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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Villager sentenced on DUI charge after crashing Lexus in roundabout

Paul Saunders
Paul Saunders

A Villager has been sentenced on a drunk driving charge after crashing his Lexus earlier this year in a roundabout.

Paul Saunders, 76, of the Village of St. James, pleaded no contest last month in Sumter County Court to a charge of driving under the influence. He was placed on probation for one year, will lose his driver’s license for six months and has been ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

Saunders had been driving the black Lexus shortly before 8 p.m. Sept. 16 when he crashed the vehicle at the roundabout at Buena Vista Boulevard and St. Charles Place. The Lexus became “engulfed in flames” in the crash at the roundabout which is located between the Sandhill and Turtle Mound executive golf courses.

An investigator from the Florida Highway Patrol was summoned to the scene and suspected that Saunders had been drinking as he had the “distinct smell of an alcoholic beverage” and had to be “seated to prevent him from falling and injuring himself,” the arrest report said.

Saunders performed poorly in field sobriety exercises. He initially refused to provide a breath sample, but relented. However, he was “unable to provide a sufficient sample for his blood alcohol content to be determined,” the report said. He blamed an unnamed “medical ailment” for his inability to provide the sample.

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