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Driver tells Hernando deputies he's had a few, report says

BROOKSVILLE — Just before 1:30 Thursday morning, a Hernando County sheriff's deputy was driving east on Cortez Boulevard when he noticed a silver Toyota pull out of the Elks Lodge and onto the road ahead of him.

The deputy was in the left lane heading east, a report said. The Toyota, also driving east, had turned into the right lane when it suddenly switched into the left, just feet in front of the cruiser. The deputy slammed on his brakes and veered off the road, authorities say. He watched the vehicle make a slow, jerky U-turn, then drive west.

The deputy turned on his lights and pulled over the car.

The driver, Dudley W. Coles, smelled of alcohol, investigators said. His eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred and, to the deputy, he seemed slow to answer questions. According to the report, he said he'd had three 16-ounce beers at the Elks Lodge and was on his way home.

Another deputy had arrived by then and asked Coles to step out of his car.

The 63-year-old wobbled from side to side and leaned on the vehicle to support himself. During the walk-and-turn sobriety test, a report said, Coles stopped and made an announcement: "I can't do it because I've had too much to drink."

He was arrested and taken to the Hernando County Detention Center, where authorities say his blood-alcohol level was tested at 0.167.

Coles then insisted he hadn't actually had three beers, according to the report. He had only said that earlier because it sounded like a standard answer. Instead, authorities say, Coles told them he just one beer, along with a glass of scotch.

Coles, of 9085 Dickens Ave., was charged with driving under the influence. He has since been released on $500 bail.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at jcox@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432.

Driver tells Hernando deputies he's had a few, report says 05/25/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 25, 2012 8:05pm]
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