Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Worker John Michael Gratton is accused of driving while under the influence and crashing into five vehicles.
Gratton, 38, of Coral Springs, faces several charges, including DUI first offense; DUI damage with personal injury; possession of drug paraphernalia; reckless driving; reckless driving causing property damage; reckless driving causing injury; leaving the scene of an accident with property damage; failure to remain at a scene involving a non-serious injury; and resisting an officer without violence. His bond was set $3,000.
According to the arrest report, the alleged crash occurred on the night of January 19. Gratton was reportedly driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck at a high rate of speed while intoxicated when he crashed into four vehicles. The collision pushed one of those cars into a fifth vehicle. Two people were injured in the crash and were taken to Cleveland Clinic by Davie Fire Rescue.
Gratton’s vehicle sustained heavy front-end damage. Police found a cooler full of alcoholic beverages in the vehicle, as well as several pill bottles, firearms with ammunition, and a grinder that tested positive for marijuana, the report said.
Gratton purportedly ran away from the scene of the crash and a Davie police office found him hiding under some bushes near the intersection of Griffin Road and Weston Road. The officer reported that Gratton was stumbling over his own feet as he approached the patrol vehicle. His speech was slurred and his eyes were “blood shot, glassy and watery.” He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.
“She stated [Gratton’s] vehicle appeared to have been driving for miles down Griffin Road with only a front left rim and a flat front right tire,” the affidavit said. “She also stated she did not see any evidence on the roadway that would indicated [Gratton] attempted to make any evasive maneuvers to prevent a collision with five vehicles.”
Sources say Gratton has been a licensed paramedic since 2004 with a clean discipline record. The only blemish on his driving record was a 2016 ticket for running a red light in Miami-Dade for which he was fined $293.
Gratton has been working as a driver/operator for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue since 2002. He has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the case.
The Florida legislature has passed some of the most demanding DUI laws in the nation because of all the deaths that have been caused by drunk driving. Police departments and the Florida Highway Patrol are required to use a zero-tolerance standard when enforcing these laws. As a result, the state prosecutes an enormous number of DUI cases every year.
Florida DUI Attorney