Monday, November 2, 2009

Lawn mower demolition derby

You know sometimes it is just so hard to spot those big, yellow school buses with their flashing lights.

Accidents just happen. (he says sarcastically)

Drunken man reportedly rams stolen lawnmower into school bus
By Austin L. Miller
Staff writer

Middle school students on a bus got the giggles Wednesday afternoon. But the man they were laughing at failed to see the humor - or the bus, apparently.

Ron Martin, 29, was arrested on a charge of drunken driving after authorities and witnesses say he rammed a riding lawmower into the back of the stopped school bus.

The crash caused the mower to tip, Martin and his riding companion to fall off, and the kids who witnessed it all to commence chuckling.

The students' reaction prompted an enraged Martin to mount an unsuccessful attempt to board the bus, authorities say. The occupants were from Lake Weir Middle School.

Martin, contacted Thursday afternoon at the Marion County Jail, declined to comment.

Sheriff's Deputy Abigale Rodriguez went to the 8000 block of Southeast 110th Street Road on Wednesday after receiving a call about the crash just east of Belleview.

The deputy noticed Martin and Charlene Mallorey on the mower in the westbound lane. They apparently were using the mower as a means of transportation.

Martin had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slurred, the deputy reported. The Ocklawaha man was unsteady on his feet and unwilling to cooperate, so the deputy arrested him.

Mallorey, 30, told the deputy that Martin had tipped the mower and they fell off, making the children on the bus laugh. She said Martin walked over to the bus and began banging on the doors, demanding to get onboard.

Another deputy talked with the bus driver, who confirmed the crash and Martin's subsequent efforts to climb aboard. While en route to the jail, Martin threatened the deputy and repeatedly hit his head on the metal cage in her patrol car, a report said.

At the jail, he refused to submit to a breath test. He was held on charges of DUI, threat to a public servant and criminal mischief.

The lawnmower, a Scag Turf Tiger model with a 61-inch cutting deck, is valued at $10,000. It had been reported stolen Wednesday morning from a residence in the 11400 block of Southeast 132nd Place in Ocklawaha.

The man who made the report told officials that two witnesses told him Martin took the machine.

There was approximately $100 worth of damage to the doors of the bus.