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The Villages
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Villager in Mercedes on Taco Bell run arrested on drunk driving charge

Bruce Pailet

A Villager driving a silver Mercedes was arrested on a drunk driving charge during a run to Taco Bell.

A Sumter County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched at 8:37 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a report of a reckless driver in the vicinity of Buena Vista Boulevard and State Road 44. The deputy found the silver Mercedes, which had stopped traffic behind it, as it was swerving between lanes on Buena Vista Boulevard at Odell Circle, according to the arrest report.

The driver was identified as 60-year-old Bruce Stuart Pailet and it appeared he had been drinking.

The defendant was unable to communicate without slurring his speech or having to repeat himself,” the deputy wrote in the arrest report.

The native New Yorker admitted he had consumed alcohol at about 3 p.m. and said he was heading to Taco Bell to pick up food. Pailet struggled through sobriety exercises and complained that he had “bad knees.” He provided breath samples that registered .202 and .212 blood alcohol content. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center and released after posting $1,000 bond.

Bruce Pailet
Bruce Pailet was arrested in 2015.

Pailet been sentenced to six months probation in connection with a 2015 hit-and-run accident in which he was initially charged with drunk driving. The then-Village of Fernandina resident entered a plea of no contest to reduced charges of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. Pailet had been arrested in the parking lot of the Publix liquor store at Colony Plaza shopping center.

At the time of that arrest, Pailet’s Mercedes appeared to have a fresh scratch with white paint from a woman’s vehicle. The Mercedes also appeared to have extensive scratching and scuffing on the rims and tires, indicating the vehicle had been in contact with curbs. A deputy asked Pailet if he had been drinking. Pailet said he had not.

Sumter County Court records show that Pailet had pleaded guilty in May 2014 to a charge of careless driving. He had been assessed a total of $166 in fines and court costs in that case.

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