The Bizarre World of Florida

Man struck pedestrian, hid under nearby pickup truck July 10, 2014

A 28-year-old Lake Worth man is facing charges after police in West Palm Beach said he struck a pedestrian and tried to hide under a pickup truck.

sfl-flduh-pedestrian-hid-truck-20140709-001David Luax was driving a car that hit a person in the 1000 block of Caroline Street in West Palm Beach at about 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, according to a West Palm Beach police arrest report.

Luax and two passengers then ran from the scene and hid under a Ford pickup truck about 75 feet from the crash, according to the report.

Found by police after two witnesses pointed out where he was hiding, Luax told officers he had consumed five beers, according to the report.

Luax faces charges of driving without a valid license, DUI with failure to give information or render aid, and leaving the scene of a collision with property damage, court records show.



DUI arrest: Affectionate woman mistakes DVD for driver’s license July 4, 2014

A booze-smelling Fort Pierce woman was arrested after presenting a DVD when asked for her license and after trying to kiss a deputy, according to a recently released affidavit.

sfl-flduh-dui-dvd-drivers-license-20140703-001The driver, 45-year-old Luonna Goldstein, supplied a DVD when asked for her license.The case of the liquored-up lady began brewing about 12:45 a.m. June 14 as a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputy stopped a 1997 Pontiac in the 4200 block of South U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce after suspected traffic violations.

Goldstein’s slurred speech was “accompanied by the aroma of alcoholic beverages and inability to follow simple instructions.”

A deputy got the keys from the ignition of Goldstein’s vehicle.

Goldstein, apparently not aware that her keys were no longer in the ignition, reportedly said she was leaving while trying to start her vehicle and put it in drive.

She was asked to step out of her car, and when she opened the door it hit the deputy’s leg.

As the deputy tried to ask about her alcohol consumption and/or use of medication, she kept saying, “(Racial epithet) please!”

At one point Goldstein tried to kiss the deputy and at another she tried to give him a hug.

Investigators determined she wasn’t able to participate in field sobriety exercises, arresting her on a DUI charge.

Breath tests measured Goldstein’s blood alcohol content at 0.249 and 0.251 – more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Goldstein, of the 5200 block of Palm Drive in Fort Pierce, was taken to the St. Lucie County jail.


DUI suspect had 3 kids in the bed of his pickup June 25, 2014

A man was arrested in Jupiter on Monday after police said he drove drunk with three kids in the bed of his truck, sped away from police, hit a bicyclist and then resisted arrest, according to an arrest report.

sfl-flduh-dui-kids-bed-pickup-20140624-001Jupiter police said Brian Ferguson, 34, was driving with three children ranging from 9 to 16 in the bed of his truck about 5 p.m. Monday in Jupiter near U.S. 1 and A1A.

Another driver saw Ferguson driving the truck erratically in the parking lot of Brix Restaurant, 1000 N. U.S. 1, and became alarmed after she saw a boy pop his head out from the bed of the truck.

She called 911 and tried to position herself in front of the truck, but the driver of the truck got around her and traveled west on East Indiantown Road, according to the report.

When police caught up with him, they said they tried to pull him over. He slowed for a second, but took off, police said. They chased briefly, but the officer stopped because he said he was afraid the children in the back of the truck might get hurt in a police pursuit.

The officer kept his sights on where Ferguson was going, and followed him along Indiantown Road. Shortly after stopping his chase, the officer said he saw smoke and a vehicle that was not Ferguson’s with heavy damage.

The officer also saw a person on the ground next to a bicycle. A witness told police they saw a truck make a sharp turn, which caused damage to the other vehicle and caused the bicyclist to be hurt.

Around the corner, the officer saw Ferguson’s truck crashed into a fence, and three boys — ages 9, 12, and 16 — still in the bed of the truck, according to the report. Ferguson was nowhere to be seen.

Police called for a K-9 unit to track Ferguson, according to the report. He was found about 50 feet away hiding in a bush. The K-9 bit him when he resisted, according to the report.

Meanwhile, officers were getting the story from the children as to how they ended up in Ferguson’s truck. One of the boys said he knew Ferguson, but didn’t say from where. He told police Ferguson offered to drive him and his friends to a bridge off U.S. 1 so they could jump off into the water below.

While they were at the bridge, Ferguson drank about four Four Loko’s — an alcoholic beverage — and told the kids to get in the back of the truck. One of the boys said when police started following Ferguson, he sped off.

The children had minor bruises and were transported to the hospital.

Ferguson was also taken to the Jupiter Medical Center, where his blood was drawn. Ferguson’s blood-alcohol content, according to the report, was a .33. The legal limit in Florida is.08.

