South Florida

You probably didn’t know you could get arrested for DUI — on a horse

Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies hitched the horse to their patrol car before transferring him to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies hitched the horse to their patrol car before transferring him to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility.

This isn’t your average DUI charge.

A Central Florida woman was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of DUI while on a road in Lakeland.

The twist: She was not in a car, but on a horse. Can we say RUI? Riding While Intoxicated? (Insert equine joke here.)

Donna Byrne, the day before her 53rd birthday, was taken into police custody after a passerby noticed that the horseback rider appeared confused.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, cops were called and “pulled over” the horse on Combee Road near North Crystal Lake Road in Lakeland.

Deputies said when the woman dismounted, she was staggering, reeked of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. She provided breath samples, showing a blood alcohol level of 0.157 and 0.161, about twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

“Ms. Byrne was obviously not in any condition to be on the road,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a release. “She not only put herself and the horse in danger, but also anyone who was driving on the road, which is typically very busy.”

Byrne was also slapped with an animal abandonment charge because she did not provide proper protection for the horse, which police say she put in jeopardy of being injured or killed.

The Sheriff’s Office said Byrne's criminal history includes five felony and 10 misdemeanor charges, including cruelty to animals, drug possession and a probation violation.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the horse’s name is Boduke. Cops hitched the animal to a patrol car while it ate grass and then transferred the horse to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility.

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