DUI charges for man who crashed into cruiser – on tractor

Police in Haines City say a 68-year-old man -- whose license has been suspended for 41 years -- was drunk when he drove his lawn tractor into a police cruiser Saturday evening.

According to police, the HCPD vehicle was parked at Rodriguez Fashion along U.S. Highway 17/92. Around 7 p.m., the officer heard a loud noise and walked outside to find Gary Wayne Anderson aboard a mower and noticed "minor damage" to the plastic portion of the police vehicle's rear bumper.

Anderson, 68, allegedly admitted that he hit the vehicle and that he was drunk, though he denied causing any damage. Police say his demeanor ranged from laughing to aggressive as he failed to complete the field sobriety tests, so they took him into custody.

At the police station, he claimed that he had been poisoned by police and asked to be taken to a hospital. Officers complied and took him to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, where his blood-alcohol content was measured at .241 - more than three times the legal limit.

Police say there was also cocaine in Anderson's system. When they confronted him about it, he allegedly accused the officers of giving it to him and responded with foul language and racial slurs.

According to officers, Anderson's driver's license has been suspended since March of 1978. He has two prior DUI convictions and now faces new misdemeanor charges of DUI and refusal to submit to a DUI test.

Anderson's lawn mower and its attached trailer were towed, police noted.

"I'm proud of the professional demeanor our officers showed when dealing with this heavily-intoxicated, belligerent offender," Chief Jim Elensky said. "It's never a good idea to get behind the wheel drunk, even if that wheel is to a Craftsman, Massey Ferguson or John Deere."