A Florida lawmaker was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early Monday morning after police saw him run a red light.
Tallahassee Police officers pulled over state Rep. Dane Eagle (R) around 2 a.m., according to court documents obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat. The officers first spotted Eagle pulling out of a Taco Bell restaurant. He then had a near miss with one curb before veering into a second curb and running a red light.
The officers said Eagle’s eyes were bloodshot and they smelled alcohol on his breath, according to the documents. Eagle told the officers he didn’t drink any alcohol that night, despite stumbling out of his vehicle, and attributed the alcohol smell to friends he had driven that had been out at a bar.
The lawmaker then refused a sobriety test and told officers he was “good to get home,” according to the documents. He was booked at Leon County Jail and was back on the floor of the House for a vote Monday afternoon.
Eagle acknowledged the arrest and the DUI charge Tuesday in a statement to the News-Press.
“While there are some decisions that I would have made differently, I do not believe there is a complete and accurate picture of the events,” Eagle said in a written statement released through an aide. “Under advice of my legal counsel, I cannot discuss all the details right now, but I look forward to publically (sic) sharing the entire story at an appropriate time. Until then, I humbly ask for everyone’s patience. I know that I am accountable for my actions, and I look forward to communicating with my constituents in the near future on this matter.”
Eagle is the second lawmaker from Southwest Florida to run into trouble with police in recent months. U.S. Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) resigned in January after he pled guilty to cocaine possession.
The Huffington Post noted that Eagle filed a bill last month that would subject elected or appointed officials from Florida to drug testing — everyone from lawmakers to judges to school district officials. Under Eagle’s bill, an official who refused such a test would be forced to resign.
Image via Florida House
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.