State Politics

Florida lawmaker facing DUI charge after late-night Turnpike stop

State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, was charged with driving under the influence early Friday while on Florida’s Turnpike in St. Lucie County
State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, was charged with driving under the influence early Friday while on Florida’s Turnpike in St. Lucie County

State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, was charged with driving under the influence early Friday after a state trooper stopped his Jeep on Florida’s Turnpike in St. Lucie County and a Breathalyzer test showed that his blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

A Florida Highway Patrol arrest affidavit said Pigman’s vehicle, with the Florida license tag H55, was weaving in and out of its southbound lane as the lawmaker headed home to Okeechobee County after the third week of the legislative session in Tallahassee.

“Once I got to the front passenger window, I could immediately smell an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from within the vehicle,” Trooper Abe Dacosta wrote in his arrest report. “That was confirmed when I saw an open wine bottle in the front passenger seat.”

The trooper’s report said: “I noticed that his pupils were constricted, his eyes were bloodshot and watery while the defendant was standing in front of me. I asked the defendant if he had anything to drink tonight. He stated, ‘No.’ I then placed the defendant in the rear of my patrol car for his safety.” The trooper said Pigman was so off balance that he “almost fell” while being given a field sobriety test. He was booked into the St. Lucie County jail in Fort Pierce and his Jeep was towed away.

Pigman, 58, is an emergency medicine physician and is chairman of the Health Quality Subcommittee in the House. Married with five children, he’s a veteran of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army reserves who saw duty in Iraq, Guatemala and Kuwait from 2011-2013.

Pigman has engaged in spirited debate on Twitter because of his skepticism about the effectiveness of medical marijuana. “There’s an old adage,” Pigman tweeted last Tuesday. “Any substance which is claimed to cure everything rarely cures anything.”

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