Deputies claim an off-duty Palm Harbor firefighter asked for "professional courtesy" after they suspected him of driving drunk.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said dispatchers received 911 calls from at least three people who claimed a pickup truck was driving erratically around 9 p.m. Sunday on U.S. Highway 19. Callers said the pickup truck was swerving and nearly hit the median and other cars, according to deputies.
A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said one caller thought the driver was falling asleep at the wheel.
Deputies couldn't find the vehicle at first. But, authorities say they went to the home of the registered owner and found a Dodge Ram pickup truck parked outside.
According to law enforcement, Thomas Coty Walker, 29, was sitting in the driver's seat with the engine running. Nobody else was in the pickup.
"Deputies made contact with Walker who showed signs of impairment by having bloodshot, glassy eyes and he had the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath," a sheriff's office news release said.
When asked to perform field sobriety tests, deputies claim he refused and asked for "professional courtesy."
Authorities say Walker refused to provide a breath sample and didn't answer questions. He was arrested and taken to the Pinellas County Jail. He has since been released on his own recognizance.
Walker is charged with one count of driving under the influence.
Deputies say he is employed by the Palm Harbor Fire Department.
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