An alleged wrong-way trip down Gunn Highway and a resulting collision led to charges against a local administrative law judge last weekend.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies say the 49-year-old Pinellas County judge was piloting her Jeep Wrangler south in the northbound lanes of Gunn Highway in the early evening of December 2 when it collided with a Nissan Altima driven by a 21-year-old woman.
Authorities say the Altima driver attempted to avoid the collision, but was unsuccessful. The Wrangler allegedly struck the Altima in the passenger side as it drove through the painted median. Deputies say she did not stay to survey the damage she caused in the accident, proceeding to drive south again until her Wrangler became immobile due to damage from the collision.
Upon his arrival, a deputy said the judge was sitting in a nearby vehicle with marks on her body from a seat belt and showing obvious signs of intoxication. Per the deputy, the judge smelled of alcoholic drink, had glassy eyes, and spoke in a slurred manner. Officers did not perform field sobriety tests on her, as they say she was unable to stand and was far too intoxicated to perform such tests in a safe manner. She refused to provide a breath sample for blood-alcohol content tests, and was arrested shortly after.
The judge was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail in the early morning hours of December 3 on one charge each of DUI with property damage, and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage. She was released after posting a bond of $750. The judge was charged with providing false information to law enforcement two days later and subsequently released on her own recognizance.