Former Pinellas county commissioner, TBARTA chairman Ronnie Duncan arrested on DUI charge

Published Nov. 26, 2018

TAMPA — Ronnie Duncan, a former Pinellas County commissioner and former chairman of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority board, was arrested last week and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, records show.

According to a Nov. 20 arrest report, Tampa police officers responding to a late-night call about a suspicious car parked across the street from an apartment complex found Duncan, 61, of Tampa sitting behind the wheel of a black Corvette parked in a vacant lot near W Platt Street and S Delaware Avenue. The car's engine was running and its headlights were on.

When an officer asked Duncan to roll down the window, he fumbled with the air conditioning controls and was unable to comply, the report says. He looked "dazed" and his eyes were red and watery, according to the report. Duncan then put the car into gear and pulled out of the lot "recklessly," according to the report.

Duncan stopped again and a DUI officer who arrived at the scene smelled alcohol on his breath and noted his speech was slurred, the report says. He submitted to breath tests that showed his blood alcohol content was .209 and .213, the report states. Under Florida law, a driver is presumed impaired at .08.

Duncan, of Tampa, was booked into the Hillsborough County jail early Wednesday and released later that day after posting bail. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Duncan was a Pinellas County commissioner from 2004 to 2008 and during that time first joined the board of what was then the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority. The agency was created by the Florida Legislature in 2007 to draw up a master transportation plan for a seven-county, west-central Florida region.

After leaving the County Commission, Duncan was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to the TBARTA board in 2009 and reappointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013. He served as chairman from 2009 to 2017, when he left the board after the state Legislature restructured the agency and re-named it the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority.

Duncan also served as co-chairman of the failed 2014 Yes for Greenlight transit tax campaign but resigned that post under pressure from anti-tax activists who said it was a conflict of interest for him to serve on the campaign while holding the TBARTA chairmanship.

Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.