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The Villages
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Villager escapes DUI conviction after drinking and dancing at town square

Janet McKnight
Janet McKnight

A Villager has escaped a drunk driving conviction after a night of drinking and dancing at a town square.

Janet Malinda McKnight, 66, of the Ivystone Villas, on Tuesday entered a plea of no contest in Sumter County Court to a charge of reckless driving, reduced from a charge of driving under the influence. She was placed on probation for six months.

McKnight was driving a gray 2012 Toyota “at a high rate of speed” at about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on El Camino Real, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. She was caught on radar traveling at 56 miles per hour in the 35 mph zone.

During a traffic stop, a deputy noticed that she had “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her breath,” the report said. She said she had been dancing for more than an hour at Spanish Springs Town Square where she had two cups of Pinot Grigio wine with food. McKnight said she decided to leave because a male “was getting too touchy on the dance floor.”

She was asked to participate in field sobriety exercises, but complained to the deputy that she has had back surgeries and has a screw in her left foot. The deputy pointed out McKnight said she had been dancing at the square. She struggled through the exercises and had trouble maintaining her balance. She refused to attempt the one legged stand. She provided breath samples that registered .03 and .028 blood alcohol content, which were below the .08 legal limit.

McKnight had also been issued a ticket for speeding. The ticket was dismissed.

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