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Second Drunk Driver Hits Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy Car in 2 Days; No Damage This Time

| June 15, 2012

Karolyn Harris (FCSO)

One of the pictures Karolyn Harris features at her Facebook page shows her curled on a couch, her head poised at the edge over a white bucket. The presumed contents of the bucket leave little to the imagination. “[O]nly turn 21 once!! haha,” was the photo caption, eliciting six likes and many appreciative comments (“been there, done that,” “looks like ya had a good night,” and “You were done”). Harris herself described what had led to that point: “dude let me tell ya that night was a blasttt!! i was so drunk i had to be walked to the car and walked in my house kuz i couldnt even walk str8!! i went out sat at midnight and got trashed and then drank all day sunday!! it was an amazing weekend and def had alotttt of fun!!”

It’s not clear where Harris herself drove that night. What’s clearer is that she was driving late Thursday night when she carried out a few odd maneuvers with her Chevrolet in front of a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy–and backed into the deputy’s cruiser, striking it but causing no damage. It was the second time in two night that a deputy’s car was struck by that of a drunk driver. Harris, 22, of Ullian Trail in Palm Coast, was arrested and booked into the Flagler County jail on a DUI charge.

Deputy Frederick Gimbel was patrolling along east State Road 100 near Palm Pointe Apartments when he saw Harris’s green two-door Chevrolet make a U-turn directly in front of him by the entrance to Palm Pointe, according to Gimble’s report. The car’s rear end fishtailed and spun the vehicle around, so it ended up facing north on the eastbound road. Harris regained control and began driving east. Gimble followed. When Harris crossed over Belle Terre Parkway, she began to slowly drift off the road and onto the shoulder, traveling with its right wheels on the grass for about 100 or 200 yards, according to the police report.

Gimble activated his police lights. “The vehicle jerked very quickly to the left and slightly went back into the lane before pulling off onto the shoulder,” Gimble report states. “When the vehicle pulled off onto the shoulder, I put my patrol vehicle in park and began to exit my vehicle. As soon as I opened my door, the vehicle put his rear lights on (reverse lights) and began to slowly come back at my vehicle. I entered my vehicle and quickly had to put my vehicle in reverse but before I could engage the shifter to reverse the said vehicle slightly bumped into my patrol vehicle’s push bumper. Be advised that neither vehicle sustained any damage.”

Wednesday evening, Colleen Comfort, 45, of Palm Coast, almost took out the open door of another sheriff’s deputy who was conducting an unrelated traffic stop on Palm Harbor Parkway. The deputy was in the car when Comfort struck his cruiser. Comfort insisted that she thought she’d hit a mailbox. She kept on driving and was subsequently arrested by another deputy, and jailed on a DUI charge and a hit-and-run charge. There were no injuries in that incident.

When Gimble first observed Harris in her Chevrolet, he noted that she had “a very slurred speech, she appeared to be very upset, had a hard time understanding what information I was asking for, had an obvious odor of alcoholic beverage coming from her person, and continuously stated, ‘I’ve never been in trouble before please please please.'”

She was then asked to conduct field sobriety exercises. She complied, but failed, being unable to keep her balance or follow directions as she became very upset. She failed four successive “exercises,” according to the report. She told the deputies at the scene that she’d been “hanging out” at Palm Pointe Apartments since 8:30 that evening. At the jail, she consented to a breath test, which recorded 0.204. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08. A second test resulted in a reading of 0.214.

Harris, a native of Daytona Beach, posted $150 bond and was released.

“Often, people forget that these deputies – your neighbors and friends – put their lives on the line every day that they put on their uniform,” Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming, who a few weeks ago led the annual ceremony for fallen deputies at the sheriff’s office, said. “These are traffic incidents that could have been avoided if some common sense had been used by the drivers – don’t drink and drive.”

