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Flagler Beach Police Officer Brett Smith Jailed on DUI Charge (Updated With Arrest Report)

| March 13, 2011

flagler beach police

An off-duty Flagler Beach patrolman was arrested for driving under the influence Saturday evening after Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies found him passed out in his personal vehicle, a 1998 Jeep four-door towing a trailer, in the Daytona North area around 5:20 p.m.

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Deputies responded to Chestnut Avenue after receiving a report of an unresponsive man found in a vehicle that was towing a trailer. The man was identified as 31-year-old Flagler Beach Patrolman Brett Smith. Deputies said Smith failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI.

He was booked into the Flagler County Inmate Facility and was released after posting $350 bond. He was subsequently placed on administrative leave by the Flagler Beach police chief.

It was not clear from the Sheriff’s Office, whose spokesperson provided the facts of the case today (March 13), how or why Smith, having been found unconscious at the wheel of his vehicle, could have been charged with driving under the influence. When asked for the arrest report, which shows in better detail the circumstances of an arrest (at least from the police’s perspective), the sheriff’s office said it would make it available Monday.

Monday Update: The sheriff’s report on the arrest indicates that a deputy was called to the scene “for a person unresponsive behind the wheel possibly in need of medical assistance.” Smith, according to the report, was sleeping with his head leaning against the car window, propped up by his arm. He would not, at first, respond to the deputy when spoken to. The deputy had to shake him awake, and smelled alcohol on his breath. Smith was unsteady on his feet, according to the report, and his speech was “slurred and thick-tongued.”

He was then asked to perform a field sobriety test, which he did, failing several steps. He refused to provide a breath sample.

A search of the vehicle “revealed an open but empty 12-ounce bottle of Bud Lite lime behind the front passenger seat on top of some clothing,” according to the report, with some liquid still in it. The deputy found a cap for the bottle in Smith’s pocket, and, behind the rear passenger seat, an open case of Bud Lite lime with a receipt dated Saturday–the day of the arrest–and several missing bottles. The full report is available here. (Note: the arrest report lists Smith’s age as 52, but his date of birth as May 22, 1980).

The Flagler Beach Police Department has 15 uniformed officers, including the police chief, two sergeants, a lieutenant, a detective and 10 rank and file officers. Those rank and file officers are paid, on average, $34,600 a year, though the amounts vary based on experience. Five years ago, the police chief appeared before the city commission seeking help on behalf of Smith’s family, which was going through difficult times due to rehabilitative health costs related to Smith’s wife. Those costs were not covered by the city’s health insurance. The commission agreed to inform the public in so far as making voluntary donations.

41 Responses for “Flagler Beach Police Officer Brett Smith Jailed on DUI Charge (Updated With Arrest Report)”

  1. Hold On says:

    Hold on here. Was the man driving his vehicle? Was it parked on the public road way or in a private lot?
    If he was sleeping it off then DUI is a pretty weak DUI charge.

    The man in the vehicle should have refused to take any tests.
    That is if he was not operating the vehicle and it was parked while he slept.

    This article does not provide enough details to draw a valid conclusion on the validity of the arrest.
    If the police report does not contain the details then it is a waste of the court’s time to charge this man.

  2. Abouttime says:

    side note….sleeping in the car and being so drunk you are passed out and can’t stand, are also two very different things. Lets wait to see the facts of the case are.

    Hold On-You dont have to be driving to get a DUI charge. You only have to be in physcial control of the vehicle. If the officer was sitting in the car with the keys in the ignition thats just as good as driving it down the roadway. Secondly, it doesnt matter if he was in a private lot or a public roadway. Florida reads that he only has to be in the State of Florida. It never states that it must be in the roadway. When the facts of the case come out it will show the officer’s did their job.

  3. says:

    i have to agree with hold on, sounds like a charge that has no substance. the report should have been completed soon after the arrest, i guess they have to have several people go over it to make sure there are no flaws in it.

  4. Paul says:

    You can still get a DUI or DWI even if you fell asleep at the wheel and the car is not moving. Refusing to a sobriety test would of left him without a drivers license(temporarily) and he would of been charged with public intoxication. So to set things straight, if the keys are in his possession, and he even as far as had them in the ignition, he can be charged with DUI, even if the vehicle wasnt moving, because there was intent, whether now or when he woke up, to drive the car intoxicated.

