Woman arrested for drunk driving after fleeing deputies
A Marathon woman, driving while intoxicated, refused to stop for deputies. They had to spike her tires in order to stop her as she fled northbound on U.S. One.
At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, deputies responded to McDonald’s restaurant in Marathon to reports of a woman driving recklessly who was possibly intoxicated. When they arrived, they saw 60 year old Janice Hastings in her 2005 Cadillac in the drive thru of the restaurant. She was blocking traffic and her vehicle was not moving. Another driver in the drive thru lane got out and told her to move, pointing toward the parking lot next door. The manager of the restaurant then approached the vehicle and asked her to move. Hastings then moved her vehicle to that parking lot, where she parked across several parking spots.
Deputy Matthew Cory approached her car to speak with her and saw her eating food in the front seat. As he was attempting to get her attention, the manager of McDonald’s called 911 to report her as a drunk driver. He then approached Deputy Cory and told him he believed the driver to be intoxicated.
Suddenly, Hastings put the vehicle in drive. Deputy Cory hit the car window and shouted at her to stop, but she hit the gas and, tires squealing, jumped a curb and began traveling north on U.S. One.
Deputy Cory turned on his lights and siren and began following Hastings. She was traveling at 45 miles per hour in the outside lane of the highway. She refused to stop. Two more officers joined in the pursuit, behind Deputy Cory.
Deputy Mark Martin was north of the pursuit location and got Stinger Spikes ready to deploy at the intersection of Coco Plum Road and U.S. One. He deployed the spikes in front of her car, successfully puncturing all four tires. Spikes are designed to puncture a car’s tires and slowly bring the car to a stop safely.
Hastings did not stop, however, and continued to drive northbound on four flat tires. Her tires disintegrated as she was driving and soon she was driving mostly on rims, frequently losing control of the vehicle and fishtailing, endangering oncoming cars. Deputies north of the fleeing car’s location stopped southbound traffic due to the danger. In addition, Deputy Cory passed the Cadillac and, at a safe distance in front of her, used his lights and siren to warn oncoming traffic of the danger.
Mechanical difficulties finally brought the vehicle to a stop at the 57.2 mile marker. Hastings refused to open the car door or car window so deputies had to break the window to remove her from inside.
As deputies were dealing with Hastings roadside, a vehicle drove by and a woman yelled “I told her to take a cab.” The woman stopped and told deputies she saw the Cadillac leaving JJs Doghouse bar earlier and saw Hastings driving southbound. She said the Cadillac ran a red light and hit the median several times. She said she was the original caller who reported the reckless driver.
As deputies spoke with Hastings, she reportedly appeared very impaired and was not making sense. She first said she couldn’t speak to them because she had flat tires. She then told them she didn’t stop for the lights and sirens because she was not speeding and had no reason to pull over.
Hastings refused to participate in any roadside sobriety exercises and she was placed under arrest. Once at the Detention Center, she refused any breath tests as well. At one point, she refused to spit out gum she was chewing and, when a deputy attempted to remove the gum from her mouth, she bit him.
Hastings was charged with fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. She was booked into jail.
Gas pump confrontation leads to arrest
A Big Pine Key man threatened a couple with his stun gun in a confrontation at gas pumps at a Big Pine convenience store Tuesday afternoon.
The victims told Deputy Jon Riggs they were pulling up to a gas pump at 3:30 p.m. at the same time as 38 year old James Severson was backing up to the same pump. The male victim said he got out of the car to stop Severson from hitting it with his vehicle. That is when the confrontation took place.
According to the victim and witnesses, Severson had his hand behind his back and walked up to the victim, stepping on his foot. The victim pushed him to get him off his foot and Severson brought a stun gun from behind his back, activating it and approaching the victim, who quickly stepped back to avoid being struck with the stun gun.
Severson then pointed the stun gun at the female victim, who also backed away.
The store manager told Deputy Riggs Severson had been in the store earlier in the day and was asked to leave after causing problems with other customers.
Severson was arrested. He was charged with battery and with aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.
Intoxicated man charged with misusing 911
An intoxicated man was arrested for misuse of the 911 emergency system Wednesday night after he was warned repeatedly not to call 911 by Sheriff’s deputies.
Deputy Daniel Hill responded to a home on Goodley Street on Grassy Key at 8:30 p.m. The resident of the home told the deputy he’d hired 54 year old Thomas Bieger, of Hollywood, Florida from a Craig’s List ad to help repair the home. He said he’d let him stay overnight in an extra bedroom. Now he wanted him to leave the home and Bieger, who was very intoxicated, was refusing to leave.
Deputy Hill told Bieger to gather his things and leave. Bieger refused, saying he would have to be evicted and demanding to see a supervisor. Sgt. Nick Whiteman responded to the scene and also explained to Bieger he would have to leave the property. Bieger continued to argue, demanding to see a lieutenant. When Sgt. Whiteman declined to call a lieutenant to the scene, Bieger said he would call 911 to demand a lieutenant respond. He was told if he called 911 in a non-emergency situation such as this one he would be arrested.
Bieger finally carried his belongings across the street from the house, off of the property. He was so intoxicated he had trouble balancing as he walked across the street. The officers stayed on the scene to make sure he complied with all of their orders. As the officers were standing in the street in front of the house, they saw Bieger begin to talk on his phone. Sgt. Whiteman asked Sheriff’s dispatchers if a drunk man was on the 911 line with them; they said yes, that a drunk man was calling them from a house on Goodley Street, Grassy Key.
Bieger was arrested. He was charged with misuse of the 911 system and he was taken to jail.