Florida

Florida man driving lawn mower charged with DUI after hitting a police car, cops say

A Florida man is facing DUI charges after police say he struck and damaged a police vehicle with the lawn mower he was driving.

While a Haines City police officer was inside a business in the 1100 block of U.S. 17 on Saturday, a loud noise came from outside, according to a news release from the department.

The officer walked outside and saw 68-year-old Gary W. Anderson on a lawn mower, with a trailer attached. There was also minor damage to the rear plastic piece of the police officer’s vehicle that had been parked nearby, the news release stated.

Anderson reportedly told police he was drunk and hit the police vehicle, but denied causing any damage, the release said.

Anderson’s driver license was suspended in March 1978. He has twice been convicted of DUI, according to police.

According to police, Anderson’s demeanor “ranged from laughing to aggressive” with officers and he was not able to complete field sobriety tests.

Anderson was taken to the police department, where he claimed he had been poisoned by police and asked to go to a hospital, according to the release.

Police said Anderson agreed to a breathalyzer while at the department, but did not give police an adequate sample. However, he did at the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, and it was measured more than three times the legal limit at .241, according to the news release.

The hospital also found cocaine in Anderson’s system, police said.

Anderson said officers put the cocaine in his system and directed profane language and racial slurs at officers, according to the release.

“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,” a statement from Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said in a release.

Anderson was charged with a DUI violation and refusal to submit a DUI test after license suspended, both first-degree misdemeanors.

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