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Sunday, December 10, 2023

DUI suspect jailed after charging at officer during field sobriety exercises

Robert James Boulieu
Robert James Boulieu

A Leesburg man was arrested after he reportedly charged at an officer guiding him through field sobriety exercises.

Robert James Boulieu, 70, was charged with simple assault (LEO, firefighter, EMT, etc.), DUI (first or second offense), and resisting (obstructing without violence) after the incident, which happened around 8:45 p.m. Thursday when he was pulled over by a Leesburg police officer on Emmerson Street for having a headlight out, an altered taillight and no functioning tag light.

The officer also saw Boulieu swerve out of his lane and fail to completely stop at a stop sign, according to the arrest report.

The officer spoke with Boulieu, who had impaired speech and glossy eyes. He was unable to focus when searching for his information and answering the officer’s questions at the same time, but he was ultimately able to provide his driver’s license. The officer then asked Boulieu to get out of the vehicle. As he did so, he was unsteady and swaying, the report said.

Boulieu told the officer he had just left Steve’s Package and Lounge, located at 1302 South 14th St. He also stated he had one 16-ounce MD alcoholic beverage at about 2 p.m. and was given a pain pill from UF Health Leesburg prior to having his drink. The entire time he spoke, Boulieu swayed and had trouble maintaining his balance, according to the report.

Boulieu initially refused to participate in field sobriety exercises but agreed once the officer explained he would make a determination based on what he saw. While performing the exercises, however, Boulieu became increasingly agitated. He ignored the officer’s demonstration and aggressively charged towards him in a hostile manner with his fist clenched, the report said.

The arresting officer received help from another officer in detaining Boulieu and placing him in hand restraints. Boulieu braced his arms and tried to pull them away from the officers’ control, making it difficult to lawfully detain him. He was eventually properly handcuffed and detained, according to the report.

While interacting with the officer, Boulieu complained of medical issues including COPD and emphysema. He stated he did not have any medical issues that would cause him not to able to perform the field sobriety exercises, the report said.

Boulieu was evaluated at the scene by EMS and taken to UF Health Leesburg. While at the hospital, he was asked to move from the EMS travel stretcher to the hospital bed, and he refused to comply. An officer tried to assist during the transfer, but Boulieu grabbed the bed and braced his arms, making it difficult to get him into the hospital bed. Boulieu also refused a breathalyzer test, according to the report.

Once discharged from the hospital, the Wisconsin native was taken to the Lake County Jail. He was released after posting $4,000 bond. In addition to the criminal charges, Boulieu was issued five uniform traffic violations for the lights and disregarding road rules.

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