Crime

4th drunk-driving charge for man involved in Key West crash

Ronald Nicholson is a collector of drunk-driving charges.

He had three between 2007 and 2012 in Georgia. Monday, he got his fourth in Key West. It earned him a felony charge of getting convicted of such a number of DUIs in 10 years. He also faces a misdemeanor count of damaging property while driving drunk and one for driving with a suspended license.

According to a Key West Police Department report filed by Officer Jesse Young, Nicholson, 52, was attempting to leave the scene of a Flagler Avenue crash in his white 2006 For F-150 on Flagler Avenue.

Young wrote that Nicholson's truck had extensive front-end damage and was between the westbound lane and a parking lane. A blue 2003 Buick was in front of the truck. According to the report, both vehicles were disabled due to the crash. Young estimates $23,000 in damage between both vehicles.

Nicholson's truck was so damaged that he was unable to drive away.

Young wrote that Nicholson had red, glassy eyes, slurred speech and trouble getting his license. Nicholson, according to Young, was slow, uncoordinated and swayed heavily as he stood. Young said he also had a moderate to strong odor of alcoholic on his breath.

Young found the Ford's interior was covered in a liquid that smelled of alcohol. And he found a blue cup in the center console and wrote that Nicholson admitted it had whiskey in it.

Young ran Nicholson's past through the National Crime Information Center database and found Nicholson's license was not valid but he did have a probationary license.

Nicholson told Young the probationary license was the equivalent to the state's business-purpose-only license. Asked what business he was on, Nicholson said he was driving "from his hotel to his hotel." He did not clarify what he meant.

Nicholson failed field sobriety tests and was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Young also discovered Nicholson got a DUI on June 6, 2007, in Lagrange, Ga.; a second one on May 28, 2010, in Coweta, Ga.; and a third one on May 25, 2012, again Lagrange.

Nicholson was released from jail on $20,000 bond Tuesday. He has a Thursday arraignment at 8:45 a.m. in front of Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones in Key West.

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