  5. Kurt says:

    you people (first n third comments) are so dumb. this guy for a fact has been drinking n driving and has wrecked his car and fled the scene so many times its not evn funny. u have to feel bad for his family but police are held to a higher standard and im sure if he was arrested then he deserved 2 go.

  6. PC MAN says:

    If this guy had been born on the south side of Bunnel you people would have been shopping for a rope right now but because he’s a white cop this arrest is baseless ? 30 years old is a little to old to be passed out drunk somewhere, this is no teenage mistake he obviously has a problem.

  7. elaygee says:

    Do they have any sort of standards for cops in Flagler ? Is passed out drunk at the wheel of a car in the daytime not enough to say Bye Bye?

  8. compcat says:

    by by crappy cop

  9. Flagler Citizen says:

    Has the Sheriff’s report been released yet?

  10. Frank Rizzo says:

    This is a BS Charge, first of all the man was asleep in his parked vehicle, engine off and wearing a seat belt how the hell can he be charged with DWI. The man needs to hire the best attorney from outside the limits of the incident and sue the hell out the City, the Police and anyone else involved this crime.

    It’s clear these Cops were over zealous, and need to fired for violating this man civil rights……

  11. LivinginReality says:

    Sounds like he was in control of the car. If he was in the driver’s seat then he was in control of the vehicle. He must have been driving at some point.

    Here’s the state statute for you to read. Sound like a dui to me.

    316.193 Driving under the influence; penalties.—
    (1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
    (a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
    (b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
    (c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
    (2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:

    • bimini says:

      Hello?!…..he was PARKED. I could see he could be cited for a trespassing ticket or public intoxication but not no Dui.

  12. NortonSmitty says:

    It should be obvious to all citizens after years of the Draconian DUI laws rammed through by the Insurance Industry, trial lawyers and the criminal justice industry that the damage done to individuals lives by unnecessary arrests is on a par with the damage done by actual drunk drivers. One arrest like Officer Smiths will devastate the life of anyone. You are looking at a $10,000 dollar minimum legal cost and fines, at least a year without a drivers license, which usually costs you your job, and the real threat of jail time. Your insurance costs will triple at least. And that is just for having 2 beers on the way home from work. God help you if your in an accident.

    Does it make any sense at all to punish someone for having sense enough to sleep it off in his car exactly the same as someone who drives and can harm others? This law was designed to force the defendant to give his money to lawyers, insurers and fill the jails. Not to save lives as advertised. It’s time to change them.

  13. Learn The Law says:

    Frank Rizzo – You can get a DUI for what’s called being in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle, which means if the vehicle can be readily driven or is readily accessible to be driven (hence someone seated in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition) you can be charged. I suggest you learn more about the actual laws that apply rather than spouting off nonsense that has no legal bearing in this matter. Also your comments about suing everyone have no merit due to the facts stated above and the cops had every legal right to make an arrest. Funny you claim they violated this man’s civil rights when you have no clue probably what your own rights are.

  14. Haw Creek Girl says:

    This is another fine example of why Jennifer Prevatt should not be on road patrol.. She was unable to make a decision on a pretty clear situation. Then there’s the fear factor, the police report, states this officer was a pretty big fellow and Jennifer might be 5’1″ and might weigh 110 lbs. If this defendant had decided to go ballistic and hand to hand (mind you with the same training) she would either have to taze or shoot him to stop the altercation. She is a liablility and the Sheriff’s Office is allowing her to be put in jeopardy as well as other deputies who have to rush to give her back up in case’s that are dangerous. Even often risking the public’s safety at some points because of the speed at whcih they must rush to back her up.

  15. Flagler Citizen says:

    NortonSmitty- Do you honestly think he only had 2 beers and only 2 beers rendered him virtually unconscious? As reported, there was 1 empty bottle behind the passenger seat and then, “several missing bottles” form the opened case of beer. Also, where did you get the information that he had the beers on the way home from work?

  16. anonymous says:

    I have to totally agree with Haw Creek Girl… that girl is always trying to get anyone she stops in some kind of hassle. not to mention how terribly rude she is to everyone,also want to point out while she is on duty she is driving at an insane speed to see how fast she can make it from one county line to the next,and i am not kiddin either,i live out that way on hwy 11 and i have seen her drive back and forth again and again driving just as fast as she can go!

  17. NortonSmitty says:

    If you read the comment, I wasn’t talking about this incident but the law in general except for the fact he obviously decided to sleep rather than drive. For which this asinine law says he deserves the same level of punishment.

