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The Villages
Friday, June 21, 2024

Villager convicted in 2021 DUI crash lands back behind bars

Paul Saunders
Paul Saunders

A Villager convicted of drunk driving after crashing his Lexus in a roundabout in 2021 has landed back behind bars.

Paul Saunders, 79, of the Village of St. James, was booked without bond Thursday at the Sumter County Detention Center on a probation violation. A violation of probation hearing is scheduled for June 20 in Sumter County Court. It is likely he will remain in custody until that date.

Saunders had been driving a black Lexus shortly before 8 p.m. Sept. 16, 2021 when he crashed the vehicle at the roundabout at Buena Vista Boulevard and St. Charles Place. The Lexus became “engulfed in flames.” 

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.

He later pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence. He was placed on probation, lost his driver’s license for six months and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

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