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25 Responses for “Second Drunk Driver Hits Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy Car in 2 Days; No Damage This Time”

  1. Linda says:

    Thank you Flagler Sheriffs for getting these drunks off the road. It makes me sick to think they are out there without any regard for anyone else’s safety, putting all of us in danger, even police officers. We can only hope that they receive adequate punishment so that they might be deterred before they maim or kill someone.

  2. gatorfan1 says:

    i think this is even less news worthy the other drunk woman story…barney go put your bullet in your gun and let’s go shoot some real criminals.

    • FlaglerGal says:

      You wouldn’t be making such comments if one of these drunks hit and killed some family member. These drunks are as dangerous as any criminal out there. The weapon of the drunk is that 2000 or more pound vehicle.

  3. TRUTH says:

    Sheriff Fleming…You have NO IDEA how often your road deputies put our lives on the line for you and the citizens of this county. If you did then you would have given them a raise….at least 1 raise… least 1 cost of living raise….IN THE LAST 4 YEARS!!!! Istead of that you continue to grant promotions to SELECT officers that have promised to vote for you. You have made over 40 promotions in the last 2 years…..YES I SAID 40 PROMOTIONS…during a horrible recession. Your road officers are not behind you!! Do you know that your deputies that have children bring home only $800.00 every 2 weeks. Why dont you, Sheriff Fleming, try to live on that? You have no children to take care of except your adult son. Why don’t you tell your chief’s making $100,000 + yearly and your majors making $80,000 + yearly and your captains and Lt’s making $70,000 + yearly that the gravy train is OVER and its time to stop this. People of Flagler County….did you know that yesterday there were as many supervisors as there were officers (a 1 to 1 ratio) in district 2 of Flagler County?

    • Mike says:

      If you are going to name yourself as “TRUTH”, get your information right. FCSO Deputies salaries start at $33,000 per year, that $1,270 for every two week period.

      • Ray Thorne says:

        wow 33,000? What is the take home after tax & med insurance deductions? had no idea cops made so little down here.

      • Real Truth says:

        Mike, after deductions, 3% paid towards retirement now, $300 plus paid towards health insurance for families now, union dues, taxes, etc. TRUTH was absolutely right, approximately $800 is what is REALLY being brought home to survive on.

      • TRUTH says:

        If I can address this….Yes, Mike your right. That number you stated is the GROSS pay. The person that I know working for Fleming has NEVER brought home that much. Usually the take home pay is $800.00 every 2 weeks. Did you know Mike that if 1 medical emergency happens to 1 family member of a Fleming deputy, than they are immediately trying to decide between food and medical treatments. It is that despirate in the FCSO!!!! Fleming currently has employees that have sick children. Those employees have had their personal cars repossessed and their homes foreclosed because Fleming DOES NOT CARE about his road deputies. ( I am willing to prove these statements)This is the truth that is hidden by Fleming and his supporters. They only look out for themselves. While Fleming is having HD DVD Navigation systems installed in his department vehicle, he does not think that that system (installed by Sundown Stereo in St. Augustine 904-797-2242) that cost $4000.00 to the Flagler Cpunty Tax Payer was in reality the take home pay of a deputy under his command for 9 WEEKS! He actually spent 9 weeks deputy pay for a DVD car stereo in his work car….Actually the tax payers did! Prove me wrong. It is that disregard for us all that must change.

      • GB says:

        That’s still crap money for putting your life on the line every day. Oh wait, that’s right, police, fire fighters and teachers don’t matter anymore, the new right wing mantra. We need less of them…..hey that’s Romney talking, not me. Get rid of their unions and pay them fast food wages, yeah, that will work out well.

      • Maida says:

        Before taxes that is…..

    • Jerry says:

      Time for Fleming to go. Manfry is the man for this job.

      • Ray Thorne says:

        Umm no Jerry he isn’t. We’ve been there done that. If I decide to vote for anyone other than the incumbent, it certainly will not be a vote backward.

      • Reality Check says:

        Manfre, this guy was nothing more than an egotistical moron, I do not advocate Flemming by any means but Manfre was evn a bigger laughing stock. Manfre is in it for the money. the problem here in FL is anyone can run for Sheriff.