  18. Brad Weir says:

    Well first we have to wonder…did the driver park the vehicle or did it just wind up there? Was the vehicle running when the cops got there? I see alot of blame going on and no one has any facts.

  19. Outsider says:

    Norton Smitty, did you ever stop and think how the family members of a dead DUI victim might be inclined to press for these laws? The draconian punishment you refer to is nothing compared to spending the rest of your life knowing your child/mother/father/sibling died because of some drunk driving his car the wrong way down the road. While I generally side with law enforcement, I think they need to set the example, and IF the allegations are what they seem, this guy needs to get help or get a new job.

  20. LivinginReality says:

    Norton, the law is the law. He was “in control of the vehicle” , in the drivers seat on the side of the road. He got there someway or was he teleported there by little green men who have a grudge against him. as for as the officer who found him passed out in his truck, if he “decided to go ballistic and hand to hand” the if he had to be taxed or shot then so be it. Any officer that is in that situation would have to make the same choice.

  21. 91LX says:

    At least he had his seat belt on….. Safety first
    For the people that think he was just sleeping it off… Do you really think that he really fell asleep or was driving down the road, drunk ass all hell, and passed out behind the wheel.
    Its real simple here. DON”T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!!
    I for one feel that the DUI laws are to weak. For me if you get a DUI you should have both of your feet cut off so that you can not drive anymore. Or if you kill anyone, and you live. The victims family should be able to kill you in any way that they wish.

  22. just a citizen says:

    Listen he needs to go………… we don’t need this kind of officer patroling our streets……..word on the street has it that this is not the first time Mr. Smith was found in that condition…. I guess the ax finally came down on a guy that has obvious problems and should not be carrying a gun a pretending to uphold the law that he so readily scoffs.

  23. Haw Creek Girl says:

    When you see her speeding out towards Seville on 11 and 305, just remember she lives in Volusia County which is Seville and is allowed to use OUR taxpayers money to drive her patrol car home at speeds that are indeed ridiculous. I had to pull over one day and let her pass me because she was driving so fast I thought there must be a call up ahead. I got to the caution light in Seville and there she was at the Handy Way at the intersection of 305 and 17. I pulled in to get coffee as she drove away, she headed straight down Lake George Rd which is where she lives?! And we wonder why our county can’t afford certain necessity?!

  24. DUI Kills says:

    What would of happen if he killed a child or a family. This has nothing to do with the deputy speeding. But every thing to do with Mr. Smith’s drinking and driving. If you are unhappy with the deputy call the Sheriff and made a complaint. If they would look into Mr. Smiths back ground the public would be shocked.

  25. Annoymous says:

    Did you ever think that this has nothing to do with Prevatt’s ability to make a decision, but a situation that should have been handled by a supervisor, like it was?

  26. Haw Creek Girl says:

    It’s not about her ability to make a decision or not, it’s about her capability to carry out her decision and the liability that brings to her and the Sheriffs Office.

  27. Ivan Paul says:

    Attention All Blog Participants……. ” Please Return to your High School English Class Immediately ! ”

    Several of the individual blog entries to this story lack credibility due to basic spelling mistakes, improper English grammar, and poor word selection. One does not need to have an MBA from Harvard Business School to know how to demonstrate basic English writing skills !

  28. D says:

    I just took a look at the Flagler County Sheriffs Office Inmate Facility, and I was wondering why they did not post his picture online. I find this to be ridiculous, if anyone else would of been arrested for that, our picture would be up there. What because he’s a police officer the laws that he enforces everyday do not apply to him.

  29. 91LX says:

    Plus 1 on what D said

  30. popo3984 says:

    well d they dont have to post his pic becuase he’s a police officer and we are excempt from public records so get a life and get off the computer loser

  31. 91LX says:

    Hey popo3984 Correct me if I am wrong here but are not not on the computer? ANd you are tell us to get off the computer? Dude You are the reason why people hate cops. Its because you think you are better than everyone else. You are no diffrenet than I am. What because you have a badge and a gun you are some how better? Why don’t you go break the law somewhere and so you don’t have to have your picture posted up on the computer. BTW “popo”. Is your real name Brett Smitt by any chance?

  32. Really? says:

    The only conclusion I come to in here is that you all must have received tickets and now you are taking this chance to bash a good police officer! I hope they keep him on, I really like Officer Smith. Alot of people in this town are pulling FOR him, not trying to drag him through the mud! Hurry back Smitty, we miss you !!

