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'Citizen' reporter jailed for drunk driving, felony battery

Terry Schmida covers education and social services for The Key West Citizen .
Terry Schmida covers education and social services for The Key West Citizen .

A Key West Citizen reporter skipped out on his meal tab and tried to run a restaurant manager over with his car early Saturday morning, Key West police say.

Terry Schmida, who turned 45 on Friday, is charged with felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor drunk driving and theft. He remained in the Keys jail early Saturday with no bond allowed.

According to a report from Key West police officer Michael Diaz, Schmida was at the Denny's at 925 Duval St. When it came time to pay his $9.23 bill around 2 a.m., all he could produce was a stack of his business cards and a $5 bill. He told manager Nicole Estep he would go to his car, a white Toyota, to get money.

She and another employee went outside, as well. That's when Schmida decided to drive away, Diaz wrote. He allegedly accelerated his car with Estep in front of him, forcing her onto the hood. Then he took off, with Estep left on the ground.

After a be-on-the-lookout notice was issued, Schmida was stopped on Flagler Avenue by officer Jesse Young. Young put him through a field drunk-driving test after Schmida fumbled with papers and reportedly "mimicked the stance of 'The Karate Kid.' " Young wrote that Schmida failed the test. Schmida reportedly "begged for his freedom not be to be arrested" and asked to be driven home.

He was arrested and taken to the Stock Island jail, where he was pepper-sprayed and Tased because he was "noncompliant."

Schmida covers education and social services for the Citizen.

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