Florida Keys

He hit a gas pump and told police: No point in breath test, I’ve been drinking for hours

Michael P. Higgins
Michael P. Higgins Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

A Naples, Fla., man booked into jail on DUI and hit-and-run charges complained of chest pains and suicidal thoughts, then told deputies his was just playing “games,” according to his arrest report.

Michael P. Higgins, 38, was taken to Plantation Key jail after he hit a pump at the Chevron gas station at mile marker 91.8 with his car and drove off.

A witness at the Chevron told police that Higgins appeared intoxicated. A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy stopped Higgins’ 2003 BMW convertible at another gas station at mile marker 90, around 2:30 p.m.

Higgins said he thought he hit a sign, and didn’t think he had to stop. The deputy saw damage to the car’s front, right yellow amber light and paint scrapes on the bumper, says the arrest report.

Deputies wrote they could smell alcohol on Higgins’ breath and his speech was slurred, but the driver refused to take a breath test or conduct field sobriety exercises.

Higgins, without being questioned, volunteered that taking the tests would be pointless since he had been drinking since 1 p.m., according to the arrest affidavit. This was around 3:15 p.m.

Deputy Orlando Alvarez wrote that the smell of alcohol became stronger every time Higgins spoke.

Higgins’ passenger, Joy Reiseman, reportedly began yelling at deputies and throwing items on the ground, including her iPhone, which she smashed, deputies said. She was not charged.

Higgins was taken to Plantation Key jail’s DUI room. Again, deputies asked him to submit to tests to gauge his blood-alcohol level. Again, Higgins refused, according to the arrest report.

Deputies say Higgins yelled that he had to use the rest room. When a deputy told him to wait a few minutes, Higgins reportedly stood next to a trash can and threatened to urinate into the bin.

As a procedural matter, deputies took Higgins to Mariners Hospital for medical clearance since he was in a car crash. At the hospital, Higgins shouted that he was having chest pains and was suicidal.

“After Higgins said that, he looked at me and said, ‘I can play games, too,’ ” Alvarez wrote in his report. Doctors cleared Higgins and he returned to jail.

While there, he began punching doors and windows, and deputies placed him in a “restraint chair.” A background report run by deputies showed Higgins has a record of past DUI arrests, including some that happened out of the state.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper inventoried Higgins’ BMW and found a quarter-full 1.75 liter bottle of Tito’s Vodka on the floorboard of the passenger side of the vehicle.

Higgins was booked in Key West jail on five counts of refusing to sign a citation, two counts of driving under the influence and causing property damage, one count of driving under the influence, and one count of leaving the scene of a traffic accident. No bail amount has been set.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204