1. News

Pinellas boater charged with DUI after string of Thanksgiving crashes on the water

Robert Hart
Published Nov. 26, 2016

MADEIRA BEACH — Robert Clark Hart had a rough Thanksgiving on the water.

Pinellas County deputies say he destroyed a dock and crashed into two boats before being arrested on charges of boating under the influence and leaving the scene of a vessel crash involving property damage.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, Hart was cruising through John's Pass with no navigational lights when he crashed into Don's Dock, "destroying it," according to an arrest report from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Then Hart, 44, of 2100 Nursery Road, fled and hit a vessel tied up next to the dock.

He continued heading north through the Intracoastal Waterway. Deputies spotted Hart's boat and watched as it approached the marina at the Tom Stuart Causeway and hit an anchored sailboat. Hart then threw a line to the deputies on the dock, requesting help tying up his boat.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer who responded said Hart acknowledged his boat "struck something." The officer noticed "signs of impairment," including "a strong scent of an unknown alcoholic substance emanating from his breath, slurred speech, unsteady balance while standing, failure to follow instructions and red/watery eyes."

A number listed for Hart on the arrest report was not working.

A man answering the phone at Don's Dock declined to comment.

Hart has a lengthy arrest record in Pinellas County, with charges dating back to 1991, according to online court records. He had multiple charges stemming from alcohol-related offenses, including driving while under the influence of alcohol and disorderly intoxication.

Court records also show multiple charges for traffic violations, including speeding and careless driving.

As of late Friday, Hart was still being held in Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $750 bail.

Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith contributed to this report.


  1. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The driver of a Ford F250 truck took evasive action but collided with the pedestrian, officials say.
  2. Hernando County sheriff’s sergeant  Louis “Lou” Genovese died Saturday after struggling for weeks with an undisclosed medical condition, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was 41. HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE  |  Hernando County Sheriff's Office
    Sergeant Louis “Lou” Genovese, a deputy since 2006, was 41.
  3. FILE - This June 2, 2017, file image made from video shows the Trump National Doral in Doral, Fla. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world leaders' meeting at his Doral, Florida, golf resort. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz, File) ALEX SANZ  |  AP
    The chief of staff called Trump’s sudden change of course — announced by the president on Twitter Saturday evening — “the right decision.”
  4. An Army carry team transfers the remains of Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Friday. Butler died Wednesday of injuries sustained from an IED in Afghanistan.
    The soldiers were with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and were in a Bradley fighting vehicle. They were not immediately identified.
  5. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    News and notes from Hernando County
  6.  Tampa Bay Times
    No information was released about the individual who died.
  7. Jeffrey D. Senese was inaugurated as Saint Leo University's 10th president. Pictured, Monsignor Robert Morris (left), Class of 1979, and a member of the board of trustees, and D. Dewey Mitchell, chair of the university’s board of trustees, bestow the presidential medallion on Senese. Renee Gerstein and William Speer, Saint Leo University
    New and notes on local businesses
  8. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  9. Scientology’s international spiritual headquarters in downtown Clearwater is anchored by the Flag Building, on left. An elevated walkway connects the building to the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church’s first purchase in the city in 1975. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The mysterious deals could reshape downtown Clearwater.
  10. Clearwater City Council members react to Tampa Bay Times reporting showing companies tied to members of Scientology bought 101 acres of downtown commercial property in three years. Times  |   (2017)
    We showed the politicians a map of the land now owned by buyers tied to Scientology. Here’s what they said.