Tallahassee, FL- Florida state Representative Dane Eagle (R.-Cape Coral) once said elected officials “should be held to a higher standard.” But now he may have to eat those words since he was arrested for driving under the influence after making a late-night run for the border.
According to reports, Eagle was leaving the Taco Bell on West Tennessee Street in Tallahassee when he was spotted by a police officer. Eagle started to head west, but made a U-Turn. He began heading east when he ran into a curb in front of Papa John’s, he veered over and ran into a another curb, Tallahassee.com reported.
After striking the curbs, Eagle continued traveling east and ran a red-light at the Tennessee and Dewey streets.
A Tallahassee officer initiated a stop and noticed that Eagle smelled of alcohol and had blood shot, watery eyes. When asked why he ran the red light Eagle said he thought it was yellow and told the officer he hadn’t had any alcohol beverages that night even though he was swaying as he exited his vehicle. He also blamed the strong odor of alcohol emanating from his SUV on friends who had been in his car earlier that night.
Eagle refused to submit to a breath test and told officers he was fine to drive home. He was later booked into the Leon County Jail.
Eagle’s DUI arrest is a bit ironic considering the fact that he introduced legislation that would require lawmakers, elected officials, judges, school board members and others to submit to drug testing. His bill would force any lawmakers to resign if they refuse to submit to testing, stating, “We need to be as elected officials held to a higher standard.”
He filed a companion bill that would keep the results of those drug tests from public view but would require any positive results to be forwarded to the state’s Commission on Ethics.
In a statement given to the News-Press Tuesday morning via a legislative aide, Eagle said:
“I was arrested in Tallahassee and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol,” Eagle wrote. “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. Under advice of my legal counsel, I cannot discuss all the details right now, but I look forward to publicly 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.”
In the state of Florida, like many states, refusing to submit to a breath test results in an automatic one-year suspension of a person’s driver’s license.
With the help of a DUI attorney, Eagle might be able to avoid losing his license and may be to plea to the lesser charge of “wet reckless” since this is his first offense and he didn’t cause an accident, though judging by the way he was driving that could have been a real possibility if police hadn’t pulled him over.