Man says he wasn't drinking while driving, just while at stop signs

A man was arrested for Driving Under the Influence after telling a deputy that he was not drinking while driving, but drinking while at stop signs and traffic lights. 

The Indian River County Sheriff's Office says that they were called to a McDonald's on U.S. Highway 1 in reference to a possible disturbance. The call the sheriff's office received was from a woman in the drive-thru. The vehicle behind her, driven by 69-year-old Earle Stevens Jr., struck her rear bumper several times. 

Upon arrival, they say that the woman caller, who was still on scene, was able to point out the vehicle to deputies. A deputy asked Stevens for his driver's license, which he struggled to remove. He gave the deputy a Florida ID card. The deputy asked if he had a valid Florida license, to which he responded "No sir." 

The deputy also says that he spotted an open bottle of liquor in a brown paper bag. As Stevens spoke, the deputy could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath. His speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glossy. The deputy asked Stevens to leave the vehicle and he had difficulty getting out.

Stevens was asked if he had been drinking, which he confirmed, according to the report from the sheriff's office. He went on to say that he had about three drinks and that he was drinking straight from the Jim Bean bottle spotted in the passenger seat. The deputy responded by asking him if he was drinking in the vehicle. Stevens stated no, so the deputy asked him where he was drinking. Stevens responded with "stop signs."

Stevens went on to further explain this, reportedly saying that he was not drinking while the car was moving and only when he stopped for stop signs and traffic signals. The deputy then reportedly asked him again how many drinks he has, to which Stevens said four.

The report says that the deputy now asked Stevens if he struck the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of him, to which he responded with "not that I know of." Stevens was also asked if he took any prescriptions, to which he said he took pain medication for his arthritis. Three prescription bottles were spotted inside the vehicle.

The deputy reportedly asked Stevens if he would do several field sobriety exercises, and Stevens agreed to. Based on Steven's performance of these exercises, the deputy chose to arrest Stevens for driving under the influence and driving with no valid Florida license. He was transported to the Indian River County Jail, where he blew a 1.53 and .147 in a breath test for alcohol content. 

Stevens is said to have also admitted to having two prior DUI charges from Missouri.