to Florida. After Grandma died, we worried that our sober and contemplative grandfather would become listless and uninspired.

He became neither of those things. Instead, he became a nudist. (Lending more credence to the notion that it’s never the people you want to see naked at a nudist resort.)

At first, we were all: What the heck, Granddad?

But you know what? He found new life and inspiration. He’d travel down Interstate4 from Ormond Beach to Cypress Cove, where he’d pay strict adherence to the two main rules: Never take pictures, and always place a towel on the bar stool before you sit down.

Florida liberated him. And he spent the remaining, widowed years of his life happy. So you go, Granddad.

By the way, nudity is another one of our weird themes.

•”Nude man found dead on killer whale’s back”

•”Florida Lotto winner seeks to open a nude dude ranch”

•”Blind woman sues nudist colony over heavy dog”

Florida newspapers carry such headlines the way other papers carry horoscopes.

Some of that is understandable. It’s hot down here.

And I don’t mean happy, sand-at-your-toes, wind-in-your-hair hot. I mean sweaty-thighs-stuck-to-your-car-seats, armpit-stains-like-dinner-plates hot. It’s enough to make anyone nutty. And naked.

But it cuts both ways. When it’s hot, it makes us crazy. When it’s pleasant, we attract other states’ crazies. I mean, if it’s January and you’re already planning to run a scam, con or heist, would you rather do it in Buffalo or Boynton Beach?

This state is also lousy with newspapers and TV stations, meaning we have more ink-stained wretches and blow-dried broadcasters than your average state to tell all the weird stories.

Finally, there’s our melting-pot effect.

You simply can’t throw so many different cultures together and not expect some fireworks.

But you know what? That is also part of what makes this state so splendidly unique.

We have character and texture — a bouillabaisse of native and newcomer, sinner and saint, scholar and simpleton.

It’s a fusion that produces a weeklong bacchanalia in Key West and pioneering medical research at the Burnham Institute.

It’s the reason Orlando can turn out just as many people for a Veterans Day parade as it does for Come Out With Pride.

And it explains how a mild-mannered rocket engineer can feel inspired to start a new life by ditching his pocket protector — along with everything else he’s wearing.

And, yes, it’s also how we end up with some of the wackiest politicians in America — including a vampire-impersonating, superhero-mimicking, punk-rock lawyer running for Congress.

Just what we need … another lawyer in Congress.


Report: Man convicted of 13th DUI — after being charged with 14th DUI

sfl-flduh-3th-dui-20140404-001A Tennessee man was found guilty Wednesday of his 13th DUI and will now have his license permanently revoked.

Bob Ray Towry also faces up to 21 years in prison.

After deliberating about 45 minutes, a jury found Towry guilty of driving under the influence on a fourth or subsequent offense, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer without violence.

“I don’t think he is going to learn his lesson, but at least we got him off the streets,” Assistant State Attorney Ashley Dusnik said.

Towry was arrested July 15, 2006, by the Holmes Beach Police Department, however, he failed to appear at a hearing April 10, 2007, according to court documents.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Towry was working as a foreman on a construction project.

Last December, Towry was arrested in his native Tennessee for a 14th DUI offense. He was extradited to Manatee County on Dec. 7.

On Dec. 13, Towry wrote a letter to Judge Edward Nicholas apologizing for missing his court date in 2007.

“I made a mistake and received a DUI,” Towry wrote. “It was first offense when I left. Then it moved up to 4th offense.”

His third offense in Florida, he claimed was 13 years prior.

“In Tennessee the DUIs are no longer held against you after 10 years,” Towry added.

Towry wrote he has a decent job as a general foreman and usually helps build hospital and prisons.

Towry was also charged with refusing to submit to testing and pleaded no contest.

Now Towry faces a lengthy prison sentence although there is no minimum mandatory jail term under Florida law.

“In Tennessee and Georgia, they don’t have a law where a fourth or subsequent DUI is a felony,” Dusnik said. “It’s important to note, all the prior DUIs were misdemeanors so the most he has ever been sentenced to jail has been one year.”

