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The Villages
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Wisconsin snowbird gets breath test thrown out in golf cart DUI

Colleen Marie Beardsley
Colleen Marie Beardsley

A Wisconsin snowbird who drove a golf cart down County Road 466A won an important round in court after her breath test was tossed out in her driving under the influence arrest.

Colleen Marie Beardsley, 54, of Franksville, Wis. is set to go to trial on the DUI charge on Oct. 10 in Sumter County Court.

Her odds of acquittal got a boost on Tuesday when Judge Paul Militello granted a motion from Beardsley’s attorney to suppress her breath test results.

Beardsley was apparently lost when she was spotted at the wheel of the black Club Car shortly before 11 p.m. May 7 traveling eastbound on County Road 466A near Killingsworth Way, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. Beardsley told the deputy that she and a friend, who was riding in the golf cart with her, were visiting for the weekend from Wisconsin. They said they left Brownwood Paddock Square and were trying to find their way back to the Oleander Villas in the Village of Sabal Chase. The GPS on their phones had instructed them to take County Road 466A, but the GPS was apparently not informed they were traveling in a non-Street Legal golf cart.

The deputy suspected the two Wisconsinites were “highly intoxicated.” Beardsley had trouble performing field sobriety exercises and blamed her recent bunion surgery. She provided breath samples that registered .116 and .115 blood alcohol content.

Beardsley’s attorney, Mark Conan, filed a motion claiming that Beardsley was told by the deputy, “We have to do field sobriety exercises to make sure you’re not impaired.” Conan argues that the deputy did not make it clear to Beardsley that she had the right/option to refuse to perform the exercises.

In addition, Beardsley had several questions for the deputy about Florida law vs. Wisconsin law. The motion suggests that the deputy said Wisconsin would suspend Beardsley’s license if she refused to provide a breath sample.

“Wisconsin is not part of the Drivers’ License Compact, and therefore does not and will not honor a Florida suspension,” Conan wrote in the motion.

He added that while a law enforcement officer does not “have a duty to explain the law to an accused, they do have a duty to explain the law correctly, if they decide to explain the law at all.”

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