FHP: Man crashes into 15 cars after leaving bar near UCF
Man suspected of driving under influence after crashes at apartment complex
ORLANDO, Fla. – A 25-year-old man suspected of driving under the influence was arrested Sunday after authorities said he crashed into more than a dozen vehicles parked at an apartment complex near UCF, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
According to the Highway Patrol, James Morris damaged 16 vehicles, including his own, in a parking garage at the Marquee apartment complex across the street from the college before he was found sleeping nearby.
Kurt Thompson's brand new car was one of the vehicles damaged. He said he was asleep when he got the call from FHP about the crash. At first he thought his car had just been dinged, but was shocked to learn his rear bumper was knocked off his vehicle.
"Then I saw that. It sucks," Thompson said.
According to an arrest report, a trooper arrived at the apartment complex on Sterling Drive around 12:05 a.m. Sunday to find a security guard and student who said they saw Morris behind the wheel of the vehicle that smashed the parked cars.
News 6 saw several damaged vehicles parked on the second, third and fourth levels of the garage.
UCF freshman Steven Angulo said he left minutes before the wreckage.
"I saw pieces of trunks just lying along the road. It was unbelievable, something really bad," Angulo said.
A witness said Morris almost hit him in the parking garage then got out of the vehicle and ran away, the report said. The security officer and student said they were able to catch him and hold him there until troopers arrived.
When they walked the trooper over to the concrete where Morris was sleeping, the trooper approached him and introduced himself, according to the Highway Patrol. Morris then stood up and said he didn't "want any problems," the report said.
The trooper asked Morris what happened with the crashes and Morris told him he didn't remember, according to the report. Morris told the trooper he had just come from the Knight's Pub, where he said he had one shot of Captain Morgan.
While Morris was talking, the trooper at the scene noticed his eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, he reeked of alcohol and was unbalanced and stumbling while trying to walk, according to the arrest report.
The trooper said he handcuffed Morris and told him that he wasn't under arrest but was being detained because he was considered to be a flight risk.
After completing the crash investigation, the trooper said he told Morris he was beginning a criminal DUI investigation and read him his Miranda Rights before Morris agreed to continue talking to him, the Highway Patrol said.
The trooper said he again asked Morris what happened and Morris said he didn't know, according to the report. Morris said he had just left the pub and was trying to get back to his home in Oviedo. Troopers said Morris then again told the trooper he had one shot at the bar but later said he was given free drinks. Morris again mentioned having one shot of Captain and said "he had f--ked up" and that the trooper had "caught him slipping," according to the report.
Morris was asked to do a field sobriety exercise but said he didn't want to, the trooper said. The trooper then placed him under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, the Highway Patrol said.
The trooper said he took Morris to the Orange County Breath Test Center, where he was observed for 20 minutes before he read implied consent and again refusing to take a lawful breath test, even after being told what penalties he would face for refusing, according to the report.
Morris was then taken around 5 a.m. to be booked into the Orange County Jail. His vehicle was towed from the scene of the incident, troopers said.
Residents of the apartment complex were shocked when they saw all of the damage Sunday morning.
"I just can't imagine that he would actually hit a car and just keep going and hit another car and keep going again and again and again," one student said.
Thompson said he is thankful no one was hurt, but he is still can't believe what happened to his car.
"To go this distance and do this, this is just a bit too much," he said.
Thompson said Sunday morning that he was told 19 vehicles were damaged during the incident. The Highway Patrol later told News 6 that 16 vehicles were damaged.
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