FHP: Man arrested on fourth DUI after driving erratically on I-75

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

The driver of a pickup truck that was reported to be swerving from lane to lane on Interstate 75 as it traveled north through Alachua County was arrested on two felony counts, the Florida Highway Patrol reported, including his fourth DUI charge.

Steven E. Harris, 36, of North Fort Myers, was pulled over just after 2 p.m. Wednesday after another driver and trooper had reported he could not maintain a single lane. The trooper who pulled Harris over reported that he drifted in and out of the center lane into the other lanes and median before traveling partially in the outside lane and shoulder.

The trooper reported that he had to use his siren to get Harris to pull over, after which Harris traveled onto the shoulder and slowed as if coming to a stop. But when the trooper exited his patrol car, Harris again began driving north on the shoulder, forcing the trooper to jump back into his car for fear of what the driver was going to do, FHP reported. Harris drove about two to three car lengths more before coming to a complete stop and exiting his vehicle, FHP said.

Harris walked back toward the trooper's car, using the door and side of the truck to balance himself, the trooper said. Harris was “very unsteady on his feet” and was hard to understand when he spoke because he “talked with a thick tongue,” the trooper reported.

Harris agreed to perform a series of field sobriety tests, on which he fared poorly. The trooper reported that Harris often had difficulty comprehending what he was asked and had slightly bloodshot, watery eyes. Harris then was arrested and transported to the Alachua County jail.

A search of the truck uncovered several prescription bottles for medications including Xanax, Cyclobenzaprine and Meloxicam, FHP reported. While at the jail, Harris provided two breath samples, which registered 0.00.

While being booked into the jail on his fourth DUI offense -- a felony -- Harris was found to have a small red canister hidden in a void in his shoe containing eight Xanax pills. A felony charge of smuggling contraband into the jail then was added to Harris' charges.

He remained in the jail Thursday in lieu of $20,000 bond.

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