A sentencing hearing has not yet been set.



DUI arrest: Man asleep at the wheel with burrito in hand April 1, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Beautiful,Drunk,DUI,Florida Nut,Interesting,OK Then .....,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:12 pm

An inebriated Deltona man was found asleep in his car at a traffic light early Monday holding a half-eaten burrito, Volusia County sheriff’s deputies said.

sfl-flduh-dui-asleep-burrito-20140331-001Daniel Hernandez, 36, who had a hard time waking up, was charged with driving under the influence, an arrest report shows.

Deputies said they were called by a witness who first spotted Hernandez at Howland Boulevard and Newmark Drive, and saw the car drifting from side to side on the road. After an almost five-mile drive, Hernandez stopped at the traffic light at Courtland Boulevard and Doyle Road and would not move. After 15 minutes and several cycles of the traffic light without Hernandez moving, the witness called 9-1-1, a report states.

When deputies arrived at the scene they saw Hernandez asleep in the driver’s seat holding a half-eaten Taco Bell burrito.

Hernandez was asleep with his foot on the brake and the engine running. Deputies banged on his window for about 10 minutes and Hernandez would not wake up, the report states.

Deputies had to a break a window, secure the car and then rub Hernandez’s sternum and try other means of stimulation for two to three minutes before he woke up. Hernandez’ breathalyzer test showed his alcohol level was 0.177, twice the legal limit of 0.08 when drivers are considered impaired, deputies said.


DUI arrest: Major field sobriety test fail March 24, 2014

A woman in Marion County was taken to jail Thursday after deputies say she was intoxicated at a gas station and laughed in their faces when asked if she was drunk.

sfl-flduh-dui-laughed-drunk-20140321-001Deputies said Lori Ann Krosser, 54, stumbled out of the Kangaroo Express gas station on Southwest 103rd Street in Ocala and went toward her car at one of the pumps. When a deputy asked her if she was driving, Krosser laughed at him, the arrest report said.

The report said that Krosser “had very slurred speech and smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage.”

Krosser got into the car, which his when the deputy called for backup and told her to get out of the car, deputies said. According to deputies, there were several open containers of beer in the car.

Deputies said Krosser told them she was lost and had been drinking. They described her in the arrest report as having bloodshot, watery eyes and difficulty balancing.

Deputies attempted to perform a field sobriety test, but they said Krosser was so drunk that she started stumbling in random directions and into one of the officers, deputies said.

A clerk at the gas station told deputies that Krosser had made a scene in the store trying to buy cigarettes and was sitting in her car for 30 to 40 minutes before they got involved, deputies said.

DUIMarion-pngKrosser was arrested and taken to Marion County Jail. When she got there, deputies said, she urinated in her pants, refused to take a breathalyzer or sign any documents and admitted to owning marijuana that was found in her purse when she arrived, telling deputies she forgot it was there.

Krosser has been charged with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and smuggling contraband into a detention facility.


Dude who’d been drinking decides to ‘drive it off’ March 14, 2014

Michael Moore said his wife told him he’d been drinking to excess.

michael_moore_mug-thumb-150x217-15235So, Moore told Stuart police, he decided to “drive it off.”

Moore made the statement around 12:35 a.m. Feb. 13 after an officer noticed his sport utility vehicle appeared to be speeding on U.S. 1, according to recently released records.

Police stopped Moore, 61, in the 800 block of Southwest U.S. 1 and reported he smelled of booze, appeared to have glassy eyes and slurred his speech.

He told one officer he was coming from home and had “a couple” of drinks. He said he was en route to a bar for “a few” more.

Moore told another officer he got in an argument with his wife and left for a drive.

He also told me that his wife told him that he (had) been drinking too much so he decided to go out and ‘drive it off,’” an arrest affidavit states.

Some who overindulge in alcohol “sleep it off,” or go to sleep until sober.

Law enforcement officials frown on those who drive after copious quaffing.

Moore was given field sobriety exercises, and a breath test measured his blood alcohol content at 0.104 and 0.103 — greater than the 0.08 limit.

