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Drunk, She Strikes Sheriff’s Deputy’s Car Thinking She Hit a Mailbox, and Drives On

| June 14, 2012

Colleen Comfort. (FCSO)

Just after 11 p.m. Wednesday night Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy John Castanheira was conducting a traffic stop on Palm Harbor Parkway, at the entrance to the Marina Cove condominiums. The driver of a red Honda registered in Connecticut had run a stop sign at Palm Harbor Parkway and Clubhouse Drive. When Castanheira initiated the stop, the driver of the Honda stopped the car abruptly, causing the deputy to angle the front of his cruiser toward the grass shoulder to the right, directly behind the Honda, according to Castanheira’s report.

Castanheira got the paperwork from the driver of the Honda and returned to his cruiser to write a warning ticket. Deputy Michael Sapp by then had joined Castanheira. Sapp’s cruiser was behind Castanheira’s, and Sapp himself was standing at Castanheira’s passenger window. Both cruisers’ emergency lights were on.

Just as Castanheira was finishing to write up the warning and opened his driver’s side door, Sapp warned him that a car was coming up from behind, heading north on Palm Harbor Parkway. Castanheira stayed in his seat, the door to the cruiser “slightly ajar,” as he described it in his report. “A short time after Deputy Sapp alerted me,” Castanheira writes in his report, “the vehicle drove by striking the driver’s side door of my marked patrol vehicle, which was ajar, nearly ripping off the door.”

The car, a green Chrysler SUV, kept driving.

Colleen Comfort, a 45-year-old resident of Collingwood Lane in Palm Coast (not far from the scene of the accident) was at the wheel, drunk.

Sapp got into his cruiser and set chase, and the Florida Highway Patrol was called to the scene, as is usual when a wreck involves a local police agency. Sapp stopped Comfort near her home on Collingwood Lane and Cottonwood Court. She was taken to Sapp’s cruiser, where a Florida Highway Patrol deputy interviewed her.

Comfort told the trooper that she thought she’d hit a mailbox and did not think she’d done anything wrong, according to the trooper’s report. “Her speech was slurred, she was swaying around in the seat, her eyes were bloodshot, and her breath was overwhelming with the smell of an alcoholic beverage,” the trooper’s report states.

When asked to step out of the cruiser and conduct field sobriety exercises, Comfort refused. She told the deputy she was almost home, and did not want to do anything. She was placed under arrest. She wouldn’t say whether she’d conduct a breathalizer test, or whether she understood her rights, but told the trooper not to read those rights over “because it would not matter,” according to the report. She did, however, subsequently admit to having been drinking, but repeated that she thought she’d only hit a mailbox.

Her breath tests were erratic. A first attempt failed. She blew intermittently. A second attempt registered an alcohol level of 0.252. The legal limit is 0.08. A third attempt showed 0.228.

Comfort was booked into the Flagler County jail. She faces a DUI charge with property damage, and a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. As of this afternoon (June 14), she was still in jail on $1,000 bond.

Castanheira was not injured.

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26 Responses for “Drunk, She Strikes Sheriff’s Deputy’s Car Thinking She Hit a Mailbox, and Drives On”

  1. tony1420 says:

    why no mention about the deputy who hit a man on his bicycle at moody blvd and rt 100 friday in bunnell his bike was destroyed and he was transported to the hospital i understand the deputy was on his cell when he hit the man

       22 likes

    • LONGMAN says:

      Tony- because it has nothing to do with this story

         13 likes

    • FRANK DILIBERTO says:

      The deputy stopped, he was not drunk, and there is no cell phone uselaw in the state of Florida. THEREFORE NO STORY, JUST AN ACCIDENT

         8 likes

    • Mike says:

      It’s not illegal to talk to someone on the phone while driving. You wouldn’t be bringing that up if it wasn’t a cop that hit the cyclist.

