Miami, FL- Police have charged an off-duty officer with a four counts after he drove drunk in a Publix parking lot and struck a shopping cart causing minor injuries to two young girls.
Officer Ryan Louis Robinson was in his personal vehicle when he drove drunk through the Cutler Ridge Shopping Center just after 8 p.m. He was outside the Publix grocery store where he slammed into a vehicle and shopping cart with Meah Garcia, 6, and her sister Geah Garcia, 3, inside. The girls suffered minor injuries.
The father of the two girls, Manuel Garcia, was holding on to the cart, trying to keep his daughters from hitting the pavement, the Miami Herald reported. But the cart fell to the ground and the girls hit the pavement, suffering minor head injuries and bruises.
After striking the cart, Robinson attempted to flee the scene but Garcia chased him down, pulled him out of his vehicle and took his keys. Garcia said Robinson was visibly drunk and was unsteady on his feet when he got out of his truck.
Garcia told El Nuevo Herald that there was strong odor of alcohol coming from Robinson’s car. However when police arrived they spoke with him and asked him for his license and registration, treating him like a perpetrator instead of a victim. Meanwhile, officers questioned Robinson, and told Garcia he could leave.
“But I told him that I wouldn’t leave until I saw what happened with that man,” Garcia told the Herald. “Only then did I learn that he was a police officer. I think they tried to cover up the incident to protect one of their own instead of the real victims.”
Two hours after the incident, a Lieutenant arrived on the scene to find Robison, sitting in the back of a patrol car without cuffs. After doing an evaluation, the officer decided Robinson was intoxicated and he was placed under arrest. He refused to submit to a breath test.
The Herald discovered Robinson has been involved in a string of traffic accidents in his patrol car and personal vehicle during his time as a police officer. The latest and his tenth occurred last July when Robinson tried to avoid a head-on collision and crashed his patrol car. Investigators later found a bottle of alcohol in his vehicle. He was reprimanded was suspended for three weeks after that incident.
Robinson is currently on leave, and is facing four counts of driving under the influence, damage to property and causing minor injuries to two people while driving under the influence, the Herald reported.
A DUI charge should always be taken seriously. A conviction can have major consequences—jail, thousands of dollars in fines and loss of driver’s license– so anyone facing these charges, police officer or not, should retain a DUI attorney to work on their defense. With a strong defense, the person charged with DUI may be able to avoid conviction or see their charges reduced.