Ferguson is charged with child abuse, DUI, fleeing officers and resisting arrest, among other charges. He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.


Judge picked up for DUI …… in the courthouse parking lot May 28, 2014

images was arrested Tuesday, accused of driving to work at the Broward County courthouse while under the influence of drugs, striking a patrol car and repeatedly hitting the gate of the judges’ parking lot with her BMW, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The judge was also accused of driving into a concrete median on Interstate 595 shortly before her arrest. Deputies said Rosenthal admitted to taking an Ambien pill Monday night and did not appear to have been drinking alcohol.

The arrest happened around 8:45 a.m., when Rosenthal’s BMW SUV struck a parked Sheriff’s Office vehicle in the parking lot, Keyla Concepcion, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

A request for Rosenthal’s booking mug shot was denied by the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Concepcion said Rosenthal, 56, made a request in writing to keep the photograph private because she is a sitting judge. She was booked into the main jail on one count of driving under the influence and one count of driving under the influence and causing property damage, according to jail records. She was released on a $1,500 bond late Tuesday.

Rosenthal was driving a BMW X3 SUV that was still stopped at the entrance to the judges’ parking lot between the courthouse and the Broward Main Jail late Tuesday morning. The driver’s side rearview mirror was dangling on the side of the door, but there was no debris, indicating the damage to the mirror occurred before she reached the parking lot.

According to an arrest report, Rosenthal struck the parked patrol car with the passenger side of her SUV, then continued toward the security gate of the judges’ parking lot. She struck the gate, put her vehicle in reverse, then struck the gate several more times before a deputy at the scene stopped her, according to the report.

Although she was described as unsteady on her feet and was speaking with a slurred voice, deputies said they did not smell alcohol.

Rosenthal volunteered that she had been involved in another crash before she reached the parking lot, according to the report. She told deputies a truck attempted to run her off the road on Interstate 595 and that she had captured the incident on a cellphone video.

The deputy reviewed the video and determined that there was no truck trying to run her off the road. “The video did display that [Rosenthal] was unable to maintain a single lane, drove in the breakdown lane and failed to avoid a collision with a concrete wall,” wrote the deputy, Michael Wiley.

Rosenthal submitted to a breath test but declined to give a blood or urine sample to test for the presence of drugs in her system. She failed a field sobriety test.

Michael Dye, a Fort Lauderdale defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases, said Rosenthal may not be in much legal trouble if Ambien is all she took. “Under Florida law, Ambien is not listed as a controlled substance,” he said. “It doesn’t apply to Florida’s impaired driving statute.”

Rosenthal is the third Broward judge arrested for DUI in the past six months.

Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato, 57, has a pending DUI case resulting from a November 2013 incident in Boca Raton.

And on Friday, Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack was suspended from the bench pending an inquiry over allegations that she took the bench while intoxicated.

Pollack, 56, was arrested May 1 after a car crash in Plantation. Another driver was injured and Pollack was charged with four counts of DUI and failure to use due care. In that case, the State Attorney’s Office said it would ask the governor’s office to appoint a prosecutor from another county.

State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ron Ishoy said the same request will be made in Rosenthal’s case.

Broward Circuit Judge Martin Bidwill will be taking over Rosenthal’s caseload until further notice, said Meredith Bush, spokeswoman for the Office of Court Administration, which handles judicial assignments.

Rosenthal was appointed to the bench in July 2012 by Gov. Rick Scott and is up for re-election this year.

Her opponent, Jahra McLawrence, called her arrest “disappointing” and cautioned that she remains innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty.

“If true, it would be disturbing to know she was about to take the bench and decide on people’s fates while under the influence,” he said.

Rosenthal had been an Assistant United States Attorney since 1985, prosecuting international drug trafficking, money laundering, human smuggling, firearms trafficking, arson, tax fraud, bank fraud, bank robbery and other federal crimes.


Drunken woman said she was home schooling child at restaurant May 22, 2014

A DeBary woman was arrested and charged with drunken driving and child neglect after she was caught speeding in a school zone, minutes after a restaurant worker made an intoxicated person complaint, an arrest report shows.

sfl-flduh-drunken-home-schooling-20140521-001A deputy asked Jones what she was doing at the Swamp House Grill in DeBary and she said that she home schooled the 8-year-old child she had in the vehicle and that she was at the restaurant for a teaching lesson, reports note.

Sheilah Jones, 48, was charged with DUI and child neglect after a deputy monitoring a school zone saw Jones speed through, the report states.

According to reports, a waitress from the Swamp House Grill had called dispatchers at 1:37 p.m. Monday to report that Jones had been in the business drinking for about an hour, reports state.