         11 likes

  2. gator says:

    she a real winner, dui killes, , if you can have a drink or two and be find , but when you drink so much you think you hit a mail box, the mailbox would still be someones that would have to buy another one, so she does not care about any thing but drinking. mybe jail is the best place for her.cause it could been a kid and she would said it was a dog and never think twice about it.

       8 likes

    • Rob says:

      What about the responsibility of the person who got her that intoxicated, and sent her out the door keys in hand ! I heard he actually followed her home to make sure she made it ?! Why wouldn’t he have just given her a ride. They hold bars and bartenders responsible. What about him ?

         2 likes

    • Sherry says:

      WAY more than 3-4 grown men gatorfan1. More like a dozen! If you read first officers had 2 cars/2 people, but when FHP came and the other units it was probably a slow night in Flagler so they all ended up minus the donuts and went there for something to do. No offense, it has to be boring staking out stop signs around town!

      If you read the report, she pulled over at the next cross street as to not create an even bigger disaster like the officer did that stopped in the middle of the road on a curve. If you let your child walk on a road at 11pm that has no sidewalks you have a problem. She stopped 1/4 mile where it was off the road. Didn’t flee or even speed.

      Rob, Because in this era, bars and restaurants are allowed to have “ladies night”, 2 for one, happy hour, etc. Bars promote this activity and the patrons pay the price on their way home!

      Where are the pictures??? I saw her car and there is a dent on the side a little bigger than a golf ball would cause from the officer opening his door into her car as she was passing him. Understandly, her one mile drive home ended poorly, but why she is all over the news for this is more than bizarre!

         2 likes

  3. Think first, act second says:

    Was the cyclist or deputy drunk? Did the cyclist have his emergency lights on? Are mailboxes authorized to be installed in the middle of the street, she didn’t say she had run off the road so she must think mailboxes are in the roadway?
    Throw the key away for about 30 days, require her to attend alcoholic anonymous for a minimum of 1 year, require her to take drug/alcohol tests bi-weekly and subject to rearrest if she fails any. She could have hit one of our county’s finest and thought it was a mailbox and that person would still be just as dead!

       8 likes

  4. gatorfan1 says:

    i find it interesting that in flagler county when a motorist gets stopped by the sheriff’s dept,if it’s anything other than a little old blue haired lady,a ham and egger trying to get to work in an old beater with a tail liight out or a motorist going seven mph over the speed limit half three or fours cars show up out of nowhere. a little over kill i think. does it really take three or four grown men to arrest a 125 pound drunk (presumebly) are things that slow that these officers are looking for some action. how about cruising I-95 and arresting armed thugs muling for drug cartels and weapons runners. obviously it’s easier and safer to rescue kittens from trees and write little old blue haired grannies tickets. i think it’s window dressing at this point and fleming’s days as sheriff are numbered.

       6 likes

    • Anonymous says:

      Really Gatorfan! If you read the article, the deputy was giving the driver a warning ticket for running a stop sign. The deputy was giving the driver a break. Man I hope your never on the end of a driver running a stop sign. In this case, thank goodness the deputy’s partner was there to warn him.

         5 likes

      • gator says:

        well i can tell you from up north and think you can do and say with you want,and get away with it. but the truth is we never had trouble in this county till palm coast moved in.we never had gangs, drug problem, drunks, people killing others thinking it was a dog or a mail box , and keep going,

           1 likes

    • Think first, act second says:

      Where do you read in the article that there were 3 or 4 cars there. It says 1 deputy stopped the woman, another deputy, as they always do since there is only 1 per car responded as back up. Since the accident involved a deputy vehicle, the highway patrol is required to do the investigation to avoid any prejudice. No one was there that should not have been, it was actually the second deputy who arrested the woman after she almost hit the person of the first deputy.
      Now as to patrolling the I-95 corridor, do you want our deputies doing fishing trips on druggies or patrolling our streets? I want to keep them inside the community, myself.

