Florida policeman charged with drunken beach crash

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 26, 2011 8:18 PM
Florida policeman charged with drunken beach crash

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida policeman was arrested on Tuesday on charges of drunkenly crashing an all-terrain vehicle into a pair of beach-goers after a bout of on-duty revelry at an oceanfront Miami Beach bar.

According to the arrest affidavit, Officer Derick Kuilan was assigned to an ATV patrol on Miami Beach in the early morning hours of July 3. He and Officer Rolando Gutierrez went to the Clevelander Hotel where they mingled on the dance floor and posed for photos with a group of five women visiting from Pennsylvania, the affidavit said.

Kuilan took one of the woman for a ride on the ATV and was driving it on the sand with the headlights off when it crashed into a man and woman who had gone to the darkened beach to photograph the sunrise, the affidavit said.

The man broke his leg and the woman suffered life-threatening injuries that required several surgeries, investigators said.

Paramedics said they measured Kuilan's blood alcohol level at 0.088 several hours after the accident, over the 0.080 level at which motorists are presumed to be intoxicated.

Although the policemen were wearing uniforms, guns and badges, the women at the bar apparently mistook them for entertainers and at least one said the officers had been drinking with them.

"The behavior of both officers was so unprofessional that all five women did not believe they were real police officers," the affidavit said.

Both officers were fired after the crash. Kuilan was arrested on Tuesday on two counts of reckless driving and two counts of causing serious bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was released on $30,000 bail.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)