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Sunday, June 4, 2023

DUI suspect arrested in Publix parking lot with open bottle of vodka

Joseph Ciechanowski
Joseph Ciechanowski

A Manatee County man was arrested in Eustis after police found an open bottle of Tito’s vodka in his truck.

Joseph Ciechanowski, 52, of Parrish, was charged with DUI, refusal to submit breath for testing, and refusal to sign a criminal citation after his arrest Sunday night outside the Woodland Center Publix supermarket, 1950 State Road 19, where police responded to a report of a drunk person stumbling around the parking lot, according to the arrest report from the Eustice Police Department.

The police chief arrived at the scene and found Ciechanowski sitting in the driver’s seat of a white 2019 Dodge Challenger. The chief spoke with him briefly and noticed the odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He kept Ciechanowski seated within the vehicle until two other officers arrived on scene, the report said.

When the two officers approached the vehicle, they noticed that Ciechanowski had glossy bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech. They also detected the odor of alcohol, according to the report.

The officers asked Ciechanowski to provide his driver’s license and registration multiple times, to which he responded by fumbling through his wallet and pulling out several credit cards. Based on this observation, Ciechanowski was believed to be under the influence of alcohol, the report said.

This prompted the officers to ask Ciechanowski to exit the vehicle. He continued to slur his words but refused to exit the vehicle. One of the officers opened the driver’s side door and assisted Ciechanowski out of the vehicle. The officer noticed a bottle of Tito’s vodka a quarter empty laying on the passenger seat during this process, the report said.

Ciechanowski stumbled alongside the vehicle and used the door to help balance himself once he exited the vehicle. He refused to perform field sobriety exercises or answer questions, and officers placed him in custody and transported him to the Lake County Jail. Once at the jail, Ciechanowski also refused to provide a breath sample.

A criminal check revealed Ciechanowski had refused to provide a breath sample for a prior arrest. He refused to sign his DUI and submit citations, too, the report said.

Ciechanowski was arrested and taken to the Lake County Jail, where he was released after posting $2,000 bond.

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