HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood city manager charged with DUI

 

Blood-alcohol level was significantly higher than the legal limit.

cteproff@MiamiHerald.com

Hollywood City Manager Douglas Hewett was charged with driving under the influence after leaving a gay strip club in Northeast Miami-Dade in the early hours of Easter Sunday.

The April 8 arrest came to light Friday.

However, Hewett — who had been on the job just six weeks when the incident occurred — told his bosses immediately.

“At the time of the incident, I advised each member of the City Commission who expressed their concerns about this serious matter,” Hewett wrote in an e-mail Friday.

According to the Miami-Dade police report, just after 3 a.m. Easter morning an officer saw Hewett enter the left turning lane and then swerve back into his original lane. He was pulled over at 156th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

“I immediately noticed the defendant had red bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and the strong smell of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath,” the officer wrote in the report.

According to the report, Hewett, 41, had just left Swinging Richards, a gay strip club in North Miami Beach. The club bills itself as South Florida’s only all male, all nude strip club, according to its website.

Saturday nights — which last until 6 a.m. Sunday — feature an all-dancer review at midnight, the website boasts.

Hewett told the officer he had drunk two Coors Light beers; two breath samples showed his blood-alcohol level was .145 and .139, significantly higher than the .08 legal limit.

According to city spokesman Jaime Hernandez, Hewett was absent from work April 9 for a personal day.

“Given the nature of this incident, I’ve retained an attorney,” Hewett wrote in his e-mail Friday. “On his advice, I’m unable to discuss the facts of this case at this point. However, I deeply regret how this may negatively reflect on the City of Hollywood. I look forward to resolving this matter and continuing to serve the city.’’

Hewett, who was hired Feb. 27 out of a slate of six finalists, makes $172,000 a year. He came from Fayetteville, N.C. and was lauded by the Hollywood Commission for his energy and fresh ideas.

On Friday, most of the commissioners, while acknowledging they were disappointed in Hewett, said he still had their support.

“I am assuming this is an isolated incident and we should treat it that way,” said Commissioner Dick Blattner, adding that Hewett has done a great job for the city over the last few months.

Commissioner Patricia Asseff said the incident happened on Hewett’s own time and she was going to leave it to the courts to decide his punishment.

“Unfortunately things happen,” she said. “He’s got my support.”

But Commissioner Heidi O’Sheehan acknowledged Friday that she was “gravely concerned about the incident and the delay in discussing it.”

O’Sheehan said she discussed the matter with City Attorney Jeff Sheffel, who advised the commissioner to “let the legal process take its course.”

On Friday, Sheffel confirmed he thought the city should stay out of it.

Questioning Hewett about the arrest could impact his defense, Sheffel said.

“It may impair his ability to have his rights vindicated through the legal system,” he explained.

Mayor Peter Bober, however, said Friday that the commission will need to discuss this at some point at an open meeting.

“I don’t think you can just pretend like this didn’t happen because it calls into question his judgment,” Bober said.

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