A Villager who was arrested after a Bad Parking job at a Circle K has escaped a drunk driving conviction.
James Stein, 68, who lives on the Historic Side of The Villages, will lose his driver’s license for a year and has been placed on probation for six months after pleading no contest last week in Sumter County Court to a reduced charge of reckless driving. He had originally been charged with driving under the influence.
A Sumter County sheriff’s deputy at 12:45 a.m. July 23 noticed a red Ford Focus parked across two parking spots in front of the Circle K located on Buenos Aires Boulevard in The Villages.
The deputy watched as Stein got into the vehicle and attempted to put it into drive using the windshield wiper switch and turning on the windshield wipers, according to the arrest report. Stein had not turned on his headlights and was not wearing a seatbelt when he pulled onto U.S. Hwy. 27/441.
During a traffic stop, the deputy noted that the Pittsburg, Pa. native’s speech was “very slurred, slow and raspy.” The deputy also noted that Stein had “visibly bloodshot and droopy eyes and repeatedly closed his eyes and dropped his head.”
The deputy invited Stein to participate in field sobriety exercises in the parking lot of a nearby Walgreen’s. He struggled through the exercises and at one point the deputy feared Stein would fall.
Stein would not participate in a drug influence evaluation and would not provide a urine sample. A marijuana pipe had been found in his vehicle.