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Posted on: August 21, 2019

Habitual drunk driver given four years in state prison

This is Shawn Ryerson

KEY WEST, August 21, 2019 – A Daytona Beach man with a history of drunk driving has been sentenced to four years in Florida State Prison for his latest conviction, this one in Monroe County.

Monroe County Judge Mark Wilson sentenced Shawn Ryerson, 47, on August 16. A six-person jury had convicted him May 22 of felony driving under the influence-fourth or subsequent violation. The day of sentencing, Ryerson also pleaded to a misdemeanor count of failure to submit to a breath test following a prior driver’s license suspension for refusal. Assistant State Attorney Kelly Dugan represented the state.

Following prison, Ryerson will be on 12 months of drug-offender probation and must remain alcohol-free. He also must pay a $2,000 fine and has had his driver’s license revoked for life. He must perform 50 hours of community service, attend DUI school and hear from a victim impact panel made up of victims of drunk drivers and their families.

Ryerson was previously convicted of DUI in 1991 and 1998 in Seminole County and in 2013 in Volusia County.

His most recent arrest was on September 12, 2016, as he tried to pull out of a convenience store at U.S. 1 and Sombrero Beach Road in Marathon driving a Dodge pickup. A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived after receiving a call about a reckless driver.

The deputy wrote that she initially saw Ryerson walk out of the store to his truck and he “staggered and tripped over his feet.” She then saw Ryerson in the truck attempting to drive away and approached him to see if he was OK. When she did, “I observed his eyes to be red, watery and glassy” and smelled “a strong odor of alcohol” on his breath. When asked, Ryerson admitted he had drunk “a little bit” of alcohol. In the truck was an open 24-ounce can of Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, an alcoholic malt beverage.

Another deputy arrived and they asked Ryerson to perform field sobriety exercises, to which Ryerson responded: “How about we shut the door, turn everything off and walk away.” He was asked several more times if he would perform the exercises, and “continued to ask if we could close his [truck] door and walk away.” He finally agreed to perform the exercises when told he could not just walk away. However, he could not successfully complete the exercises so he was taken into custody and taken to the Sheriff’s Office Marathon substation, where he declined to give a breath sample.

In addition to being arrested for DUI, he was given a citation for having a cracked windshield.

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