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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Suspected pair of drunk drivers gets argumentative when pulled over for being careless

Two Fruitland Park men were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after they were each pulled over for being careless and speeding.

James Owen Lawson
James Owen Lawson
Curtis Anthony Roman
Curtis Anthony Roman

An officer responded to U.S. Hwy. 27/441 to assist the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with a traffic stop, later found to involve 24-year-old Curtis Anthony Roman and 20-year-old James Owen Lawson, around 1:49 a.m. Wednesday, according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department. 

A K-9 unit officer observed a black Ford Mustang Convertible turn eastbound on Picciola Cutoff Road from the northbound lanes of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 at a high rate of speed, going in the opposite lane of traffic while turning. It then began rapidly accelerating to visibly speed well over the posted limit of 30 mph, the report said. 

The officer started to return to his patrol vehicle and heard tires screeching. He next saw a black Toyota pickup truck turning onto Picciola Cutoff Road at a high rate of speed, nearly missing the turn and almost losing control of the vehicle. That vehicle began to accelerate rapidly at a speed visibly well over the speed limit, too, the report said. 

Due to both vehicles being driven in a careless manner, the officer conducted a traffic stop on them as they pulled into the driveway of 701 Village Court. He watched Roman get out of the driver’s seat of the Mustang and Lawson of the Toyota. They both appeared to be uneasy on their feet and stumbled while getting out of the vehicles, the report said. 

The officer informed both subjects of the reason they were being stopped and asked for their licenses. Roman became extremely argumentative and got out his debit card instead. The officer informed him of this, at which point he handed over his license. Lawson returned to his vehicle and came back with his license, the report said. 

While speaking with the pair, the officer observed them to each have glassy, bloodshot eyes, mush mouth and slurred speech. He could also smell the odor of alcohol coming from both of them, the report said. 

Based on the careless driving patterns and observations on the roadside, the officer suspected the two men were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He asked them both to submit to a series of field sobriety exercises, but both refused. Roman continued to be argumentative and spoke over the officer several times. The officer explained the consequences of refusal and asked them each individually if they would participate, and they still declined, the report said. 

Roman and Lawson were subsequently arrested and placed in separate patrol vehicles. Lawson was asked twice to submit to a breath test but refused both times. Roman was asked, as well, but he continuously interrupted the officer and would not give a yes or no answer. This was considered a refusal. Lawson would not allow the officer to complete questions, so he therefore could not finish the implied consent reading even though he did explain the consequences to Roman, the report said. 

Both men were charged with DUIs and issued citations for careless driving. They were transported to Lake County Jail without incident where they were released after posting their respective $1,000 bonds. 

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