According to the arrest report, Huizenga was found passed out in a drifting boat in the early hours of Thursday near Briny’s Pub in Fort Lauderdale. A fire rescue worker saw the boat on the river and tried to wake Huizenga by yelling and waving his flashlight, but his attempts were unsuccessful.
The officers who eventually boarded the boat reported that Huizenga was alone at the helm with the keys in the ignition. The engines weren’t on, but they were lowered into the water.
Huizenga was unable to answer the questions the officers asked him. He had a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from him while speaking, slurred speech and a red flushed face” and was “swaying back and forth and was very unsteady” when he stood up, the report said.
Court documents revealed that Huizenga had consumed three glasses of wine at the Boathouse on 620 Southeast 4th Street before he left on his boat. A manager and security guard reportedly tried to stop him from leaving.
The manager told police that he didn’t think Huizenga was “super drunk” but he also didn’t think he should be driving. He tried several times to convince him not to leave and offered to call him a cab or let him sober up with water.
The manager eventually called 911 to ask police for assistance, but “no one showed and the man boarded his boat and stated something like you can’t keep me from leaving. This is my boat. The subject then untied his boat and then sat down in the driver’s seat,” according to court documents.
Huizenga, who is the son of the late billionaire businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, has three prior DUI convictions and one for boating under the influence. He was last arrested in 2010 after he was caught docking a boat at the wrong house on a Fort Lauderdale canal while drunk.
In 2006, he was sentenced to a year of house arrest and four years of probation for driving while drunk and an hitting elderly man as he crossed Las Olas Boulevard. The man sued Huizenga and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Driving under the influence is a serious crime with especially harsh penalties in Florida because of all the deaths, particularly of youth, that have been caused by drunk drivers. Police are expected to have a zero tolerance standard for DUI offenders, and as a result, the state legislature handles a large volume of such cases every year.