In Lakeland last week, a 53-year-old woman named Donna Byrne was apprehended by deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after she was seen on the road looking bewildered as well as weaving around the street in a manner that suggested she was not fit to be on the street. Additionally, witnesses to the incident on Combee Road, close to North Crystal Lake Road, reported feeling as though the horse Byrne was riding was in danger. The deputies arrived shortly after the call was placed, stopped the horse, and had Byrne dismount the animal.
The report from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office indicates that Byrne’s eyes were red and watery, that she struggled to stand, and that she smelled strongly of alcohol. She agreed to supply the deputies with samples of her breath and the subsequent tests revealed that Byrne’s blood alcohol level rested somewhere between 0.157 and 0.161. Florida’s legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08, meaning that Byrne was about twice over.
Sheriff for Polk County, Grady Judd, indicated in the statement that the road on which Byrne and her horse were traveling was a fairly busy one and that Byrne’s actions put herself, her horse, and everyone else on the road in danger. Judd further stated that the responding deputies arrested Byrne and charged her with both a DUI and animal neglect for failing to offer the horse correct protection as well as placing it in a situation where it could easily be hurt or killed.
Donna Byrne’s interaction with the police last week was hardly her first, and the report on the incident described mentions that this is just the most recent in a string of felony and misdemeanor charges. To date, Byrne’s record features five felony and ten misdemeanor charges, with cases ranging from cruelty to animals, violation of probation, and possession of illegal drugs.
It is not known if any specified court date has been set in this most recent interaction between Byrne and the police and it is not clear whether or not she has been released from police custody.
The horse is believed to be resting safely at the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control facility.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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