Image: Luke Sharrett, Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Sometimes, you have to wonder if people in Florida want to keep the “Florida man” joke alive, thus continually passing the baton on depicting caricatures of human stupidity. A new Florida man, when stopped by cops recently, claimed he wasn’t drinking and driving because he only drank bourbon while stopped.

Earle Stevens Jr.’s mug shot, as listed in his police records online.
Image: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office

A woman in Indian River County, Florida called the police about man identified as Earle Stevens Jr. on June 27 saying he hit the back her of her car several times at a drive-thru, according to a police report on The Smoking Gun, a website that shares arrest records and other police documents. A deputy arrived to find out that Stevens didn’t have a driver’s license, according to the arrest report, and noticed an open bottle of Jim Beam bourbon in the passenger seat of the car.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Department website logged Stevens, listed as a 69-year-old real-estate agent, as arrested the night of June 27 on charges of driving under the influence and not having a Florida driver’s license. The site listed him as released at 2 a.m. local time June 28 with a $1,500 bond. The report wasn’t available on the department website because it only allows downloads of reports from the past 10 days, but The Smoking Gun has the full record of it.

The deputy wrote in the report that Stevens had a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” on his breath and that his “speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glossy,” so the deputy asked how much he had to drink. The first time, the report said, Steven answered with “I don’t know, about three drinks.” The next time, the deputy wrote, he answered with “four drinks.”

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But Stevens also told the deputy he felt “pretty good,” despite the arrest report describing him as not doing too well on sobriety exercises. He also had a unique interpretation of drunk-driving laws, according to the deputy’s report:

I asked him if he’d been drinking in the vehicle and he stated, “No.” When I asked him where he was drinking he stated, “stop signs.” He further explained that he was not drinking while the car was moving and only when he stopped for stop signs and traffic signals.

Earle, buddy, you’re close here, but that’s not exactly how this stuff works. Try not to let your reading comprehension put others at risk on the road next time.