  4. Geezer says:

    Wow – an outbreak of pink elephant sightings in our quaint little bedroom community.

  5. Meh says:

    I think the fcso are oconspiring so they can sound relevant again….

  6. gator says:

    another drunk off the road, palm coast finest.

  7. rose duncan says:

    they are turning themselves in by hitting the cops cars

  8. jespo says:

    Truth stated the take home pay but Mikey stated the gross pre-tax number. After taxes, medical, dental and eye benefits, union dues and possibly extra life insurance and cause donations (like Christmas with a Deputy, Special Olympics, etc) 1269.00 becomes 800.00 or so.

    Deputies arrest drunk driver that struck police vehicle – “Boo! Non-story. The Sheriffs Office is desperate for positive news. Big deal, go catch a real criminal.”

    Drunk driver causes havoc for miles before killing pedestrian. – “Why didn’t the Sheriffs Office do anything? Probably eating donuts at the time. Cops could care less. They’re lazy, fire them all.”

    Individuals are smart…people are stupid….very stupid…so stupid I find comprehnsion of the scope and span of the stupidity nearly incomprehensible, almost infinite in its reach. I’m blanketed with stupidity in this county the moment I walk out of my house.

  9. ol' sarge says:

    jespo– that’s a pretty negative post…If you constantly feel like you are surrounded but stupid people, THEY ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!!

  10. JC says:

    Thank you Flagler county Sheriffs dept. keep up the great work. I lost a family member many years ago due to a drunk driver. The pain never goes away. I wish the police could confiscate the car and sell it at an auction, maybe then people would think before they get behind the wheel of a 3000 pound weapon.

  11. palmcoaster says:

    Agree with the Truth. FCSO has too many over paid top brass to make sure he gets re-elected. A real case of too many chiefs and few indians (our deputies) that are the only one’s doing the real work risking their lives daily and under paid. By the way Truth there are some captains that make over $85,000 because probably they have good connections with the FCCOC, that weighs too heavy on election years.

    • Think first, act second says:

      palmcoaster, please explain how the Chamber of Commerce (there I will say the words you are scared to) has anything to do with the pay of FCSO deputies!

  12. Joe A. says:

    Hate to bring up old news. But what this lady given the same respect and treatment as one of their own?
    Does anyone remember when an off duty FCSO crashed and caused serious bodily injury?
    Well I do!

    How can the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office enforce the law when their own people can not follow it? I bet this Deputy still works there and is making a handsome salary. The blame goes out to the Leadership, or the Lack there of should I say.

    We see this past November of inconsistent policies within the Sheriff”s office when dealing with victims of Motor Vehicle Crashes. That poor woman laid dying in the street and it will all be covered up because someone was friends with the Sheriff.

    I want my Sheriff’s Office to be hard on crimes like this. I want them to enforce the law and make our damn roads safe! I want to stop reading about a fatal car accident because drugs or alochol was a contributing factor.

    It is unacceptable by any means for any person to drive in a reckless manner that could cause injury or death to any innocent person. That deputy was lucky he did not get killed the other night. All because someone had a little bit too much.

    It is time for Change and its time for the Sheriff’s office to take a proactive control of the situation. Stop allowing DUI. That includes them enforcing the law correctly, not covering things up for selective people.

    My favorite ad from the past: “Arrive alive, don’t drive and drive.”

  13. Reality Check says:

    For all those that say, “arrest a real Criminal” what do you think a DUI offender is? This person potentially causes more harm than a armed robber. We just had 3 incidents of pedestrians being killed by non-drunk drivers, well in the case of Mrs. Fischer, that we can assume should have been a DUI (alcohol/medication?) . When a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle intoxicated, they can wreak havoc on many people, just look next time you are on Hwy 100 at how many cars are around you. DUI arrests are some of the most important possible life saving arrests an officer can make.

  14. TFC says:

    Palm Coaster agree 100 % to many chiefs not enough indians……..

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