Late one night last month, Earle Stevens Jr. fancied a drink but told deputies he didn’t want to consume alcohol while driving.
So the 69-year-old Vero Beach man said he did this instead: He only drank his bottle of Jim Beam bourbon while stopped at traffic signals and stop signs, as reported by Treasure Coast Newspapers.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said it was tipped off June 27 to Steven’s erratic driving by a woman who said he kept rear-ending the back of her car while in line at the drive-thru of a McDonald’s in Vero Beach.
When deputies arrived, the newspaper reported, they discovered Stevens and his perceived loophole: "(Stevens) explained that he was not drinking while the car was moving and only when he stopped for stop signs and traffic signals," his arrest report said.
He told deputies he employed that strategy while driving the more than 40 miles from Port St. Lucie to Indian River County, the newspaper reported.
Stevens told deputies he felt "pretty good," the report said.
The rest of the night may not have gone so well. Steven said he’s never had a valid driver’s license in Florida, the newspaper reported, and then deputies said he failed field sobriety exercises and then a Breathalyzer exam.
His blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.153 and 0.147, exceeding the 0.08 level at which state law presumes a driver is impaired.
He was arrested on a charge of DUI, the newspaper said. He was freed from the county jail after posting $1,500 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 31, according to the Sheriff’s Office.