State Rep. Cary Pigman faces a misdemeanor drunk-driving charge in St. Lucie County after a traffic stop late Thursday, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
The FHP charged the Avon Park Republican as he was driving on Florida’s Turnpike.
Pigman, first elected in 2012, is an emergency medicine physician and U.S. Army Reserve doctor who served in Iraq. He chairs the House Health Quality Subcommittee. The Legislature concluded the third week of its annual Session on Thursday.
The arrest report says a trooper noticed Pigman’s southbound Jeep “drifting” between his lane and the highway’s shoulder around 10:45 p.m. Thursday. Pigman was alone in the vehicle.
The trooper reported “immediately smell(ing) an odor of alcoholic beverage” when he came up to the open window, and “saw an open wine bottle in the front passenger seat.” Pigman told him he was headed to Okeechobee, but the trooper noted the lawmaker was stopped in Fort Pierce, to the east.
Pigman had “a difficult time” getting out of the car when asked, and continued to “smell of alcohol,” the report said. “His pupils were constricted, his eyes were bloodshot,” but he denied drinking.
Pigman then failed field sobriety tests, including almost falling and not following instructions, the report said.
At around 12:30 a.m. Friday, his blood alcohol level was measured at .14 and .15, it added. A DUI in Florida is .08 or above. Pigman was later booked into the St. Lucie County jail.
Messages were left Friday afternoon at Pigman’s district office.
“We’re aware of the situation involving Dr. Pigman and know he will fully cooperate with authorities,” House Speaker Richard Corcoran said in a statement. “We will follow the case closely and continue to monitor the situation.”
Pigman represents House District 55, which includes Glades, Highlands and Okeechobee counties and western St. Lucie County.
The Florida Commission on Ethics last year found probable cause to believe that Pigman “link(ed) his efforts to obtain legislative funding for the (Okeechobee) School District to retaliate or attempt to retaliate” against Okeechobee County high school principal Tracy Downing, according to a statement.
Downing’s brother, Devin Maxwell, is the ex-husband of Elizabeth “Libby” Maxwell, a former district secretary for Pigman, with whom the lawmaker had been having an affair at the time, according to reports. They are now married.
Probable cause means it is more likely than not that a violation of state law has occurred but is not a definitive finding. Pigman went to a hearing before an administrative law judge in January to resolve the case; a recommended order is pending. He has denied any wrongdoing.