Mark ‘Van Hammer’ Hildreth , 60, was charged with DUI with injuries and leaving the scene of an injury. He is being held in Palm Beach County Jail on $125,000 bond. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to Boynton Beach police, the alleged incident occurred at approximately 3 p.m. on January 26 on the 3400 block of South Seacrest Boulevard in Boynton Beach’s south end. A man was reportedly driving a black Mercedes-Benz S-550 at 58 mph in a 35-mph zone when he struck a five-year-old boy on a bicycle.
The boy was riding with his father on Seacrest when the accident happened. He veered in front of the Mercedes-Benz and was thrown atop the vehicle’s hood, police said. He was taken to Delray Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and is reportedly in stable condition.
Witnesses told police that the driver pulled off the road, jumped out of the vehicle, and said, “He jumped in front of me.” He then leaped back into his car and then drove off south, even as bystanders yelled for him to stop.
One of the witnesses followed the driver to his home, taking pictures of the vehicle’s license plate and of the accused inside the vehicle. Moments later, police arrived at the address and found the man, who was identified as the alleged retired wrestler, sitting outside. His home was reportedly near the crash site.
Police said, “Hildreth made statements about being involved in the crash,” according to the arrest report. The officers noted that he slurred his words, had the smell of alcohol on his breath, and staggered when he stood up. He purportedly denied drinking but later said he had consumed some drinks the previous night. He refused to perform field sobriety exercises or provide a breath sample, police said.
The defendant was a professional wrestler under the name ‘Van Hammer’ for 12 years before retiring in 2002. He moved to Boynton Beach in 2013, sources indicate. Records show this isn’t his first run-in with the law on DUI charges; he was reportedly arrested for a DUI in 2004 in Georgia.
Florida has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the U.S. The state requires local law enforcement agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol to use a zero tolerance standard when enforcing these laws.
Police use checkpoints, breathalyzers, roadside tests, and video evidence to enforce DUI laws. As a result, a high number of people are arrested on DUI charges every year. In 2015, almost 47,000 people were arrested in Florida for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
South Florida DUI Attorney