Hillsborough deputy charged with DUI after crashing into walkway near Disney resort

The Hillsborough sergeant struck a bridge near Disney, a report says.
Published July 12 2017
Updated July 12 2017

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy was arrested on a DUI charge Tuesday after he crashed his Toyota pickup into a pedestrian bridge near the Walt Disney World Resort.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers were called to the crash about 10 p.m. at Buena Vista Drive and Hotel Plaza Boulevard in the Disney Springs complex. When they arrived, they found a gray Toyota Tundra that had been driven into a pedestrian bridge, according to an arrest report. The truck had also hit a sign before crashing.

Timothy Michael Craig, 46, who is a sergeant with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, was behind the wheel, troopers said. His adult son, Austin Craig, was with him.

Someone who saw the crash removed the ignition key and called 911, according to an arrest report. A trooper later found two open Fireball whiskey bottles in the truck's console between the driver and passenger seats.

Paramedics took the deputy to Florida Hospital Celebration Health. Troopers said he seemed "spaced" and drifted in and out of consciousness as medical staff treated him. He had "glassy, red, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath," the report stated.

Nurses gave him medication to stop him from vomiting, it noted.

He was soon released from the hospital, but tried to walk away after troopers asked to speak with him, according to the report. When told that they were conducting a drunken driving investigation, Craig turned and put his hands behind his back, troopers said.

A trooper said he first wanted to read Craig his Miranda rights. Asked if he understood his rights, Craig said no, according to the report.

"This is surprising, considering the defendant's occupation," a trooper wrote.

Craig later changed his answer, but declined to speak with troopers. He also declined to perform field sobriety exercises, troopers said. He was taken to a breath test center, but refused to provide a breath sample.

Craig was booked into the Orange County Jail on a charge of driving under the influence with property damage, a first-degree misdemeanor. Bail was set at $1,000.

After his arrest, Craig was suspended without pay from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He has worked there since 1994 and was most recently assigned to the agency's community outreach division, sheriff's officials said.

He is pictured in a YouTube video on the agency's website discussing school bus safety.

He will face an administrative review.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.