A deputy responded to the restaurant but could not find Jones. Then, as the same deputy monitored traffic at a school zone on Highbanks Road at DeBary Elementary School, he saw Jones speeding at 1:57 p.m., reports said. When the deputy pulled over Jones for driving 36 mph in the 20 mph school zone, she smelled of alcohol, reports said.

A breath test showed Jones had an alcohol level of 0.178 and 0.174, twice the limit of 0.08 when a driver is considered impaired under Florida law, deputies said.

Jones was arrested and the child was turned over to a neighbor at Jones’ request after deputies could not reach the child’s father, reports indicate. Jones was released Tuesday from the Volusia County Branch Jail on her own recognizance.


Skunk drunk? Signs someone is stinking sloshed May 20, 2014

sfl-flduh-drunk-signs-20140519-001A Sunrise police officer is unhurt but the 24-year-old man accused of rear-ending the officer’s patrol car is in a pile of trouble, according to the arrest report.

Officer Cory Gindlesperger was providing backup for a traffic stop in the center lane of 11500 W. Oakland Park Blvd. just before 2 a.m. Sunday. The emergency lights were flashing on his marked police vehicle, the report stated.

Gindlesperger was out of his vehicle when Nathaniel Martin, of Sunrise, plowed his silver Kia into the back of it, sending the patrol car about 50 feet down the road, police said.

Martin was uninjured. He was found sitting on the curb with bloodshot eyes, flushed skin, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol emanating from him, the arrest report stated.

During a roadside sobriety test, an investigator asked Martin if he knew what had happened. Martin said he was trying to get home and incorrectly thought he was on Sunrise Boulevard. When asked if he knew he had crashed into a police vehicle, Martin told the investigator he did not crash into anyone, the report stated.

Martin admitted he had too much to drink and needed help getting home. When asked if he would do a voluntary roadside sobriety test Martin said, “I’ll do whatever you need.” But, he had trouble standing up and walking from the curb to the white line on the roadway, stumbling a few times and nearly falling down, police said.

The investigator stopped the roadside test early because he felt Martin could not complete it without injuring himself. Police said a breath test indicated a blood alcohol level of .212, nearly three times the legal limit.


Police say a man was distracted due to the presence of his half-naked wife gyrating on his lap while he was driving May 9, 2014

Deputies say a Loxahatchee Groves man was half-naked and speeding while drunk and stoned with his half-naked wife on his lap when the car he was driving launched over a canal, crashing into the far side.

sfl-matthew-notebaert-20140508The impact caused serious injuries to Matthew P. Notebaert, 30, but it killed his 31-year-old wife, Amanda, on March 9.

Notebaert made his first appearance in court on a host of charges Thursday morning. With Notebaert appearing to wipe away tears, a judge set bond at $50,000. The Notebaerts have two children, a 9-year-old boy and 7-month-old daughter, his attorney told the judge.

The car was airborne for 30 feet, crashing into the far bank of the canal. Neither of the Notebaerts were wearing seatbelts and both were naked from the waist down, according to the affidavit. Amanda Notebaert’s head hit the dashboard and windshield, while Matthew Notebaert’s knees were crushed by the lower part of the dashboard. She died at the scene.

An investigator at the hospital reported that Notebaert smelled strongly of alcohol and was vomiting. The investigator overheard Notebaert telling someone on a phone call that he “was not paying attention and drove down the wrong road and they wound up in a canal and killed his wife.”

A search of the crashed vehicle turned up a flask with a whisky-like liquid inside. Toxicology results showed Notebaert had a blood-alcohol level of .135 to .163 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent. Results also returned a high level of active and metabolized THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana.

Notebaert was jailed Wednesday on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and DUI property damage.


DUI arrest: Woman lost near her own parking space May 6, 2014

A highly intoxicated Ormond Beach woman driving with two small children crashed into another car in her apartment complex and did not know where she was, an arrest report states.

sfl-flduh-drunk-mom-kids-20140505-001Tonia Grange, 36, who had her children ages 10 and 6 in her car, was charged with two counts of child abuse that could result in physical or mental injury of a child and DUI, a charging affidavit shows. Grange’s breath test registered her alcohol content level at 0.292 and 0.306, nearly four times the limit of 0.08, when a driver is considered impaired under Florida law, police said

Grange and the children were uninjured, police said.

According to the report, Ormond Beach police were called to the Olive Grove Apartments on West Granada Boulevard by a witness who heard Grange crash into a car at the apartment complex at 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

The witness told police she saw Grange circle the apartment parking lot several times before finding a spot and parking diagonally in it, the report states.

Police arrived and saw Grange eating with french fries all over her shirt.

Grange said she had been drinking vodka and cranberry juice and when asked how many, she said “too many,” police said.

Grange apologized and said she made a mistake, police said.


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.”



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