Sunday, June 17, 2018
Public safety

Holiday woman suspected of DUI claims she was trying to save a cat

HOLIDAY — A woman was arrested Thursday after, troopers say, she drunkenly plowed her car into an ambulance while trying to save a dead cat.

The ambulance was at a stop light on Grand Boulevard at Mile Stretch Drive around 11 p.m. The three firefighters inside were headed back to the station after a call. Michelle Tamara Reyes ran a red light in a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria, lost control trying to turn left onto Grand and T-boned the ambulance, a Florida Highway Patrol report states. Reyes, 37, jumped out and dashed away.

The firefighters were taken to Medical Center of Trinity, where they were treated for bumps and bruises and released, said Pasco Fire Rescue training chief Andrew Fossa, who was on call that night.

A Pasco sheriff's deputy nabbed Reyes in a nearby Family Dollar parking lot. A trooper asked her what happened and she explained, "I was trying to save a dead cat, that is the only reason I'm driving," according to the report. "I just lost control trying to find somewhere to save the cat in my car."

When the trooper asked why she ran away, Reyes said her car was still there, so it didn't count as leaving. She refused a Breathalyzer test, then changed her story to say she wasn't driving and was never in an accident, the report states. The trooper saw a dead cat on the front floorboard of her Ford. Covered in bugs, the trooper wrote, the cat appeared to have died hours before.

Reyes, of 5144 Forest Hill Road, was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license, DUI with property damage and fleeing the scene of a crash. She remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Friday in lieu of $6,000 bail.

Two of the firefighters have been cleared to go back to work Sunday, Fossa said. The third will be cleared to work pending a follow-up exam. The ambulance had moderate damaged.

It was unclear Friday afternoon what became of the cat.

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