2015 Orlando police 'Officer of the Year' arrested for DUI

Ben Gauntlett relieved of duties pending investigation

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
OPD

Officer Ben Gauntlett in 2015 when he was named officer of the year.

ORLANDO, Fla. - The 2015 Orlando police "Officer of the Year" was arrested Saturday for driving under the influence, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

An Orange County Sheriff's deputy pulled over Gauntlett’s F-150 pickup truck at 2:20 a.m. after seeing the vehicle changing lanes, driving outside the lines and running a red light on North Hughey Avenue at West Central Boulevard, according to the arrest affidavit.

Gauntlett was shirtless, had a beer bottle cap in his pocket and was wearing a green paper wristband from the Wall Street bars downtown when the deputy approached the truck. The deputy also said two empty beer bottles were found behind the driver’s seat while the vehicle was being towed.

Gauntlett told the deputy he was coming from a birthday party in Maitland and had stopped downtown at a bar on his way home. He could not remember how many drinks he had throughout the night after first saying he had three alcoholic drinks from 9 to 10 p.m.

During his ride to in the back of a patrol car to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office DUI Center Gauntlett banged his head on the back of the seat, the deputy said.

Gauntlett blew a .220, .195 and .213 BR. AC about an hour after his arrest, according to the report.

The suspect was booked into the Orange County Jail.

Gauntlett has been relieved of his duties pending an internal investigation, according to Orlando police. He was ordered to turn over his badge and his firearm.

Orlando police public information officer Wanda Miglio said Orlando police Chief Jon Mina will not make a statement on Gauntlett’s arrest until the end of the legal process.

Gauntlett has been employed with the Orlando Police Department since 2013 and was most recently assigned to midnight patrol.

Gauntlett was named Orlando police Officer of the Year in 2015 by the local Fraternal Order of Police Union for his response to two incidents that year.

He helped save a man's life at Lake Eola Park in August 2015. The victim had his throat slashed and the officer used the "shirt off his back" to provide first aid to the man and save his life, according to Orlando police.

 

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