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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Leesburg man claims fourth DUI arrest was entrapment

Keith James Powell
Keith James Powell

A Leesburg man claimed he was entrapped by police when he was arrested for drunk driving for the fourth time.

Keith James Powell, 60, was also charged with resisting arrest after the traffic stop, which happened around 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the parking of the China Wok restaurant, located at 3337 U.S. Hwy. 27/441.

Officers responded to a report of a possible drunk driver in a green Chevrolet Avalanche and found Powell sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition and the vehicle running, according to the arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department.

The officers noticed a glass bottle in the center console and asked what kind of drink it was. Powell allowed them to look at the bottle and they saw it was ginger beer containing no alcohol. However, the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage emanated from Powell while he spoke with the officers. When asked what else he had to drink, Powell said he had “a couple beers,” the report said.

Powell refused to participate in field sobriety exercises and the officers asked him to step out of his vehicle so he could be placed under arrest. When one of the officers placed a hand on his arm in an attempt to detain him, Powell started pulling away and reached for his cell phone to call his wife, according to the report.

Officers gave Powell verbal commands to “stop resisting” and ordered him to put the phone down. Powell continued to pull away and an officer drew his pepper spray and told him to stop or be sprayed. Powell  briefly continued to resist before allowing himself to be detained, the report said.

While on the way to the Lake County Jail, Powell became verbally abusive, saying he was parked at the time of his arrest and this entrapment. He also said he would have the officer’s badge, but he immediately followed up with, “love you guys though,” and, “I understand you have a job to do.” Powell then returned to his abusive language, according to the report.

Once at the jail, the New York native refused to submit to a breath test. He was charged with DUI (fourth offense) and resisting an officer without violence. He was released after posting $11,000 bond and will appear in Lake County Court on Aug. 1.

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