  33. marvin says:

    keep your head up smitty, pray hard my brother we all make mistakes just learn from this, give it to god and move on,

  34. FB sober driver says:

    From a very reliable source I heard officer Smith was in the road at a 4-way intersection near the Mondex. He was not parked off the road with his keys out of the ignition his vehicle was still running, which anyone with a brain would conclude he passed out after drinking so damn much. If anyone visits the bars in Flagler beach they would tell you this guy has a serious alcohol problem and needs help
    I have no beef with Smitty, but I would like to see an example made out of him and be charged just like any other citizen in this country would have been for making the same dumb decision. And by the way his chances and conduct on the force are lengthy and quite absurd that he is still employed. Flagler Beach police in the past year or so have come under much scrutiny and with just cause. And for his bond to be set at $350 is a joke, any other person would be paying AT LEAST $500 but typically $1500. We as citizens deserve protection and fair service from the officers that uphold the law. When they fail to do so they like working class citizens should face the same consequences.

  35. FB Society says:

    This entire situation is very unfortunate for everyone. Yes, Mr. Smith has made a mistake. But I do not feel he needs to be made an example of. He is human like you and I. We all make mistakes. This man served our country and now our town for many years. We need to take into consideration why he may have an alcohol problem and get him some help. Not burn a good man at the stake.

  36. LEO says:

    Being a fellow officer, its always a difficult situation to take another officer to jail, esp one that works in your own county. However, I will say that I can see the points of the booking pictures. But while we are human and do make mistakes, we also many times return to duty after thign ssuch as DUI, arrests etc. One main reason why our pictures are not put up is for officer safety. For example, when an officer is off duty and in a grocery store with or without family, you don’t want someone approaching you because they are a cop hater. Brett did make a horrible decision, and I for one hope that he was just pulled off to the side because he realized he shouldnt be driving. But there are no excuses to be said because none of us were there. So whatever happens, happens. He is a very good and fair police officer and has on several occasions backed me up. Now, the Prevatt issue, if people feel thats trongly about her and her actions I advise you to file a complaint. I will not voicemy personal opinion on her, but I will say to “file a complaint” if you ever feel any deputy is out of line. Yes, you can arrest someone for being in physical control of a vehicle for DUI. You can also arrest someone for DUI on a bike. Some officers are more “go getters” than others.

    Best wishes

  37. Kyle Wilson says:

    Brett is a good man and a good officer. As a Flagler Beach resident I have witnessed this firsthand. I realize the seriousness of this matter and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one as the result of a drunk driver. Listen, we’ve all made mistakes, some worse than others albiet, but I think all of us hope to be met with some empathy and a chance to redeem ourselves. But Brett did not kill anyone, he pulled over because he didn’t want to put anyone else at risk, and before you say, “he didn’t kill anyone this time” I must remind you that we a judged on what we do, not what we might do. I hope the city gives him a chance to right a wrong and get help if he so chooses. As someone who has dealt with alcoholism my entire life I feel people who have never experienced it or haven’t known someone who does suffer from it have trouble understanding how powerful it can be, especially when you are dealing with personal turmoil. I don’t know Brett well enough to say whether or not he has a drinking problem or if this was an isolated incident, but I DO know he has been an asset to our community in Flagler Beach. I feel “making an example out of him”, which basically means throwing the book at him would be a diservice to our city and not the approriate way to deal with what might be a completely different problem: an officer going through a tough time using the wrong outlets to deal with his problems. People can learn from mistakes, if given the chance. I just ask that you put yourself in his position, even if you say you would never make that mistake, would you want your life ruined or rather be given a chance to get some help and try to make a positive out of the situation? I’m not writing this as a “pro-cop” citizen, on the contrary, I think the use of them hassling surfers (myself included) too close to the pier and dogs playing at the beach is bullshit personally, but that doesn’t mean we should crucify them once they make a mistake. Remember, we are human, we have feelings and make mistakes, even cops.

  38. palmcoaster says:

    Give deputy Smith one last chance….to AA/rehab and stay on his job under very strict conditions.
    We are all human and we all make mistakes, sometimes almost or just tragic ones. We just don’t know what tensions/depression or stress an individual may be going thru sometimes. Give this man one more chance to get back on the right trail and without the bottle.

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