Moore, of the 8100 block of Southeast Peppercorn Court in Hobe Sound, was arrested on a DUI charge.



Slow and unsteady wins a trip to the slammer March 13, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Dangerous Nut,Drunk,DUI,Dumb,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:05 pm

sfl-flduh-slow-drive-jail-20140312-001Kerpens Clercira evidently caught the eye of an Indian River County Sheriff’s sergeant.

It was around 2:40 a.m. Feb. 22, and Clercira, 25, was driving a Toyota Camry north on U.S. 1. He was traveling at an estimated speed of 5 mph — about 40 mph slower than the posted limit, according to statements in a recently released arrest affidavit.

Clercira, who eventually was arrested on a DUI charge, also couldn’t maintain a single lane.

The sergeant stopped Clercira. Clercira slurred his speech and couldn’t follow instructions, such as requests to keep his hands by his side.

Another deputy introduced himself to Clercira, and extended his hand.

“Clercira in turn extended his hand in an attempt to shake my hand; however, he missed my hand,” the affidavit states.

Asked whether he had anything to drink, Clercira, who smelled of booze, said he had two margaritas at about 10:30 p.m.

The size and strength of the margaritas, alcoholic beverages that typically contain tequila and lime, were not clear.

Clercira, of the 4100 block of 16th Street in Vero Beach, was given field sobriety exercises before being arrested on a DUI charge.

A breath test measured his blood alcohol content as being between 0.283 and 0.318 – more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.


Woman charged with DUI — 2 days out of detox March 12, 2014

sfl-flduh-dui-two-days-detox-20140311-001A Marco Island woman was arrested two days after her release from a detox facility, accused of driving under the influence.

Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Florida Highway Patrol troopers were sent to a crash on Collier Boulevard near Fiddler’s Creek Parkway, where a Mercedes had rear-ended a Dodge Charger. Both vehicles rotated before coming to rest in some shrubbery on the shoulder of the road.

The driver of the Mercedes, 19-year-old Briana Mary Donaghy, told troopers she was texting at the time of the crash. Donaghy and a passenger in her car were taken to NCH Downtown Naples Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver and passenger in the Dodge, a couple visiting from Wisconsin, also were taken for treatment at Physician’s Regional Medical Center.

When troopers met Donaghy at the hospital to continue their investigation, she seemed confused and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, according to an arrest report. She told troopers she had been released from a detox facility Friday and was hanging out that night with friends she had met in rehab.

After Donaghy was medically cleared, she was driven to the Naples Jail Center for booking. While en route, she pulled a baggie of marijuana from her underwear and handed it to the troopers, according to the arrest report.

Donaghy, of the 1300 block of Bayport Avenue, faces one count of DUI, five counts of DUI property damage/personal injury and one count of marijuana possession.


News flash: Don’t expect to catch 40 winks at a 60-second red light March 11, 2014

sfl-flduh-honk-wake-up-20140310-001A woman who showed up drunk to pick her children at a day care in Deltona was arrested, Volusia County deputies said.

A motorist called deputies to report that Lisa Vantunen, 45, was driving on the wrong side of Providence Boulevard and followed Vantunen to a day care at Faith Baptist Church. When deputies got to church at Providence Boulevard and Voyager Street, deputies found the vehicle with the door open and the engine running, a report shows.

Vantunen was seen exiting the day care with two small children and when deputies approached the vehicle, they found Vantunen pressing hard on the brakes trying to shift into gear, the report said.

When Vantunen stepped out of the vehicle, she stumbled and almost fell. Deputies also noticed that she had an abrasion on her knee and Vantunen told them she had fallen down when she got to the day care, deputies said.

Vantunen said she had been drinking all day Friday and smelled of alcohol, deputies said.

A day care worker was asked to care for the children until their grandmother, traveling from Port St. Lucie, could arrive, sheriff’s investigators said.

The motorist who reported Vantunen said she kept falling asleep at intersections and swerving all over the road, almost hitting pedestrians. At one time, motorists had to honk their horns to wake her up, the witness told investigators.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,620 other followers