Florida man in lawnmower DUI crash accuses cops of poisoning him, police say

Police in Haines City, Florida, said 68-year-old Gary Anderson has two prior convictions on DUI charges.
Police in Haines City, Florida, said 68-year-old Gary Anderson has two prior convictions on DUI charges. Haines City Police Department

Police didn’t have a hard time catching a Florida man suspected of driving his lawnmower drunk — because the man crashed right into an officer’s car, authorities said.

Gary Wayne Anderson, 68, was driving a lawnmower in Haines City, Florida, on Saturday around 7 p.m. when he struck the parked police cruiser while an officer was inside a nearby business, according to a police news release. Police said the impact made “a loud noise.”

The officer went outside to investigate and discovered a bit of damage to the cruiser’s bumper. That’s when Anderson admitted to hitting the vehicle but denied that he had damaged the car, police said. Anderson also told the officer “that he was drunk,” the news release said.

Police said Anderson couldn’t complete a field sobriety test and had a demeanor that “ranged from laughing to aggressive.” He also had “extremely bloodshot watery eyes,” an arrest affidavit said.

“F--- it, I’m drunk,” Anderson told an officer, according to the affidavit. “Take me to jail.”

Anderson “almost fell to the ground multiple times while walking and standing” and told police he “had consumed a pint of wine prior to the crash,” the affidavit said. He was taken to a police station.

Anderson accused police of poisoning him and asked that he be taken to a hospital, according to police. He also said he had been poisoned when he got to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, police said.

Test results revealed Anderson’s blood-alcohol content was .241 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit in Florida, and that Anderson had cocaine in his system — but he accused police of giving him the cocaine, and used racial slurs and profanity at an officer, according to police.

Anderson faces charges of DUI and of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, according to the arrest affidavit. Polk County jail records said Anderson is in custody without bond, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

He has been convicted of DUI charges twice before, most recently in Osceola County in 1987, according to authorities.

“I’m proud of the professional demeanor our officers showed when dealing with this heavily-intoxicated, belligerent offender,” Chief Jim Elensky said in a statement. “It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel drunk, even if that wheel is to a Craftsman, Massey Ferguson or John Deere.”

Police released photos from the crash, which show minor scuff marks to the police car’s rear bumper and a red cooler in the trailer behind Anderson’s riding lawnmower.

Police shared a photo of the lawnmower involved in the incident, which was hauling a trailer with a cooler inside. Haines City Police Department

Police said Anderson hasn’t been licensed to drive since his license was suspended in 1978.

Anderson’s lawnmower and the trailer he’d been hauling were towed, police said. There was no serious damage to the cruiser.

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