Well-connected state government lobbyist Ron Book, father of state Sen. Lauren Book, was booked into Broward County Jail Sunday night on DUI charges.
The 66-year-old Book was charged with DUI, first offense; DUI with damage to another’s property or person; and refusal to submit to a DUI test. Broward County Jail records say Book was posting $1,500 bond Monday.
An arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol says troopers and rescue crews detected the odor of alcohol on Book after his Lamborghini was involved in a crash on Interstate 595. The report says Book told the investigating FHP officer another car cut in front of him from the right, but the trooper noticed the damage to Book’s car was on the left.
The report says Book couldn’t complete the field sobriety tests and refused to give a breath sample at the Broward County DUI Center.
In the last 10 years, Book has received several traffic citations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but has been convicted on only four: speeding by going 46 mph in a 30 mph zone; not using a turn signal; not wearing a seat belt; and going 75 mph in a 45 mph zone. His fines paid total $783.
Book has been chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust since 2004, and has been a fixture in the state capital over four decades. He also serves as the paid lobbyist for dozens of local governments, including Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
On Monday, Audrey Edmonson, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, said she wasn’t aware of Book’s arrest and would leave it to county lawyers to determine how it might affect his county roles. Mayor Carlos Gimenez also said he was unaware, and said the circumstance of the alleged crime should determine Book’s eligibility to work for Miami-Dade.
“We’ve got to see the charges,” Gimenez said. He also said someone in Book’s circumstances should be judged on the severity of the offense and whether it was the person’s first.
“I do believe in redemption,” Gimenez said. “Everybody can make a mistake, and people should learn from their mistakes.”
This post was written by David J. Neal. Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks contributed.