         5 likes

      • Ben Dover says:

        Patrolling our streets for sure , but they don t do that , they either park on the side of the road to get speeders , or they park in parking lots and talk to each other , very rarely do you see cars patrolling our neighborhoods

           2 likes

  5. lawabidingcitizen says:

    this has nothing to do with this specific article. but the fadt is, the bicyclist darted through traffic CAUSING the accident, which he admitted to doing.

       3 likes

    • your wrong says:

      @lawabidingcitizen i was a witness to the accident on friday and he did not dart into traffic also the deputy was on his phone almost laying in the passenger seat when this happened if he was paying attention to driving this would not have happened 5 of us all gave the same statement to fhp we were 10 feet away when this happened also the bicyclist did not admit this how do i know this i left his lawyers office 30 minutes ago where i gave my statement to him

         2 likes

  6. Icarus says:

    I think it’s hilarious how people are so quick to read a story and then bash police for doing their jobs. I also find it funny that everyone second guesses the police until you need them the most…then your crying like a bitch for “three or four grown men” to come to your rescue. How about this, what if your wife, husband, son or daughter was in a car that got hit by a drunk? Then your story would be different. And then you would be complaining that they are not doing enough to stop drunks…lose/lose

    However, instead of being useful and helping the police, you sit in your recliner watching the news, calling 911 when your neighbor parks in the swale with nothing better to do than eat your cheetos and live your useless life. If you are so against law enforcement, dont call them when you need something…turn on your bat signal a wait….I’m sure Batman will be there soon to save you :)

       10 likes

  7. Clint says:

    Would it be possible for the FCSO to start pulling over “tailgatters” ? I’m really starting to loose my temper with these idiots. I could go 20 miles over the speed limit and they would still be on my bumber. This place is getting worse everyday !

       7 likes

  8. Anonymous says:

    Put yourselves in the place of Colleen (Southern) Comfort who had to avoid
    the behemoth pink elephant who crossed on to her path without rhyme or reason.
    “Ossifer, did you see the pink Pachyderm?”

       0 likes

  9. wsh302@msn.com says:

    sounds like 1420 had some run ins with law enforcement

       0 likes

  10. mike says:

    COUNT ON 3-4 COPS to right u a ticket for ur seatbelt, and 45mins to an hour for 1 cop to show up when u need 10!

       2 likes

  11. blahblahblah says:

    Instead of bashing Law Enforcement you should go do a ride along with one. All you have to do is fill out a waiver and get a backround check done.

       0 likes

    • Don't forget says:

      Blahblahblah, I love the suggestion of a ride-along…unfortunately the background check has 95% of palm coast disqualified.

         0 likes

  12. what the hell says:

    bashing law enforcement hell im 30 years old i was fishing in town center tonight when we left we were pulled over by deputies who said its against the law to fish there we had guns pulled on us for the crime of fishing there are signs all over there that say catch and release only im sorry to put this here but what is going on in this county you can go to bunnell and buy all the drugs ya want but for fishing we get guns pulled on us

       3 likes

  13. Call It Like It Is says:

    It is so funny how people put police officers on a pedestal. The reality is that they are people just like the rest of us. When they do something stupid like any other person does then they should be criticized for their actions like the dumb ass lady who drives drunk and hits an officer. The same stupidity applies to the dumb ass officer who’s cell phone conversation was so important that it distracted his attention from his driving responsibilities and caused him to strike a bicyclist! He should be punished like the drunk lady. No, talking on the cell phone isn’t illegal, but it can be classified as CARELESS DRIVING when it causes you to strike someone on a bicycle. Should police officers be praised because they volunteer to serve the public??? I don’t think so. At the end of the day, police officers are people just like the rest of us and their respect is something that needs to be earned. When they do good thing they are praised and when they do bad things they should be punished!!! Not covered up or made excuses for!!! But I forgot we live in Flagler County, aka “Home Of The Good Ol’ Boys”!!!

       2 likes

  14. Howard Duley says:

    Gosh those people in the C section have problems with reality. One hits a dog which turns out to be a person and one hits the cruisers door and thinks it’s a mail box.

       0 likes

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