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DUI suspect speeds away from Shamrock bar after having couple of drinks

A Fruitland Park man was arrested for suspected drunk driving when he admittedly left the Shamrock Lounge in Leesburg after having a couple of drinks.

Robert Chase Billings
Robert Chase Billings

An officer conducted a traffic stop on a red 2016 Chevrolet Colorado near Griffin Road and Peters Drive around 2:47 p.m. May 1, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. The officer advised others that the driver, later identified as 59-year-old Robert Chase Billings, was intoxicated. 

Another officer arrived on scene to assist and observed Billings speaking with the officer that stopped him on the front right passenger side of the vehicle. He was told to wait there while the officer briefed the other on the traffic stop up until he got there. The report noted that Billings began to walk to the back of his vehicle, taking staggered steps before leaning on it. 

The officer explained that he was slowing down to make a left turn onto Peter Drive 1300 when he saw Billings’ vehicle pull up behind him at a high rate of speed. He passed by the back of the officer’s vehicle before he could finish the turn and continued to travel north on Glenn Ridge Drive at a speed estimated to be 15 miles over the 25-mph residential zone, the report said. 

The officer then pulled back onto Glenn Ridge Drive and tried to get Billings’ tag number. As they approached the intersection with Griffin Road, he saw Billings fail to stop before a posted stop sign accompanied by a white stop bar on the roadway as the front tires passed over. It was at that point the officer got the tag number of the vehicle, the report said. 

Billings proceeded to turn left onto Griffin Road and traveled westbound in the Beverly Shores Elementary school zone. The officer initiated a traffic stop, during which he noticed Billings lit a cigarette. His vehicle finally stopped off Griffin Road, the report said. 

The officer stepped out of his patrol vehicle and asked Billings to do the same. He gave multiple verbal commands requesting he get out of the vehicle and walk to the sidewalk. As Billings did so, the officer observed that he was unsteady on his feet and fell back into his vehicle, bracing himself near the B pillar, the report said. 

The officer next approached Billings and identified himself, notifying him of the observed violations before asking him if he had his driver’s license. He also asked Billings to step out of the roadway and onto the sidewalk, the report said. 

As Billings began to move toward the sidewalk, he appeared to be unstable on his feet. He was wearing sunglasses, so the officer could not initially tell the condition of his eyes. His speech was slurred, and he swayed while he spoke, the report said. 

At that point, the officer requested an additional unit to assist with a DUI investigation. He spoke to Billings on the roadside, asking him where he was headed. Billings advised he was going “home.” The officer next asked where he was coming from, to which he responded “Shamrock.” The Shamrock Lounge and Package, located at 1120 W. N. Boulevard, is a local bar that was within a couple blocks of the area where the traffic violations happened, the report said. 

Billings was adamant that he was fine to drive and continued to repeat that he was “not drunk” because he only had a couple of drinks. The officer advised that the other officer would need to see his license and registration. He also asked Billings to go into the passenger’s side to collect those documents, the report said. 

Billings opened his glovebox and gave the officer his insurance card, again being asked for his license and registration. He grabbed his wallet from his front pocket and took out a grey debit card that he handed over. The officer showed this to Billings and asked once more for his license instead, the report said. 

After being given this information, the assisting officer asked Billings to remove his sunglasses. He did so, revealing that his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. He began to speak wherein the officer could smell the strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, the report said. 

The officer asked Billings if he would conduct field sobriety exercises, but he became confrontational and refused. He was asked one more time and refused again. He was still placed in handcuffs and transported to the LPD where he also refused to provide breath samples, the report said. 

The Massachusetts native was charged with DUI and taken to Lake County Jail. He was released after posting $1,000 bond. 

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