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A Pinellas man was seen ‘nodding off’ while driving. It’s his third DUI, deputies say

An off-duty firefighter saw the driver weaving in and out of traffic and the driver nodding off behind the wheel, deputies say.
This is a booking photo of Robert Charles Holmes, who is charged with felony DUI after deputies say he was seen "nodding off" while driving. It's his third arrest for DUI, records show. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
This is a booking photo of Robert Charles Holmes, who is charged with felony DUI after deputies say he was seen "nodding off" while driving. It's his third arrest for DUI, records show. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Published Jan. 13
Updated Jan. 14

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a Seminole man on Friday morning after he was seen “nodding off” while driving in the area of Starkey and Bryan Dairy roads, arrest reports state.

Court records show it’s the third time Robert Charles Holmes, 50, has been arrested on a drunken driving charge.

His latest arrest occurred just after 8:30 a.m. Friday when an off-duty firefighter/EMT noticed the driver of a vehicle “swerving in and out of traffic, cutting other vehicles off and nodding off while driving.”

Deputies stopped the vehicle at a traffic light and found Holmes behind the wheel, arrest reports state.

Deputies noted that Holmes smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and swayed when he stood. Deputies said he did poorly on field tests, though he refused to provide a breath sample.

Related: He blew red lights in St. Pete at 100 mph, police say. It’s his third DUI arrest.

Holmes was booked into the Pinellas County jail on charges of felony DUI and refusing to submit for testing. Bail was set at $2,500 and Holmes was released from the jail Saturday evening, court records show.

Court records show Holmes was arrested on drunken driving charges in 2004 and 2014. He pleaded no contest and received a year of probation in both cases. The 2014 charge noted that someone was seriously injured.

Holmes also was cited for leaving the scene of a crash last year, for which he was fined.

Related: Pinellas man caused crash that sent boat flying. It’s his fourth DUI, troopers say.

Court records also show that over the last 20 years, Holmes has been cited at least seven times for driving with a suspended license.

The incident occurred the morning after a driver in Tampa lost control of a Pinch a Penny pickup and hit and killed a pedestrian on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

George Gage, who friends described as a good man, was killed in the incident.

The driver was arrested on drunken driving and vehicular homicide charges after police said his blood-alcohol count was measured at 0.234, nearly three times the level at which Florida law presumes impairment.

Times senior researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.


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