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His blue-light special was a nifty ride - to jail

A restaurant manager will serve 60 days in jail for using police-style blue lights to "get home quicker" - something he admitted doing half a dozen times.

Kenneth William Holmes, 26, was arrested Aug. 30 while speeding home from his former workplace, a restaurant and lounge on Palmetto's riverfront.

Holmes was driving a black 2003 four-door Ford Crown Victoria with blue lights mounted on the dash. He bought the lights on the Internet and installed them in early 2004.

"It looked really cool and it was a drastic time saver," Holmes said Monday during his sentencing at the Manatee County Courthouse. He pleaded no contest in January to charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and illegal use of blue lights.

The day he was arrested, Holmes was driving more than 90 mph and ran through red lights, according to Darlene Ragonanan, a prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office.

Holmes said he was having a bad day and consumed four martinis and a couple of glasses of wine while at the restaurant because he had learned that his niece, who was born prematurely, wasn't doing well.

"My son was 9 months old and I just wanted to rush home and hug my son," he said.

Judge Marc Gilner called Holmes' behavior "irresponsible, selfish, self-centered." He rejected pleas from Holmes, his lawyer, his girlfriend and his current employer to give him reduced or weekend jail time or probation and house arrest instead.

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