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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

76-year-old woman sipping Mike’s Hard Lemonade arrested after car wreck

Gale Amidon Lashua
Gale Amidon Lashua

A 76-year-old woman from Leesburg was arrested for drunk driving after her involvement in a car wreck led to the discovery of an open Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the vehicle.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper responded to a two-vehicle collision near the intersection of County Road 470 and Virgil Hawkins Circle at about 3:46 p.m. Wednesday, according to an arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol. Two vehicles were reportedly involved: a white Subaru sedan belonging to Gale Amidon Lashua and a black Chevrolet Suburban belonging to a male victim.

Upon arrival, the trooper spoke to the victim, who said he was driving west on CR 470 when he saw Lashua approaching from Virgil Hawkins Circle. Lashua ran the stop sign and collided with the victim, causing horizontal white paint transfer along the right rear quarter panel of his Suburban and front-end damage to her Subaru, the report said.

While talking to Lashua, the trooper immediately noticed an intense odor of alcoholic beverage that intensified when she spoke. Her eyes were watery and bloodshot, and she was very unstable on her feet. When asked to step away from her vehicle while being questioned, she nearly fell forward directly into one of the troopers. Lashua was only stopped from falling due to him grabbing her shoulder, the report said.

Lashua had trouble finding her license, registration, and insurance, as well. She initially thought the victim had them until she was told otherwise, and she handed the troopers unrelated documents from the glovebox twice. Lashua eventually produced her license and registration, but not her insurance, according to the report.

Based on these observations, the troopers asked Lashua to perform field sobriety exercises, to which she agreed. However, she failed to follow instructions and almost fell over multiple times, leading the troopers to believe she was driving under the influence of alcohol, the report said.

This conclusion was confirmed with a search of Lashua’s vehicle, during which they found an open container of Mike’s Cranberry Hard Lemonade. Breath samples taken later provided readings of .165 and .162 – twice the legal limit, the report said.

The Minnesota native was taken to the Lake County Jail, where she was released after posting $1,000 bond.

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