Stolen ride leads to DUI charge

Published 10:10 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Gulf Shores man took an unauthorized ride in a Berrydale Fire Department vehicle Saturday, but was arrested by East Brewton police who said he was driving erratically.

Lester Randolph Pugh Jr., 32, of Gulf Shores, was arrested and charged with DUI by East Brewton Police Officer Andy Miles. Charges in Santa Rosa County, Fla., are also pending.

East Brewton Police Chief Kenny Brazile said his department received a call from a motorist reporting a vehicle driving erratically along U.S. 41 just north of the Alabama/Florida State Line.

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“The caller said that a vehicle was following very closely and was swerving on the road behind them as they were coming into the East Brewton area,” Brazile said. “We dispatched an officer to the area to locate the driver and investigate the situation.”

Brazile said Officer Andy Miles responded to the incident and requested assistance from Officer Chris Neal.

“Our officers were able to locate the vehicle in question in the vicinity of the Riverview City Hall,” Brazile said. “Our officers then made contact with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department to assist in the incident.”

As officers investigated the incident, they discovered that the vehicle being driven by Pugh was property of Berrydale Fire Department in the Berrydale Community, Brazile said.

“The officers asked why Pugh was driving the Florida vehicle into Alabama while investigating the incident,” Brazile said. “He said he was given permission to drive the vehicle, but our investigation proved that not to be the case.”

Brazil said Florida officials were contacted in the case to determine if the vehicle had been reported stolen. After a series of phone calls, it was determined that the truck had been taken without the knowledge of anyone with the Berrydale Fire Department.

“Our officers took Pugh into custody on the DUI charge,” Brazile said. “An officer then drove the vehicle to our department so that Berrydale officials could pick up the vehicle.”

Pugh was booked into the Escambia County Detention Center for the DUI charge and has Florida charges pending in the case. Brazile said the suspect also was reported to have warrants for his arrest from Georgia.

Attempts to contact Florida officials in the case were unsuccessful as of press time Tuesday.

Pugh was still being held in the Escambia County jail on $5,000 bond as of Tuesday afternoon.