Stephen Matthew Sisson of Cooper City, Florida was arrested Sunday after he was accused of leading police on an extremely slow police chase as he drove down the road on two flat tires, news sources report. Sisson, 45, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, having an enhanced DUI reading above .150, running red lights, and for damaging the road surface. A judge set his bail at $10,000. The press did not specify an attorney for Sisson.
According to reports, the incident soon after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday. Two Florida Highway Patrol officers initially spotted Sisson’s vehicle at the intersection of Riverland Road and State Road 7 in Fort Lauderdale, sources say. The officers noticed Sisson’s vehicle had two flat left tires, so they reportedly turned their cruiser lights on, exited, and walked up to Sission’s car. The officers knocked on the door of Sisson’s Chrysler 300; however, instead of responding, Sisson allegedly drove off.
The FHP officers began pursuing Sisson, sources say. They allegedly observed him treating red lights as stop signs, coming to a stop before going “straight through them,” sources say. As Sisson “continued to drive north at a very slow speed,” a Broward officer joined the FHP in pursuit. One of the authorities must have called backup, because Sisson was finally stopped when police barricaded the intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and State Road 7.
Once police had handcuffed Sisson, they purportedly noted that he reeked of alcohol and seemed tired and disoriented. An officer had Sisson perform field sobriety tests, but the attempt was aborted because “It was clear to me the defendant was highly impaired and that there was a significant risk that the defendant would fall and injure himself if I continued with the other sobriety exercises,” according to a report.
Sisson reportedly told officers that he was on medication for alcoholism, but that he did not know what it was called. It is not clear whether he is seeking any other forms of treatment for his medical issue, or whether he admitted to drinking that night. However, police had Sisson take a Breathalyzer test, which allegedly resulted in readings of .320 and .326.
“That’s four times the legal limit. That’s really getting up there,” a Broward County judge reportedly told Sisson during a court hearing. “That’s seriously impaired, sir, and the breath reading proves it.” The legal blood alcohol level for drivers in Florida and most other states is .08. Thankfully, no one was injured in the slow pursuit. It is too early to say why Sisson’s left tires were flat.
Driving under the influence is one of the leading causes of crashes in South Florida. According to statistics by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 1,424 DUI crashes in Broward County in 2010. Those crashes were responsible for 41 deaths, the FLHSMV indicates. Authorities across the nation have tried cracking down on drunk drivers by increasing patrols at night and on public holidays.