A priest who formerly led St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in The Villages has been arrested on a drunk driving charge.
Edward Martin Waters, 74, best known as “Father Ed,” was at the wheel of a blue Ford Mustang shortly before 7 p.m. Monday when dispatch received a call that the vehicle was “driving all over the roadway and only going 20 miles per hour,” according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
A traffic stop was initiated near the entrance to the Village of DeLuna on U.S. 301. Waters identified himself as a priest and said he was trying to get back to his home in Winter Park. Waters told the deputy he did not know where he was.
Waters gave off “the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage” when he spoke, the report said. He struggled to get out of the car and was “unsteady.”
Waters was invited to participate in field sobriety exercises. The deputy had to repeat instructions many times, prompting Waters to announce, “I have to pee.” Waters provided breath samples that registered .192 and .189 blood alcohol content.
A criminal history check revealed he had been convicted of driving under the influence in 2021 in Citrus County and was convicted earlier this year of driving while license suspended in Lake County.
In 2016 under Waters’ leadership, St. Timothy Catholic Church was presented with the prestigious Light of Faith Award by the Orlando Diocese. In 2022, “Father Ed” was transferred to the Diocese of Orlando. Earlier this year, he was featured in a story about a special independent living community for senior priests on the grounds of the San Pedro Spiritual Development Center in Winter Park.
Waters was arrested Monday on charges of driving under the influence and driving while license suspended. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center and released Tuesday morning after posting $3,000 bond.