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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Leesburg man claims to have had ‘approximately 15 beers’ before crash in front of Gator Harley-Davidson

Robert Michael West

A man was arrested late Monday night after a Leesburg police officer found him sitting in the bed of his black Dodge pickup truck after a crash in front of Gator Harley-Davidson on U.S. Hwy. 441.

The officer said 59-year-old Robert Michael West, who lives at 3520 Casteen Road in Leesburg, told him that he was heading west on U.S. Hwy. 441 when a green Dodge Caravan swerved into his lane, causing the vehicles to collide. The officer also noted in his report that an odor of alcohol coming from West’s mouth got stronger as they talked.
When asked if he had been drinking, West told the officer he had “two beers and a shot of vodka,” the report says, adding that West “would mumble his words” when being questioned.

The officer also noted that he repeatedly would have to ask West to repeat his sentences, at which point he “would laugh, then begin to mumble again.” The officer also said that West told him he was coming from the Copperhead Lodge Saloon, which is about 300 feet from the accident scene.

The officer said he asked West to walk across the street to the parking lot at Gator Harley-Davidson, but he had trouble doing so and fell to the ground before being assisted by officers.

When the officer explained the field sobriety tests he was going to perform, West said he couldn’t do two of them because of a “bad knee.” And when the officer was attempting to check his eyes, which he noted were glassy, West “became agitated and advised he would not perform the exercise any longer.”

West was arrested and transported to the Leesburg Police Department, where breath samples show a blood alcohol content of .225 and .226. He then told the officer he had consumed “approximately 15 beers.” West also stated that “he did not feel the effects of alcohol,” the report states.

West was transported to the Lake County Jail at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and charged with driving under the influence – accident/property damage or minor injury. He was released early Tuesday afternoon on $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in a Lake County courtroom at 8 a.m. July 18.

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