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Senate candidate Carlos Beruff feels a need to speed

In addition to the five speeding tickets Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff has received in the last six years, he’s  been ticketed six times since 2002 in Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough for a variety of violations including failing to yield on a left hand turn and not obeying a traffic device.
In addition to the five speeding tickets Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff has received in the last six years, he’s been ticketed six times since 2002 in Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough for a variety of violations including failing to yield on a left hand turn and not obeying a traffic device.
Published Jun. 3, 2016

TALLAHASSEE — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff likes to go fast when he gets behind the wheel.

And it's cost him his license before, at least temporarily, state driving records show.

Five times over the last six years Beruff, 58, has been ticketed for speeding, including three times when he went at least 23 mph over the posted speed limit. That includes being clocked at 103 mph on Interstate 75, which resulted in a fine of $503 and his license being suspended for 40 days in 2010.

"I had a really nice car. You can drive 103 and it not be dangerous," Beruff said of his Mercedes-Benz S550. "Still, it's wrong. I get it."

Beruff said he was pulled over in Collier County as he and his son — now 18 — raced from Bradenton to Miami Beach to meet up with his soon-to-be wife two days before their wedding. Beruff said he was ticketed right before hitting the toll booth to get onto Alligator Alley. The family had dinner reservations at Joe's Stone Crab on Miami Beach and he didn't want to be late and lose the reservation, Beruff said.

Beruff said his lawyer told him not to worry about the ticket and everything would be fine. Beruff said he was more than a little shocked to find out weeks later that his license was suspended for 40 days.

"I had to have people drive me around for a month," Beruff said.

In addition, since 2012, Beruff has been flagged for speeding in a school zone in Manatee County and going 15 to 31 mph over the speed limit three other times. His most recent infraction was in June 2014 when he was ticketed for going 76 mph in a 45 mph zone in Manatee County, which resulted in $300 in fines.

Since 2002, he's also been ticketed six other times in Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough for a variety of violations including failing to yield on a left hand turn and not obeying a traffic device.

He's not the only Senate candidate who has hit three digits on the speedometer. In 2003, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera was clocked going 112 mph in a 70 mph zone in Indian River County, according to Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle records. He was able to elect to go to driving school and did not lose his license like Beruff. Lopez-Cantera was not available for comment Thursday.

State law gives courts discretion to suspend a license for driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story. Contact Jeremy Wallace at jwallace@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263. Follow @jeremyswallace.