Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SUV parked at St. Petersburg fire station leads to DUI arrest

ST. PETERSBURG — Call it the ultimate case of parking in a fire lane: a drunken driver parked in front of a fire station garage door early Saturday and went to sleep, police reported.

When the firefighters of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Truck 13 were dispatched to an emergency call, fire officials said they couldn't pull out of the station. Nor could they get the man lying in the back seat to wake up and move his SUV out of the way.

So they called police, who arrested Hugo Lopes on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence about 4 a.m.

"They were banging on his door trying to get him up," said St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Joel Granata. "They didn't know if he had a heart attack or if he was a diabetic."

It was neither, police said. The 29-year-old Tampa man exhibited signs that he was impaired, according to an arrest report. Lopes was "swaying, staggering, stumbling," he "slurred" his words and had a "blank expression," the report states.

The incident took place in front of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Gateway Station 13 at 11600 Roosevelt Blvd. N, police said. The station has two garage doors.

The crew of Engine 13 was sent to an emergency at 3:30 a.m. But as the garage door went up, they saw the sport utility vehicle in front of them. They were able to drive around it, but it was blocking the ladder truck's vehicle bay. They alerted dispatch, which woke up the ladder truck's crew.

But as those firefighters tried and failed to wake up the driver, fire officials said they were dispatched to help a vehicle in a ditch. Another fire truck had to be sent in its place.

When officers arrived and tried to wake the man up, police said, Lopes opened his eyes, tried to get up, then laid back down. Finally, police said, they got Lopes up.

Lopes refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test or field sobriety exercises, police said.

How could police arrest someone lying in the back seat of a parked vehicle for DUI? According to state law, an impaired driver must be driving the vehicle or be in "actual physical control." Police said they determined the latter part of the statute applied.

Lopes, of 5000 S Himes Ave., was released from the county jail on his own recognizance Saturday. Records show that last year he pleaded no contest to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

SUV parked at St. Petersburg fire station leads to DUI arrest 05/27/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Scott has lunch with President Donald Trump

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott had lunch Thursday with President Donald Trump, the latest in a series of get togethers between the political allies.

    Trump and Scott are grabbing lunch today.
  2. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  3. At 'American Idol' auditions in Orlando, there are life lessons in line

    Music & Concerts

    LAKE BUENA VISTA — From her spot across the lawn, Sasha Orihuela studies her son.

    Jeremy Joshua Dorsey reacts after past American Idol contestants walk by ahead of his audition at the Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017. 

Hundreds of people showed up for the first auditions for ABC's reboot of 'American Idol'. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  4. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  5. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'

    Blogs

    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.