Man busted for riding lawnmower drunk on highway

Florida resident with multiple prior DUI convictions tells deputy “Just take me to jail” after admitting he’s too wasted to walk.

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still of deputy's bodycam footage showing Paul Burke sitting on his lawnmower after having been pulled over
The worse for wear: Paul Burke on his lawnmower talking to a deputy after being pulled over
(Marion County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

If you don’t want the cops to pull you over, be as inconspicuous as possible on the road.

That conventional wisdom was ignored last week by a thirsty Florida man who was surely not astounded to be busted for riding a lawnmower blind drunk in the middle of a highway.

Paul Burke, of Fort McCoy, was arrested August 5 on Highway 316 in Marion County, after being spotted astride the ride-on grass cutter traveling far more slowly than the posted 55mph limit, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

Dashcam and bodycam footage posted to Facebook captured the moment Deputy Richard Jentsch came across the distinctive road user and decided to pulled him over.

MAN WITH 3 PRIOR DUI CONVICTIONS IS FOUND DRIVING LAWMOWER WHILE INTOXICATED ON HWY 316

FORT MCCOY MAN WITH 3 PRIOR DUI CONVICTIONS IS FOUND DRIVING LAWMOWER WHILE INTOXICATED ON HWY 316Paul Burke has three prior DUI convictions and has had his license suspended three times as well as revoked four times all for DUIs and refusals to submit a breath sample. On August 5, 2020 Deputy Jentsch observed Burke driving down the middle of HWY 316 on his lawnmower… When Deputy Jentsch made contact with Burke, he could smell the alcohol coming from his breath and his speech was slurred. Burked attempted to do the field sobriety but stated he couldn’t do it because he had been drinking too much. He was arrested and transported to the Gold Star Hotel.Driving a lawnmower in the middle of a road where the speed limit is 55mph is dangerous and illegal … add being drunk into the mix, it can be come fatal..

Posted by Marion County Sheriff's Office on Monday, August 10, 2020

“You know you’re in the road, right?” Jentsch asks Burke in the video.

“Was I?” Burke replies.

Jentsch then goes for the jugular: ““How much you have to drink tonight?”

“Eh, a couple,” Burke parrots in time-honored fashion.

“A couple?” Jentsch responds incredulously. “I think it’s a little more than a couple.”

Jentsch later reported that Burke smelt of booze and had slurred speech.

Admitting that he has “no driver’s license at all,” the befuddled Burke then attempts to perform exercises to prove his sobriety, but is forced to stop and concede he’s unable to walk.

“I have had maybe a little too much to drink tonight,” Burke discloses. “Well, can we just give me a ticket and be done with that?”

Not keen on that proposal, Jentsch asks Burke to attempt the sobriety exercise one more time.

“No sir,” Burke responds. “Just take me to jail.”

The lawnmower lush was obligingly arrested on a DUI charge and taken to the Marion County Jail. He was no longer in custody Tuesday, according to jail records.

Paul Burke in his booking photo
(Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

Burke’s latest brush with the law was no aberration. He has three previous convictions for DUI, and has had his license suspended or revoked seven times for previous DUIs or refusals to submit to a breath test, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Office warned that such reckless Burkean behavior can ultimately cost lives.

“Driving a lawnmower in the middle of the road where the speed limit is 55 mph is dangerous and illegal … add being drunk into the mix, it can become fatal,” it said on Facebook.

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