Shortly before his drunk driving trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Orange County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Meyer pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving.
According to a May 5 arrest report, Sgt. Meyer was driving an unmarked sheriff's department pickup truck with the emergency lights flashing, en route to an off-duty job at Walt Disney World, when he rear-ended a car on County Road 535 near Windermere. No one was injured injured in the crash, which occurred just after 9 p.m.
On Friday, Meyer unexpectedly walked into a courtroom and entered a no contest plea to the misdemeanor. A judge sentenced Meyer to the two days in jail he already served after his arrest, followed by six months probation. Meyer must complete 50 hours of community service, take a DUI education course and a victim awareness program, and undergo a substance abuse evaluation.
Despite his no contest plea, Meyer remains on paid administrative reassignment at the Orange County Sheriff's Office. He continues to be the subject of an internal investigation, according to a department spokesman.
Following the crash, Meyer refused to participate in field sobriety exercises, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers arrested him for driving under the influence and transported him to the DUI testing center near the Orange County Jail. At 12:21 a.m., Meyer refused the FHP's request to submit to a breathalyzer, according to investigators.
However, Local 6 has learned that before Meyer was booked into the jail, Orange County Sheriff's officials met with Meyer and required him to submit to a separate blood alcohol test as part of an internal investigation. Under Orange County Sheriff's Office policy, employees can be terminated if they refuse to submit to drug and alcohol testing or cooperate with an internal investigation.
According to multiple sources, Meyer's blood alcohol level registered .13, which is well above the .08 limit allowed to legally drive a vehicle. That test was conducted more than three hours after the crash, said sources.
Under Orange County policy, employees can be terminated if found to be under the influence of alcohol when driving county-owned vehicles.
Had Meyer voluntarily provided FHP with a breath sample, the results could have been used against him in court. But any incriminating evidence obtained during the sheriff's internal investigation was off limits to prosecutors, since Meyer was required to comply or risk of losing his job.