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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Man jailed after being caught driving weeks after losing his license

Willie Edward Merchant2
Willie Edward Merchant

A Leesburg man whose license was suspended after a DUI arrest earlier this month was arrested again Monday night after being stopped for speeding on State Road 50 in Groveland.

Willie Edward Merchant, 59, was charged with driving with a suspended license after being pulled over at around 9:30 p.m. Merchant was previously arrested April 13 on DUI and drug charges after an officer saw him stopped at a green light, and his license was suspended that day.

According to the Groveland Police arrest report, an officer saw Merchant driving at a speed that was unsafe for the driving conditions, which included wet roadways from the rain. Radar showed Merchant was traveling 69 mph in a 55-mph zone, the report said.

The officer told Merchant why he was stopped and asked for his driver’s license. Merchant said he didn’t have his license on his person, so he provided his social security number instead. The officer ran a computer search and discovered Merchant’s driving privileges were revoked after his prior arrest. Merchant claimed he was issued a temporary permit by the DHSMV while attempting to get a hardship license, but he did not have that paperwork on him and could not provide proof, according to the report.

Merchant, who was also issued a written warning for speeding, was taken to the Lake County Jail, where bond was set at $10,000.

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