DUI charges dropped for UF's Locke


Published: Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 8:55 p.m.

Charges of driving under the influence against a former University of Florida baseball player are being dropped because of a lack of evidence, State Attorney Bill Cervone said Saturday.

Enlarge

Stephen Kendall Locke Jr.

Stephen Kendall Locke Jr., 22, of 3000 SW 35th Place, was arrested Jan. 24 after Officer Daniel Surrency said he observed erratic driving, pulled Locke over and wrote in an arrest report that Locke's speech was slurred and that he needed to balance himself against the car.

Cervone said evidence from the police-car video does not substantiate the allegations.

"There is no evidence," Cervone said. "There is not corroborating evidence, specifically meaning that none of that is on the video. In addition to that, the defendant lawfully refused the sobriety and the breath test, so there is no evidence of that sort.

"On the videotape, the defendant does not appear to do anything such as stumble or sway," Cervone continued. "Those things that do exist constitute probable cause, but they are far short of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

Locke was dismissed from the team within days of the arrest. UF baseball spokesman John Hines said the DUI charge was the reason for the dismissal.

The police report states that at about 2:17 a.m. on Jan. 24, Surrency spotted a black Mercury SUV westbound on W. University Avenue going more than 10 mph below the speed limit.

The driver, Locke, crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic, forcing another vehicle to take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision, the report stated. Locke crossed back into westbound lanes and drove into the bike lane, the report states.

Police stopped Locke and could smell alcohol on his breath, the report says. Locke's speech was slurred, he swayed, used his SUV for balance and he was wearing an armband from the Grog House - a W. University Avenue bar, the report stated.

Cervone said the videotape does not show such behavior, adding he believes the videotape shows Locke told officers in a non-slurring manner that he may have had one drink but was the designated driver.

Contact Cindy Swirko at 374-5024.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top