A Key West man was arrested in the early morning hours today after he was involved in a single vehicle crash. He charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. This is his sixth DUI arrest.
Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes responded to a report of a car in the mangroves near Bahia Honda at 11:45 p.m. Saturday. The callers who reported the crash said the driver was out of his car and did not appear to be injured.
When Deputy Martin-Reyes arrived, he found the driver leaning on his car. 45 year old William Pritchett, who smelled of alcohol, appeared to be impaired and had urinated on himself, said he’d hit a wet patch on the road and lost control of his 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier. He said he was on his way home after spending time with friends in Marathon.
Deputy Josh Gordon arrived as a backup officer. While Deputy Martin-Reyes administered field sobriety exercises, Deputy Gordon walked around the area to determine what happened. He said it appeared Pritchett was southbound when he lost control. He crossed the northbound lane onto the northbound shoulder and traveled for about 150 feet before crossing back over both lanes and crashing, trunk first, into the mangroves.
Pritchett failed sobriety exercises and refused to take a breathalyzer test. He showed deputies a Texas driver’s license, although he said he’d lived in Key West for about six months. The car was his, but he’d failed to register it after purchasing it. A further check of his name revealed six arrests for DUI.
He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol – fourth or subsequent offense, a felony crime. He was also cited for careless driving resulting in a crash, failing to obtain a driver’s license in Florida, attaching a tag not assigned, operating an unregistered vehicle, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test after a driver’s license suspension. He refused to sign the citations, so he was further charged with five counts of resisting an officer by failing to sign criminal citations.
Inside his car, Deputy Gordon found a cooler in the trunk with ice in it; he also found two green bottle caps with “Heineken” on them.
Both deputies want to remind everyone not to drink and drive. Deputy Gordon said it is fortunate no one got hurt in this accident. He reminds everyone: “It is the holiday season but hopefully we can get the word out once again how dangerous drinking and driving is. We are on the lookout for drunk drivers to keep the roadways safe.”