Hit-and-Run Leads to DUI and Child Abuse Charges for Repeat Offender Bruce Ganem
FlaglerLive | January 21, 2014
Bruce Ganem, a 49-year-old resident of Bracken Lane in Palm Coast who’d been booked at the Flagler County jail six times on charges ranging from drunk driving to indecent exposure, was arrested a seventh time Sunday after an alleged hit-and-run and leading cops on a weaving chase up Belle Terre Parkway, with three young children in his car’s backseat.
The children were 10, 11 and 12.
Sunday’s incident unfolded in mid-afternoon when a cyclist flagged down a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy in front of Publix at the corner of Belle Terre Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway. The witness had seen the hit-and-run take place in the parking lot—near the liquor store. The cop saw a 2003 Ford F-150 that had minor damage to the rear passenger-side bumper, and pieces of a broken headlight or taillight on the ground within a few feet of the Ford.
The witness had clear information about the vehicle that had allegedly done the damage: a Dodge Charger. The witness also provided the license plate number. He said the Charger had backed out of a parking space next to the Ford, striking it with its right front corner and driving away.
While deputies were investigating, they saw the Charger drive into the parking lot—same color, same license plate as described by the witness. “Once the driver of the Charger saw us,” the reporting deputy wrote in a police report, “he proceeded to quickly leave the parking lot and started driving northbound on Belle Terre Parkway.”
Deputies followed. “We caught up to the Charger just past the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway NW heading northbound near the library,” the deputy continued. “At this time I confirmed the tag of the vehicle and observed the Charger drift from the left lane halfway into the right lane and then drift back into its original lane. The Charger then turned left from Belle Terre Parkway onto Braddock Lane.
“I initiated the traffic stop approximately 100 feet from the previous intersection. The Charger was not stopping, so I began using my siren and horn to alert him to my presence. The Charger was continually swerving down the road and it appeared as if it was going to pull over. At this time, the children in the vehicle started looking back at us and putting up an index finger symbolizing for us to wait. The Charger then took a wide right hand turn onto Bracken Lane where it still would not stop.”
A deputy then gave verbal commands to the driver over the PA to pull over. The driver did not comply. The Charger finally pulled into the driveway at 34 Bracken Lane, where it stopped. The attempts to stop him had covered between a quarter to half a mile, according to the deputies.
Ganem, at the wheel of the Charger, had trouble getting out of the car as he appeared drunk. One of the children reached from the back seat to open the front door for him. Ganem was immediately detained over concerns for officer safety. The smell of alcohol emanated from his Charger and from his breath, according to the police report.
“As I was escorting Mr. Ganem to my vehicle, he needed me to support his weight or else he would fall,” the deputy reported. “Also, when we were standing and talking, he repeatedly stumbled and lost his balance. No field sobriety exercises were conducted due to Mr. Ganem’s apparent intoxication level and the risk of his becoming injured if the exercises were conducted.”
Ganem, the arrest report states, has been convicted of drunk driving in 2007 and 1997, and refused a breath test in 2009.
He was charged with hit and run, drunk driving and refusal to submit to a breath test, and was cited for failing to drive in a single lane. He was also charged with child abuse absent great bodily harm.
He remained at the Flagler County jail on Tuesday on $3,000 bond.