Florida Keys

She was so high she thought her hand was a phone. Her pal’s reaction landed him in jail, cops say

Alberto Sanchez
Alberto Sanchez

A woman was so intoxicated on drugs and/or alcohol in Key Largo Thursday night that when Florida Keys police asked her to call a friend or relative to pick her up, she held her hand up to her ear and had an extended conversation, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Her male companion’s reaction to deputies asking her who she was talking to landed him in jail, where he remained Friday afternoon.

Monroe County deputies responded to a possible drunk driving call at mile marker 110 on the northbound side of U.S. 1 around 7:40 p.m. and found a man, Alberto Sanchez, 29, and a woman, Mireya Ramos Lopez, 21, standing next to a Ford F-150 pickup truck. There was a large pool of vomit next to the pickup, said Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Two off-duty police officers — one from Homestead and the other a Loudoun County deputy — had already stopped to render aid to the couple when they saw the woman throwing up. The Monroe deputy, Joel Torres, stated both Sanchez and Ramos-Lopez were visibly drunk or high.

“Sanchez and Ramos Lopez had a ‘thousand yard stare’ and were swaying in place. Their eyes were bloodshot, and Sanchez had sputum accumulating on the corners of his mouth,” Torres stated in his report, adding, “Both Sanchez and Ramos Lopez spoke slowly and deliberately with slurred speech.”

Sanchez told police he and Ramos Lopez were at Gilbert’s Resort Tiki Bar and were heading back home to Homestead.

Torres saw neither of them was in any condition to drive and asked them to call someone who lived within 20 miles of where they were parked who could pick them and the truck up. That’s when Ramos Lopez made her right hand into the shape of the phone, held it up to her ear and began having a conversation. Torres stated in his report that he believes she was hallucinating.

When he asked her who was on the phone, Sanchez became aggressive, balled up his fists and charged Torres. Torres, according to his report, grabbed Sanchez by the right hand and took him to the ground. The off-duty cops helped Torres hold Sanchez to the ground while he cuffed him.

Ramos Lopez was taken into protective custody “due to her inability to care for herself and the high likelihood she would be a danger to herself if left unattended,” Torres wrote in his report.

Deputies searched the F-150 and found an e-cigarette with a liquid marijuana cartridge.

Torres put Sanchez into the back of his car and took him to Plantation Key jail. On the way, Sanchez repeatedly banged his head on the partition that separates the back and front seats of the patrol car. He also threatened to stab Torres, according to the report.

“He had abrupt and marked mood swings, going from passive and respectful to threatening to cut my throat for having disrespecting ‘his girl,” Torres stated. “He made various comments about being from Mexico and illegal in this country. He stated he wanted to die and intimated that I would be doing him a favor if I killed him.”

Sanchez’s bond information was not immediately available. He faces charges of resisting arrest, disorderly intoxication and possession of a controlled substance.

On New Year's Eve, Michael Lester of Winter Haven, Florida called 911 to report that he was driving drunk. Lester was arrested for DUI, driving on the wrong side of the road, improper use of the center lane and for not wearing a seat belt.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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