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Monday, March 4, 2024

Woman hallucinates in police station while being booked for DUI, drugs

Peggy Sue Heller
Peggy Sue Heller

A Leesburg woman started hallucinating in the police station while she was being booked for DUI and meth possession.

Police responded shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a black Hyundai Sonata swerving through traffic and driving recklessly near the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King and Citrus boulevards. The vehicle was spotted traveling south in the left lane of U.S. Highway 441 approaching the intersection of Newell Hill Road, according to the Leesburg Police Department arrest report.

As officers approached, the vehicle changed lanes without signaling and then drifted all the way to the right shoulder, going so far as to travel onto the curb and the shoulder. An officer pulled the vehicle over and spoke with the driver, identified as 59-year-old Peggy Sue Heller. She told the officer she was on her way home from a friend’s house in Ocala, the report said.

While speaking with Heller, the officer noticed she was slow and sluggish in her responses, her eyes appeared glassy, her pupils were slightly constricted, and her speech was slurred. Heller agreed to perform a series of field sobriety exercises, and her performance led the officer to determine she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to the report.

Heller denied drinking alcohol and said she was on medication for medical conditions. Police searched her vehicle and found a red clutch purse in the center console. Inside the purse was a clear glass pipe with a burnt end and white powder residue. Also found was a clear plastic bag with white powder, a rock-like substance, and a short blue straw. The white powder later tested positive for methamphetamine, the report said.

Heller was arrested and taken to the Leesburg Police Department to be booked. Once there, the officer observed more signs of impairment, as Heller began hallucinating and on multiple occasions fell in and out of consciousness, according to the report.

Heller was breath-tested and there was no alcohol in her system. A drug recognition expert (DRE) was requested but no one was available at the time, the report said.

As the officer monitored Heller’s condition and waited for a DRE, Heller stood up from the bench she was shackled to, started hallucinating by pointing at the ground and mumbling, and fell backwards. She then informed the officer her tailbone and neck were hurting. Lake County Fire Rescue was called, and Heller was taken to UF Health Leesburg for evaluation, according to the report.

Heller was ultimately cleared from the hospital and taken to the Lake County Jail. She was charged with DUI and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $4,000.

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