Florida Keys

Florida man sentenced to four years in DUI case — his fourth DUI conviction

When a Daytona Beach man was pulled over in the Florida Keys on a suspected driving under the influence charge in 2016, cops say he asked them if he could just turn his car off and walk home, according to court records.

Deputies refused, which led to a judge last week sentencing Shawn Ryerson, 47, to four years in state prison. That Sept. 12, 2016, arrest ended up being his fourth conviction on DUI since 1991.

Monroe County Judge Mark Wilson also sentenced Ryerson to 12 months of drug offender probation when he gets out of prison, said Monroe County State Attorney spokesman Larry Kahn.

“Ryerson was previously convicted of DUI in 1991 and 1998 in Seminole County and in 2013 in Volusia County,” Kahn said.

On the night of his 2016 arrest, a deputy pulled him over as he was driving out of a Tom Thumb convenience store in Marathon, according to a State Attorney’s Office press release. The deputy stated in her report that she saw him stagger out of the store to his truck. She asked him if he had anything to drink that night, and he responded he had “a little bit,” Kahn said.

Inside the truck was an opened bottle of Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, which is a malt liquor beverage, according to the press release.

When another deputy arrived and asked Ryerson to perform a series of field sobriety tests, he responded, “How about we shut the door, turn everything off and walk away,” according to the release.

He finally agreed to do the exercises and failed, Kahn said. Deputies took him to the Marathon sheriff’s office substation, where he refused to take a breath test to measure his blood alcohol level.

In an April letter to Wilson seeking leniency, Ryerson said he had just returned from Daytona Beach, where his fiance and her three disabled children live. He was staying in Big Pine Key while he was in the Keys working on a construction project.

The eight-hour drive from Daytona aggravated his inguinal hernia and he stopped in the Brass Monkey bar in Marathon for a drink to relieve the pain so he could make it to Big Pine, which is about 10 more miles away, he wrote in the letter. The pain from the hernia was also the reason he could not pass the field sobriety test, he wrote.

He told Wilson he did not plan to drink the rest of the malt liquor until he arrived in Big Pine.

“I have not had a DUI since 2003, and now, pertaining to this case, I had just drove eight hours straight, all the way from Daytona Beach, so I could then be ready for work the very next morning for work,” he wrote. “I stopped in Marathon for a cocktail to help myself take the edge off and ease my pain from the long drive.”